In Morocco, stadiums are also spaces of political protest

In Morocco, stadiums are also spaces of political protest

For almost twenty years, Moroccan football fans have been singing to denounce the Israeli occupation of Palestine. An approach which contradicts the policy followed by the country’s authorities, two years after the normalization of its relations with the Hebrew State.

“We love our mothers, Palestine and Raja”, says Simo, a 26-year-old fan of Moroccan football club Casablanca, as he tries to explain what constitutes the holy trinity of “ultras,” a term used to designate the most passionate members of a team’s fan groups of football.

Simo, who was born and raised in Casablanca, decided very early, at the age of 6, to support Raja CA rather than Wydad AC, the city’s other big team and Raja’s sworn enemy. .

This is the kind of decision that can change the life of a Bidaoui (Casablancais), because his friendships, his romantic relationships and even sometimes his career depend on the team he supports.

Songs and banners

Twenty years later, Simo still has a youthful enthusiasm when talking about the team. Within his group of supporters, he feels free to express himself through stadium chants that denounce the government, poverty and colonization.

One of his favorite songs is Rajawi Filistini [“Raja Club, supporteurs de la Palestine”]one of the supporters’ favorite songs, which has become the anthem of their balcony. “O Gaza, we will never abandon you, even if you are so far from us”, shout the green-colored supporters of Raja in the Mohammed-V stadium in Casablanca, which is packed to the brim for almost every home match.

The pro-Palestinian chant made its international debut during the World Cup in Qatar last year, when a group of ultras were filmed singing Rajawi Filistini, cheered on by other football fans around the world. At the time, in the stadiums of Qatar, they deployed all their energy brought from Morocco.

In football, the ultras constitute a hard core of supporters, ready to do anything to support their favorite team. It is a cultural phenomenon that is particularly prevalent among young males.

Dressing identically, religiously memorizing all the songs and statistics of their team, being quick to decry management, while showing unfailing loyalty to the team despite defeats, these are some characteristics and values ​​shared by the ultras.

International mail