When football becomes the reason of conflict instead of coexistence By Maroi ECH-CHARKAOUY, Morocco

12509467_1032015530174368_2397378075269145535_nI am a huge football fan since I was 5 years old or so. I am a big fan of FC Barcelona, and also my city team “Moghreb Atletico de Tetuan”. I never realized that I become so racist and so fanatic when supporting my teams until this year. This year, I realized that I become somehow blind when it comes to my favorite teams; I hate it when they lose and I start to call the other teams’ names… simply, UNHUMAN.

This year my city team played in the Mundialito 2014 and lost in the first match, it was embarrassing, shameful, hurtful… whatever you can call it!! The Moroccan champion lost in the first match?! It was simply, a disaster. Right after the match, the other Moroccan teams started to make fun of us jn every way possible; their way of humiliating us went forward and they started to call our city and the citizens in it bad names, making fun of the way we act, our habits, our dialect … all of it. The problem took another turn when we- the citizens of Tetouan and I- fought back. We started to call them names, threatened them, and brought every bad aspect of their lives alive. I felt a weird energy, I was mad and at the same time pulling it out while naming and shaming the others- knowing that the others are simply Moroccans like me, but just from different cities. For some time it was a good feeling, I did not care how the others felt but to me it felt like I was just paying back the same way they acted. It went on for two weeks or so.

I only realized that I was racist when I sat down to write a new comment on a football page, I realized that I am hurting the others the same way they hurt us, I was not adding anything good and I was just making it worse. I sat down for hours reading the comments made by the citizens of Tetouan –my city- it was full of hatred, racism, fanatic, and darkness. I felt so sad that because of football I was able to spread hatred instead of love, racism instead of equality… It felt so wrong and I was disappointed by myself. Football made me a monster, simply because we do not have a sports’ spirit: either we win or we destroy the world. Sports was the reason many people from different parts of the world met and shared their knowledge, but now, even in the same country we cannot accept each other because of sports.

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