World Cup 2022 in Qatar – How to not improve your image

The other day, I published a post on the World Cup – which is quite atypical for someone like me who generally doesn’t care about soccer… at all. I already knew that I’d hate how Qatar is trying to use the sport to improve their image and I ended up just trying to ignore any news on it for the sake of my own mental health.

But then Gianni Infantino, FIFA’s president, decided to chime in and flat-out excuse slavery while also trying to shut down any criticism that may arise from “the West” on Qatar’s politics, human rights violations, and the way queer people are oppressed and persecuted over there, not to mention that the state still has a death penalty while also punishing people with whiplashes… in 2022.

Down below you can find my post on that for context if you wanna quickly read through what the fuck’s wrong with Qatar – although I left out how they fund terrorism and stuff because that would have probably doubled the length of the post.

This post, however, is on Diversity. According to Qatar’s emir the World Cup is a celebration of diversity… and they’re putting aside their beliefs apparently… and they’re welcome to everyone as long as they respect their values and culture.

Hence, I decided to dedicate today’s post to the topics of “Diversity”, “Culture” and “Values” – or rather why blanket statements like this are just lies.

  1. Content Warnings
  2. “I welcome everyone to the World Cup 2022”
    1. What is Culture anyways?
  3. “Respect Qatar’s Values”…?
  4. Improving Your Image – How do not do it.
  5. Conclusion

Content Warnings

This post is political. It’s about the World Cup in Qatar happening at the moment.

This post will contain mature language and topics such as sexism, slavery, brutality, dictatorships, corruption, racism, politics, and more stuff along those lines.

Also, Gianni Infantino is an asshole and honestly, fuck him and FIFA and Qatar’s Emir. This is my opinion. Fuck those guys and their blood money.

“I welcome everyone to the World Cup 2022”

As I mentioned in the other post already, the opening ceremony speech by Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani states “how lovely it is that people can put aside what divides them to celebrate their diversity”.

This line is sickening, especially when you consider the statement that they welcome everyone “as long [the guests] respect [Qatar’s] culture and values”.

Qatar doesn’t care about human rights.

Migrant workers are lured into the country with the prospect of good pay, great working conditions and the idea of them being able to provide for their families.

Qatar lures in people with false hope and then takes away their passports, effectively trapping them in this cage located in a desert. Welcome to 2022 where people don’t see pay for months, where people live on bread and water, where people got electrocuted in their sleep because of flood water entering into their sleeping quarters and coming into contact with exposed electrical wires, and where people had to build up seven stadiums to create this illusion of “football culture”.

Welcome to Qatar where you’re trapped inside until you die and where news of your death won’t get sent out to your families. You’ll be reminded as someone who “made it” and who now earns ten times more than anyone else in impoverished countries.

Welcome to Qatar where you’ll be reminded as someone who’s living the life – even though you died by falling off a stadium during construction or even though you died of malnutrition and working for days on end at 50°C for no pay at all.

Welcome to Qatar where thousands of people died because Qatar wanted to improve their image through soccer… a sport that they never even cared about.

Now, tell me… what culture does Qatar want you to respect when you visit? Because Qatar really just wants you to think about the sport and not about the human rights violations or any of the atrocities committed by this state… and if you dare speak up, you’ll be branded a racist, an islamophobe, and a hypocrite.

What is Culture anyways?

To define culture is difficult and time-consuming.

“Culture” is a culmination of all sorts of values and things ranging from food, arts, language, history, architecture, and lots more.

When one criticizes Qatar, they’re really criticizing a system – as in politics – not the culture. I’m sure the culture is great. I’m sure the people that live there love it there. They’re not affected by the poor working conditions, after all. The migrant worker is. And the migrant worker can’t vote. Many Qatari can’t vote either.

Tell me, what culture are we criticizing here? What culture are we supposed to respect?

They’re criticizing a dictator that sits on an ivory tower built on the corpses of thousands of people. They’re criticizing a demon overlord fueled by greed.

What Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani wants you to respect is how they treat people as tools and how they employ slavery. You can’t understand this because you’re subject to cultural racism – is what they want you to think.

“Respect Qatar’s Values”…?

It’s not even the values that are being criticized here.

While Qatar is modernizing quickly with an increase in infrastructural improvements, roads being built, etc., the country’s values stay the same. That’s partially due to internet access being restricted and censored. Whereas other countries adapt to modern-day values thanks to the internet and thanks to coming into contact with the outside world and different people, Qatar maintains its religions traditions and cultural practices.

Everyday life is dictated by religious references and justifications. “Family and Privacy are important values in Qatari culture.” (Source) “Generally, men and women avoid socializing together.”

