Club Deportivo Palestino was founded in 1916 by Palestinian immigrants to Chile. After a decade of success in the 1970s, the club has retained a loyal following and stayed among the top teams in Chilean football, though success on the pitch is not the only reason for Palestino’s loyal following.
In this episode, Siri Schwabe joins us to discuss her study exploring the relationship between soccer and diasporic resistance through an examination of the club.
Following the end of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in 1990, most Chilean football teams have stayed out of politics; Club Deportivo Palestino, however, poses an exception to the rule with its overt political commitment to Palestine and the Palestinian struggle. Central to this political outlook is an enduring narrative of resistance, which is embodied by the concept of sumud - sumud has come to stand for a mode of being which ‘allows for all Palestinians to feel and be recognized as foci of resistance, even in diaspora, by simply remaining Palestinian and by insisting on a continued Palestinian presence in Palestine and elsewhere’. This allows the Palestinian-Chileans in Santiago to find resistance in the everyday mode of being, living, and practicing the Palestinian, and for fans of Palestino support for their club is another means of celebrating this ‘being’ thousands of miles away from Palestine itself. Palestino’s commitment to the Palestinian struggle is therefore a central aspect of the club’s identity, for fans and players alike.
2 Jun 2021
Home away from home? Belonging and resistance on the terraces of Chile's Deportivo Palestino