Note: This is the article Nº4 about the historical research about Club Deportivo Palestino for the project ‘4 Colores’
Most of the fans of the Club Deportivo Palestino don’t know what was the design of the first t-shirt of the team.
It was rather simple, with only 2 colors distributed vertically, being the left half white and the other half right red, as shown in the following image of 1952 (1):
It should be noted that at that time, the designs of sports t-shirts were with buttons, very simple and sometimes only was t-shirts of a single color. Just a curiosity: the chilean national team of football played the first Football World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay with white shirts, not with the red shirt of now days, therefore, it can be say that the design of the t-shirt it wasn’t an accessory as important or with a strong identity as it is in these days (2).
Even if some fans know about this first design, maybe they didn’t make the question about the very origin of this t-shirt, it had only 2 colors and not the four colors that are the colors on the Palestinian flag.
In order to obtain any coherent explanation on this design, it is necessary to go back to the roots of football in Palestine. However is difficult to find out, because at this moment, its founders and leaders involved are all dead so it is difficult to get an accurate explanation.
In the preceding article called ‘First line up of the Club Deportivo Palestino and football in Palestine’ (3) it was focused on the origin of football in Palestine, and we saw that the first team of Palestine was founded in 1908, and was called St. George (‘San Jorge’ in spanish), Well, it was the team of the Anglican school of the same name, located currently in Jerusalem.
A credible explanation that can be offered exists in a photo of the team in 1923, obtained from the files of the college and published in an article by Issam Khalidi (4):
There it can be seen that the design was quite similar to the Club Deportivo Palestino in its first decades, and even was used until 1952, when the team was champion of the recent chilean second division. Then going to recent times, the most notorious change was the use of 3 Colors (Red, white and green), and optionally used black color in its pants or on the t-shirt when there is a game away.
Also, it is important to understand that the t-shirt from St. George has a direct relationship with the flag that identifies the english and french crusaders, they used a flag with a cross, red and white background, as you can see in the Current front-side of the St. George, and in a painting of Bernat Martorell where he portrayed St. George.
Now, in order to explain why the use of these colors it is necessary to scope this particular fact has to do with a historical legacy and It was a representation of the colors of the Crusades, but one fact to highlight it was that the Palestinians Christians never supported the crusaders, and what is more, they were so affected by the attacks and atrocities committed by the crusaders against Palestinians Muslims who lived in the region at that time (7).
Following the same line, which the leadership of Club Deportivo Palestino has taken the design of the bicolor t-shirt has nothing of random or capricious, and has several arguments in their favor:
(a) The Palestinian flag with the 4 colours newly was registered in 1936, coinciding with the general strike organized by the Palestinians against the British mandate, in order to protest at the facilities and preferences of the British in favour of the Zionist settlers, and live the detriment of the natives Palestinians (8). For this reason, when the team was founded in 1916, there wasn’t a Palestinian flag of four colors in which to be reflected.
(b) The Palestinian community in Chile is very old and large. The early immigrants (the vast majority of Christians in Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Beit Sahour) arrived to chile at the end of the nineteenth century, more precisely, after 1885.
(c) The St. George school was the first palestinian team, founded in 1908, for which practically was the nearest sport symbol on which to be reflected.
(d) The figure of St. George (San Jorge) is very important for the chilean people with palestinian origin. In fact the Orthodox Cathedral in the street Santa Filomena in Santiago of Chile bears the name of this saint palestinian man born in Lydda between the years 275 and 285 ad.
(1) ‘Estadio’ Magazine N° 505, Jan. 17th, 1953.
(2) “The White Condors. The unknown history about Chile in the World Cup of 1930”, Eugenio Figueroa Bustos and Ignacio Pérez Toasts, 2014 (in spanish):
(3) First line up of Club Deportivo Palestino and football in Palestine
(4) ‘Sports and Aspirations-Football in Palestine, 1900-1948’ (Issam Khalidi, 2014)
(5) Image taken from the Facebook account of St. George School:
(6) Legend of Saint George and the dragon:
(7) In order to understand a bit more about this aspect, see ‘ The Crusades Through Arab Eyes’ (Amin Maalouf, 1983).
(8) Flag during the Palestinian revolt against the British Mandate:
There were also other proposals of Palestinian flags since 1929: