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Being Real Madrid fan has become dangerous. At least at some places in Middle East. I still have fresh memories about the attack two weeks ago which sowed death in a ‘Madridista’ fans’ club at the Iraqi city of Samarra which took the lives of 16 people, when a new attack has hit to the Real Madrid fans in Iraq. This time, the terror occurred at the cafe Miqdadiyah, about 80 kilometers far from Baghdad, while the Real Madrid fans were watching the Champions League’ final on TV, which the Real Madrid achieved its 11th European Cup. At the time of the penalties, four armed men with assault submachine stormed the place and opened fire. “All the fallen’ fault was their passion for Real Madrid,” said the Real Madrid Association in Iraq, again hit by terror. The Daesh claimed both attacks in which most victims were teenagers and young people, aged between 13 and 20 years.
The solidarity of Real Madrid and FIFA with the victims and their families have not gone unnoticed by the Saudi radical cleric Al Qhayti, member of the Ulema’s Council of Saudi Arabia, who on May 23th issued a fatwa against the white club to whom he accused of siding with the “Shiite infidels”, the Islam’ wing to which the victims belonged: “Whoever supports the Shiites is against us and therefore our citizens should not follow its matches or support it,” said the Saudi religious calling on Saudi citizens with white heart to switching clubs.
The Iraqi press echoed this fatwa. The journalist Ali Dagher said that the main difference between Real Madrid vs Barcelona fans in Iraq is a matter of age: “the younger have grown up watching Barcelona winning so they became followers of Messi, but the veterans, those who know something of the recent history of football in Spain, we are Real Madrid’s. ” Until a few days ago the country was divided 50 percent between Madrid and Barcelona, but now the situation is changing, there are now more ‘madridistas’ after these sad events and the care showed by the club.
Mr. Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’ president, had a few words of tribute to them, ”they will always be a part of the Real Madrid’ memory.” The response of Real Madrid was immediate and warm which has impacted Iraqis, very used to their deaths barely have any space in the international media anymore. “The Iraqi fans have appreciated greatly the caring behavior of the club, including many who were Barcelona’s are changing colors. It will not bring us back out loved ones, but at least we know that there are people who remember us for who our lives mean something, ” said Hassan Nashat, in charge for the web ‘Iraqi football’, the most important in Iraq on football since 2001.
This is solidarity’ act for a club which has made of the stateliness its historic motto. But it shows also the awful situation in Iraq after the Daesh ‘occupation of much of its territory, whose aim with these attacks has been hitting to the Shiite population again in order to deepen the terrible wound afflicting to the whole country, a situation of which Saudi Arabia is not innocent.
These lines are my small tribute to the Iraqis, who are undergoing for endless pain since the last decades.