Sunday, 8 July 2018

Everyone who supports Russia is not human

 'Sarah Hassoun is still wearing the German team's shirt, despite her favourites' failure in the group stage and early exit from the competition.

 The 30-year-old pharmacist has never visited Germany. "There was no link or anything to do with Germany," she says. "I only knew of Germany as an industrialised country."

 But like hundreds of thousands of other Syrians, Hassoun's sister fled the war in Syria and found asylum in the European country.

 In 2015, at the height of the refugee crisis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that her country would give asylum to all Syrian refugees that came there.

 Since then, as many as half a million Syrians have found refuge in Germany.

 "After my sister travelled to Germany, she started sending me pictures from there every day and I gradually became fond of this country," she says, showing a picture of her sister in a German village on the background of her phone.

 "I do not care about sports, but I cannot not support a country that said to my sister: "Welcome'."

 Ziad, a refugee in Turkey who wants to be identified only by his first name for security purposes, says he would support any team other than Russia or Iran.

 Instead, he supports any country whose government backs the Syrian opposition.

 "I cheer for Saudi Arabia, France, England, and every country that supported the Syrian people, and I will not support any team that has supported the Syrian regime," he said.

 "I wish I could cheer for the Syrian national team," Ziad adds. "But now it is a reflection of the regime and not the entire Syrian people."

 For Ziad, it is impossible to divorce politics and the war from football.

 "The issue is not football, it is purely human; it is whether you are human or not. So everyone who supports Russia is not human." '

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