Monday, May 8th, 2017

The Skin of Palestine

Posted on Vimeo: January 22, 2017

Remember that even though the Palestinians in Chile tend to be radicalized against Israel regarding the Mideast, they are otherwise quite Christian, prosperous, upper middle class, and intergrated well into Chilean life. They would be a perfect immigrant group, except that they can mix support for the Intifada with their sports.

Baisanos – Chilean Soccer Intifada

Their fans call themselves Baisanos, which is a mispronunciation of Paisanos (Spanish: countrymen), because their Arab ancestors could not pronounce the letter P.

There was a massive immigration of Arabs to South America in the late 19th, and early to mid-20th century. Quite often, the impetus was persecution at the hands of the Muslims. There was a near genocide of Lebanese Christians at the hands of Muslims around 1860. The vast majority of Arab immigrants to South America were Christians. The few Muslims among the immigrants often converted to Christianity or married into it.

What distinguishes Chile (and Hondouras) is that Chile took in a large amount of Palestinians. Other nations took in Syrian or Lebanese Christians. Today, many of these Chilean “Palestinos” are part-Spanish, part-Italian, part-Basque, or part-German in blood. They are upper middle-class in Chile, and hold great economic and political power well above their percentage of the population.

The Chilean soccer team, Palestino, has a popular following in the contested areas.

What this means is that Arabs blend in well in South America, at least the Christian ones.