LONDON: The world’s top squash player has used a recent victory speech to highlight the difference in global attitudes toward the Russia-Ukraine conflict when compared to Israel’s occupation of Palestine.
“No one should accept any killings in the world, or oppression, but we’ve never been allowed to speak about politics in sports, but all of a sudden now it’s allowed,” Egyptian squash champion Ali Farag said after winning the Optasia Championship in the UK.
“And now that it’s allowed, I hope that people also look at oppression everywhere in the world. The Palestinians have been going through that for the past 74 years, but I guess because it doesn’t fit the narrative of the media of the West, we couldn’t talk about it. So now we can talk about Ukraine, we can talk about Palestine.”
Farag is the latest public figure to voice dismay at the wildly different treatment that the Ukraine crisis has been receiving in the media and public discourse compared to events outside Europe.
Like Farag, many have pointed out that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been ongoing for generations, but rarely receives the wall-to-wall coverage and alarm as the Ukraine crisis has.
This has extended to government attitudes toward activism, too. For example, the Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement aimed at isolating Israeli economic and business interests has been condemned as antisemitic by the German government, but Berlin has endorsed strict sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.
Although Farag’s speech on Ukraine and Palestine received applause from the audience, it was not featured in the highlights of the match on the Professional Squash Association’s YouTube channel.