James M. Dorsey introduces the reader to the world of Middle
Eastern and North African football - an arena where struggles for
political control, protest and resistance, self-respect and gender
rights are played out. Politics was the midwife of soccer in the
region, with many clubs being formed as pro- or anti-colonial
platforms and engines of national identity and social justice. This
book uncovers the seldom-told story of a game that evokes
Football fans are shown to be a major political force and one of
the largest civic groups in Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood:
their demands for transparency, social justice, and an end to
corruption sparked vicious street battles that left scores dead and
thousands wounded. Discontent in Algeria erupts regularly at
matches where fans demand the ouster of military leaders. A
folk-song crooning national goalkeeper leads protests in Homs,
Syria's third largest city and scene of some of the worst violence
perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad's regime. In a country that bans
physical education for girls, Saudi women have established
clandestine football clubs and leagues. The book further tells the
story of Somali child soldiers turned soccer stars and Iranian
women who dress as men to smuggle themselves into stadiums to watch
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