Due to the way that religion (mainly the Wahhabi Sunni Islam) influence society and every-day-life, locals expect outsiders to respect their cultural and religious norms and to dress and act conservatively out in public. This in itself is valid. If I were to travel to Doha, I’d also try to uphold these norms and values and to act in a way that doesn’t disrespect locals.

Qatar tells visitors to respect their values, culture and norms – I’d imagine that they mean this. In theory at least.

You can’t drink in public, or show public signs of affection, and your clothes need to cover your shoulders and knees. All of this is valid, in my opinion. It’s something that can be controlled after all.

At the same time, though, “respect our culture” is a blanket statement that covers so much possibly.

During the World Cup, Qatar will be more lenient (most likely) in terms of what they detain visitors for… at the same time, they’re sub-contracting police from Turkey and Pakistan, two countries where policing has been criticized for human rights violations in the past.

And this sort of brings us to one big issue:

What if you’re gay? Being gay is illegal in Qatar and can in theory get you killed.

Another issue would be: What about extra-marital sex? Having sex outside of marriage is illegal and can you get fined and/or put into jail.

The issue here is that laws incentivise people to report others if they break the law.

Hotels that people stay at may end up reporting gay couples.

Or… as I mentioned in the other post, what about sexual assault? If it happens to you, you broke the law. What happens then?

FIFA and Qatar have not provided any statements in that regard.

Does the blanket statement of “respect our culture” mean that people have to be okay with this happening to them or are there new regulations that punish perpetrators – in contrast to what happened to one organizer from Mexico that came to Qatar and who was persecuted for reporting rape.

Not to mention that the police may even make you sign papers that you don’t agree with – which happened previously to Mustafa Qadri, a human rights lawyer, who had permission to enter a camp and who then was detained for it and who then had to sign papers saying he trespassed.

Improving Your Image – How do not do it.

After FIFA stopped the German team from displaying “One Love” on their captain’s armband, the team decided to pose for their team photo with hands covering their mouth. (Here’s an article with all the details)

It’s a gesture about how they’re being censored even though Qatar’s Emir previously stated that they celebrate diversity and even though Gianni Infantino stated that he felt “gay”.

Just yesterday, a clip of a Qatari sports show ended up trending on Twitter (of course) showing the hosts and guests on the show waving goodbye to the German team while holding their mouths shut in a mocking way… for twenty seconds straight.

The German team lost already in the group stage which is… whatever. I don’t care.

So did Qatari. But who cares about Qatar? They have no soccer culture nor did they have years of experience on their team… and heck, I doubt that most of them understood the rules. It’s a new thing, after all, as much as Qatar wants you to believe that it always loved soccer as much if not more than it loves gas and petrol.

The thing here is, though, that Qatar wants to improve their image and they want you to forget about how they’re a dictatorship that censors voices and oppresses gay people, practically hunting them down. They want you to forget about the slavery. They want you to forget about the many, many deaths.

What better way to do that then through free food, a big event like this, and many people coming in without getting arrested for trivial things.

Well,… this is not it.

FIFA wanted to sanction any pro-LGBTQIA+ signposting and signals. Hence, the DFB (Germany’s football organizer basically) caved in and prohibited their players from wearing anything Pride-related. The team then did what they could do… they criticized the DFB, FIFA and Qatar for censoring them.

Qatar’s TV hosts here are mocking that because they think it’s funny how a team that didn’t make it far this year actually cares about freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of sexuality and freedom in general.

At least, that’s what I get from this. Who knows? Maybe they also were censored and can’t talk about their true feelings. Maybe these hosts were shut up using lots of money and their mouths are full with blood money that they can’t show. Who knows?

Again, this is not how you improve your image. By mocking criticism of censorship, you just kinda say that you’re all for censorship – which I guess works in terms of Qatar because they’re dictator shuts up people daily.

Conclusion

Soccer is toxic. People look at different nations’ teams competing against each other and they believe that this isn’t political in any way. They see the German team criticizing how they got shut up by FIFA, the DFB and Qatar… and everyone mocks them for not just losing but also caring about their values more than the sport.

Well, what happened to “putting our beliefs aside to celebrate diversity, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani?

Who’s a hypocrite now, Gianni Infantino?

Iran’s team not singing their national anthem. Germany’s team covering their mouth. Stuff like this is meaningful. I hope we see gestures like this more throughout this cup – not that I’ll watch it. I’ll keep up partially with the news surrounding the event but I refuse to watch an event like this unfold. I refuse to support this as this tainted World Cup stands for a mountain of corpses.

It’s not just the corpses of migrant workers who were treated like slaves. These are also the corpses of future generations that will die in climate catastrophes in a world that will look at this “carbon neutral World Cup” in awe, asking “how the fuck did they get away with promoting this shitshow as carbon neutral?”

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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