Qatar has been awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup. And whether or not you care about soccer, you should care about this.
Anyone even know where Qatar is?
Somewhere between 1952 and the Middle Ages.
FIFA chose to have the World Cup in Qatar over Japan, Australia, South Korea, and the United States. The country won by an overwhelming vote of 14 - 8. So did homophobia, but that is not all.
Basic human rights lost.
The tiny Arab country, in the Middle East is home to about 1.6 million people and rapidly growing. Its citizens enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. Sort of…
Of Qatar’s population, a modest (and unrevealed) chunk is comprised of Qatari nationals. They live life well. For the most part however, it is expatriates who make up the rich nation and help make the nation rich.
There has been some commotion over FIFA choosing the emirate country, but not for the right(s) reasons.
Sepp Blatter is head of the world soccer governing body. And his recent comments got media types and radio talk show hosts in a dither. Blatter said that gay fans "should refrain from any sexual activities" during the tournament in Qatar, where homosexual behaviour is illegal.
You see, it’s not so bad in Qatar. Homosexuality isn’t illegal. Just homosexual behaviour is.
Reading isn’t illegal. Just words are.
Juris Lavrikovs, of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, said the comments were "very unfortunate and have left people deeply offended."
And because Blatter’s unfortunate comments have taken centre-stage here, they have thrown the entire situation off-balance.
The bottom line is that FIFA knowingly decided to endorse a country with a very open history of torture, cruelty, and forced slave labour.
Then there is the violence against Jews, women and homosexuals.
Women need permission from their husbands or guardians before travelling. While, children of Qatari women who marry foreign nationals do not qualify for Qatari citizenship, unlike children born to Qatari fathers and foreign mothers.
Worse, the country does not act on the rampant violence against women, and discourages women from even reporting it.
The law in Qatar states that engaging in homosexual acts is punishable (only) by five years in prison, but US Homeland Security and United Nations reports show by execution.
Then there is the little country’s big human trafficking problem that possibly rivals vehicle traffic in Toronto.
All that trafficking needs fuel. And in a way, petroleum fuels it, for it is what makes Qatar’s economy one of the best in the world.
As the country’s wealth propels its growth at an astonishing rate, citizens from Asian, African, and Mid-East countries go to Qatar in search of labour or domestic work. Once they arrive, these expatriates face harsh and unfair working conditions, which they are coerced and even forced into accepting.
What can you do when your employer illegally retains your passport?
In 2005, under international pressure for mistreatment of labourers, Qatari workers finally earned the right to organize and collectively bargain – if there were a minimum of 100 Qatari nationals in a union. But, nationals do not partake in expatriate labour. There has never been a union in Qatar.
So, who will renovate three of the 12 soccer stadiums included in Qatar’s World Cup proposal? And who will build the other nine promised venues?
Without any anti-human trafficking legislation or basic human rights standards, FIFA members can sleep easy at night, knowing it will get done.
And just think, in 2022, the World Cup won’t just draw die-hard soccer fans, but it will also draw killer sex-traffickers too! Talk about bang for the buck.
FIFA’s promise to the world, written on its Web site states:
The world is a place rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity, but also one where many are still deprived of their basic rights. FIFA now has an even greater responsibility to reach out and touch the world, using football as a symbol of hope and integration…
We believe it is FIFA´s responsibility to foster unity within the football world and to use football to promote solidarity, regardless of gender, ethnic background, faith or culture.
Seriously, lying so blatantly like that? What does FIFA think it is? The UN?
Of course, there are whisperings that Qatar bribed the organization, and pretty much bought the World Cup.
Well, it certainly wasn’t the soccer-friendly temperatures that reach 54 Celsius (130 Fahrenheit), or the political instability of the region that won the tournament for the rich nation.
Still, whether or not FIFA was bribed, the fact remains it is knowingly and willfully condoning and promoting human rights violations and atrocities.
FIFA’s current partners include: Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai-Kia, Sony, Visa, and, lo and behold, Emirates airline.
If these businesses choose to continue supporting an organization that endorses hate, violence, and murder they should do it understanding that consumers also have choices.
Unlike the hundreds - and hundreds - of thousands of people victimized by Qatar.