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A couple of days ago while the American media was obsessing over the firing of Patti Solis Doyle from the Clinton campaign and the courting of super delegates, an entire continent and much of the rest of the world was absorbed by something quite different.  On Sunday night Egypt clinched victory in the African Cup of Nations final held in Ghana with a 1-0 win over Cameroon.  The hero and scorer of the winning goal was an Egyptian striker from the Al-Ahli club Mohamed Aboutrika.  Here is the picture of Aboutrika celebrating a goal he scored earlier in the tournament.  He repeated that shirt lifting exercise in the final to reveal a t-shirt with a slight twist on that slogan, this time “Sympathize with the Palestinians.”  Aboutrika became not just a sporting symbol but a national and political symbol also, and the celebrations spilled over from Egypt into Gaza (plenty of other things have been spilling in both directions of late).  

Here’s why this matters and it merits attention and even a two minute break from the relentless primaries speculation: the unresolved Palestinian issue resonates, it is not just a creation used by Arab regimes and al-Jazeera, it is something that echoes with and talks to hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.  There are grievances out there and they have an impact, sometimes a decisive impact on how America is viewed in the world especially given its association with the issue.  Americans can ignore that, pretend it doesn’t exist or tell themselves that this is just about terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.  But doing so would be a mistake and would continue to ignore the crucial breeding ground that provides such fertile terrain for al-Qaeda and other extremist recruitment. Resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an American interest (of course an Israeli and Palestinian interest as well).  It’s worth taking a moment to tune into these highlights of the African Cup of Nations' final--even if you don’t agree with the politics you can enjoy a very jolly footballing feast. 

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Comments (1)

Floss:

Why is the United Kingdom left out of your equation.
Was it not Great Briton who was powerful enough to have the maps of the most of the Middle East redrawn and rename the tribal lands after WWI? Than offer up the lands of Palestine for the long suffering Jews after WWII?
These Jews, dragged themselves out of German camps and were promised a homeland. Much of the lands were sold and paid for by Jews. They poured their blood and sweat into that land. Now we should feel sorry for the Palestinian who blows up children? Who teaches children pure hatred? Blame it on the Americans? Never allow any Arab terrorist, be they Hezbollah or Hamas or al-Qaeda, to be held responsible?
The Brits condemn America for a World crisis THEY started.
This is insanity.

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Daniel Levy

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 13, 2008 1:25 PM.

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