As the conflict in Gaza moves into a second month, confusion reigns among soccer fans on Twitter over an ex-footballer named Paul Gascoigne, known in the United Kingdom by his nickname, Gazza.
This confusion has prompted Twitter followers who aren't up to speed on world events to assume that the hashtag #freegaza refers to some sort of legal problem for Gascoigne, 47, who is one of England’s most famous and infamous soccer players.
Wow @ People confusing Gaza with Paul Gascoigne. Gazza's done nothing wrong, "Free Gaza" is something else entirely. Actual idiots.
â€” Graham Wood (@GrezzaWood) August 6, 2014
The conflict, which started on July 8, has killed more than 1,800 people, almost all Palestinians.
Gazza’s name, which has popped up on Twitter whenever trouble in Gaza erupts, has also led some tweeters to believe that the Gaza Strip was a street named in his honor in his hometown of Gateshead, near Newcastle. There is no such street.
Gascoigne was known for a soccer career that took him from playing in England to the Italian giants Lazio, where he became more famous for his poor diet and penchant for answering reporters’ questions by burping down the mic than for his skills on the pitch. After returning from Italy, he went on to become a star with Rangers F.C., Scotland’s most successful team, as they marched to an incredible nine league victories in a row. Since then, however, Gazza’s serious problems with alcohol have largely tarnished his past career and personal life.
â€” dw11138375 (@dw11138375) August 1, 2014