Il Mainz he fired Anwar El Ghazi effective immediately “in response to the player’s statements and posts on social media.” With this brief justification last Friday the German club, currently second to last in Bundesligatore up the contract of 28enne soccer player Dutch of Moroccan origins. News that was picked up over the weekend by most Italian news sites, both sporting and otherwise, with an explanation: El Ghazi was fired for a post pro-Palestine (immediately removed) with the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free”, one of the slogans also used by Hamas and considered by some to be a reference to the failure to recognize the existence of Israel. The story, however, is much more complex and to reconstruct it we need to analyze everything that happened in mezzoor among the first post of the dated footballer October 16th and Mainz’s decision to fire him, which only arrived on November 3.
The first message shared by El Ghazi remained on the web for just a few minutes, so much so that it is difficult to find even a single one screenshot of the post. Which read: “This it’s not war. When one side cuts off water, food and electricity to the other, it is not war. When one of the two parties has nuclear weapons it’s not war. When one of the two sides is financed with billions of dollars it is not war. When one of the two parties uses images generated by Artificial Intelligence to spread disinformation on the other there is no war. When social media censors the contents of one side and not the other it is not war. This is genocide, mass destruction and we are witnessing it live.” Then the conclusion: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
The message contains the idea of a footballer, against Israel’s actions in the Gaza strip. They are not here incitements ad Hamas or against Tel Aviv, if not for the ambiguity in the final sentence. So much so that shortly afterwards El Ghazi removed the post. However, Mainz’s decision arrives suspend his footballer, purchased in the summer after terminating his contract with Psv. In mid-October, about 10 days away from massacre accomplished by Hamasconflict is still a very sensitive topic, particularly in the Germania. At the same time, also the Bayern Monaco decides to suspend the Moroccan full-back Nousair Mazraoui, always for a pro-Palestine post. Mainz also has a particular history: it was founded in 1905 by a Jew, Eugen Salomon, who was a footballer and first president of the club. A position that was taken from him by Nazis in 1933: Salomon tried to escape, but in 1942 he was deported to Auschwitz and killed.
German history and specifically that of Mainz explain the special attention to the theme of Israel and to contrast every possible form of antisemitism. The fact is that, as with Mazraoui in Munich, so did the El Ghazi affair after a few days she seems to have returned. And it is here that the case takes a different turn, transforming the dismissal of the footballer into a previous dangerous. In fact, on October 27th El Ghazi published a post clarifier: “I condemn the killing of civilians in Palestine and in Israel” and “I am committed to a Middle Eastern region pacified”. Words that can be shared by everyone, in fact three days later Mainz decided to announce theirs return to the team (here is the press release).
In the message published on its profiles, the club writes: “El Ghazi has distanced himself from the post published on his Instagram channel, which he himself deleted after a few minutes.” And again: “The club board clearly underlined to Anwar El Ghazi during discussions that it requires its employees to commit to the club’s values. This implies a special responsibility towards the State of Israel and of the Jewish people, which comes from German history, but also from the history of the club with its Jewish co-founder Eugen Salomon.” He words evidently do not agree with the footballer, who decides to replicate harshly on Instagram: “For the avoidance of doubt, my statement of 27 October 2023 was my sole and final statement both to FSV Mainz 05 and to the public regarding the social media posts I have published in recent weeks. Any other statements, comments or excuses to the contrary attributed to me is not factually correct and it wasn’t done either authorized and what”.
El Ghazi in this message clarifies again what they are his ideas: “My position remains the same as when it all began: I am against the war and violence, I am against the killing of all civilians innocentI am against any form of discrimination, I am against Islamophobia, I am against anti-Semitism, I am against genocide, I am against apartheid, I am against occupation, I am against oppression.” And he adds: “There can never be any justification for the killing of over 3,500 children in Gaza in the last three weeks. How can we, as a world, remain silent when, according to Save the Childrena child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza. That’s 9 kids killed before I finish a soccer game. That number is increasing every day.” Then El Ghazi concludes: “We must demand an end to the killings in Gaza now.”
The footballer then underlines that he is against anti-Semitism and in fact asks on several occasions for the end of the war on Gaza. Yet for this post Mainz decides to fire him, issuing a statement on Friday 3 November. El Ghazi responds with a final post on Instagram: “The loss of my salary is nothing in comparison all’inferno unleashed on innocent e vulnerable in Gaza.” The decision of the German club triggers in Germania a debate on freedom of expression. If the first post could have contained equivocal messages, El Ghazi’s subsequent stance does not seem to incite it crimeall’hatred o alla violence. They are the ideas of a footballer, which however cost him the sack. Without Nobody in the world of football wondered if it is lawful Mainz’s decision. Nevertheless the border is thin: today it is the conflict between Israel and Palestine, tomorrow it could be other issues that arouse the irritation of the management of this or that club. In the end, the players who always win they don’t take sides. Score goals and earn, in silence.