An Arab should pick his or her favorite World Cup team carefully. But before I get into that, a quick word about Arabs and this year’s festivities.
Soccer’s premiere tournament makes almost every global citizen disconnect from the real world for a month every four years. Arabs are no exception. Additionally, this year, the last ten days or so of the World Cup will occur during the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Now, Ramadan is already a time of very low efficiency in the Arab world, and in this year’s first week and a half of the holiday, as it intersects with the soccer frenzy, the region will be especially unproductive.
That means we should all not expect too much from the Arab world during that time. Gas prices should remain unchanged. Al-Qaeda will fall silent (even terrorists like soccer more than world domination). All hummus shipments to America will be delayed, unless you are buying Sabra, in which case I need to know where your store is located so I can begin my boycott campaign against you.
Ok, back to picking a World Cup team. By the way, many Arabs cannot pronounce “cheer” correctly. It comes out as “sheer.” So, to my Arab comrades, if you are going to “sheer” for everyone this year, these are the rankings and guidelines I propose:
Algerians are Arabs. They deserve our support more than anyone else for this reason alone. Also, when we curse at them for taking a bad shot, they will actually understand us.
Iranians are almost Arabs. They have the religion, the nose, and the skin tone. Also, white people think we are all the same anyway.
Of course, Spain is not an Arab country. But it used to be, for 700 years. It was, look it up.
4. Any African team
Remember when Qaddafi was the “King of Africa”? Ok, that was kind of a self-given title, but still, almost half of the Arab League states are located in Africa, so sheering for Africans is highly encouraged.
Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world, estimated at 500,000 people. It is, look it up. Of course, Palestinians live all over the place, but that is another story for another day. There is even a soccer team in Chile called “Palestino,” and its colors are red, green, and white. By my standards, that makes Chile pretty awesome. Sheer for Shile!
Cristiano Rinaldo is so cute! But it’s not because of his great body, slicked hair, or perfect teeth. No, it’s because he has been vocal about Palestinian rights, even with the full knowledge that it might cost him. So if you’re sheering for Portugal, that’s perfectly fine.
Bosnians aren’t Arabs. And, as far as I know, almost no Arabs live there. But the country is over 50% Muslim, and, as a result, they show up to our Arab demonstrations. We can express our thanks by sheering for them.
It is an Arab custom to respect your host, so Brazil is named here. Sheering for them is good manners.
9. Any Latino team
Through their relationship to Spain and the Spanish language, these guys are kind of like us too. They love the name Omar, and 20% of Spanish comes from Arabic. Did you know “Ole!” comes from “Yalla!”? It does!
Greeks are not Arabs, but most Greek restaurants do feature spinach pies and hummus. And they rival us for the hairiest men on the planet. Oh, and did you watch “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”? That could have easily been a movie about us.
Italians might be the only people in the world who move their hands when they talk more than we Arabs do. And like us, for them, yelling is an acceptable volume of normal conversation. So if you do sheer for them, make sure you do it loudly.
12. South Korea or Japan
You may sheer for these teams if you like, as they share our customs of drinking way too much tea and having a pile of outdoor shoes and indoor slippers at every exit of the house.
Russia seems to dislike just about everyone in the world, but they also seem to dislike us a little bit less than they dislike everyone else. So, sheer for them at your own risk.
14. Any white country not named America, France, or England
White soccer teams just seem out of place, don’t they? Also, they don’t kiss each other on the cheek when they score, so I just don’t understand them.
Well, this is a complicated one. As an American, I want to sheer for my country. But when I remember that bombing Arabs is on the platform of basically every politician here, I realize that I can’t. Although we Arab Americans have contributed to America for over a hundred years and done very well here, we find ourselves constantly having to prove that we love this country. We love America, but she needs to love us back. Oh, and the $3 billion a year to Israel make my sheering for them Arab-ly impossible.
16. France or England
Well, if you are an Arab and you are supporting France or England, please decolonize yourself quickly. Their carving up of our lands a hundred years ago created sectarianism and conflict that we are still dealing with today. Our problems are our own, but France and England stirred the pot. If you are sheering for them, go read a book.
Now, there are some teams I would have included high on my list if they had made the World Cup. For example, I would have loved to sheer for India, but c’mon, one billion people and you can’t find 23 good soccer players?
So, there it is. Sheer however you like, but if you follow these rules, your Arabness will stay fully intact.