Despite Media and Racist Campaigns, This Is How Qatar Clung to Its Values and Traditions

Sara Andalousi | 2 years ago




The fierce media campaign against Qatar went beyond criticism to racism and systematic targeting. Yet, Qatar did not succumb to the unfair pressure practiced by some media outlets.

The Arab World Cup in Qatar is the first World Cup after which the seats in some stadiums will be donated in whole and in part to countries in need to develop their sports infrastructure. This system of solidarity is an integral part of the Arab and Islamic identity and culture, which Qatar insisted on highlighting through the themes of the World Cup. However, the international media coverage of the World Cup did not show any of those facts.

Moreover, the architecture of the stadiums reflects the identity and heritage of the host country, leading Qataris and residents to open their hostels and guest rooms to fans and visitors so that one voice can be heard throughout the country: Welcome.


Outrageously Disrespectful

The Independent newspaper reported the British journalist Piers Morgan criticizing the BBC and its most prominent sports commentator because of their heinous show that “outrageously disrespected Qatar” when it did not broadcast the opening ceremony and devoted the initial broadcast to criticism of human rights.

The newspaper said that those who opened the televisions to watch the opening of the World Cup found Gary Lineker, the BBC sports commentator, presenting a long monologue in which he criticized the host country, its treatment of migrant workers, and its human rights record.

Morgan said BBC’s decision to lead on the controversy as opposed to the opening ceremony of the WC was “outrageously disrespectful to Qatar.”

He accused Lineker of “virtue signaling.” He wrote on Twitter: “Outrageously disrespectful to Qatar that the BBC didn’t broadcast the World Cup opening ceremony, and instead put out more virtue-signaling guff about how awful it is.

“If they’re that appalled, they should bring home their vast army of employees and spare us this absurd hypocrisy.”


Identity First

The journalist Omar Sheikh Ibrahim wrote that the moment Qatar established its media project was a watershed in the history and future of this country and all the internal and external Qatari achievements that followed, in terms of soft powers, up to the Qatar World Cup.

The Qatari elite realized the strengths and weaknesses of this country, and began planning and investing in areas outside the thinking of rulers and the elite in the Arab region, to be a pioneer in several civilizational achievements.

The last of them was its organization of the World Cup, which the Qataris called the “Arab World Cup.” The designation reveals Qatar’s insistence on adhering to its Arab and Islamic identity through its strong clinging to its Arabic and Islamic values.

Qatar’s insistence on the necessity of the visitors’ respect for its culture raised an unjustified fierce media campaign full of hatred and racism. Ironically these voices did not rise when their countries were importing energy supplies from Qatar. The Western care for workers’ rights in the Middle East suddenly became of primordial importance during the Qatar World Cup.

The journalist Omar Sheikh Ibrahim pointed out that there are eight countries participating in the World Cup in Qatar whose laws prohibit homosexuality and criminalize those who practice it. He asked: Should these countries be expelled from FIFA? Should they be prevented from hosting the next World Cup? The campaigns are solely directed towards Qatar from a racist position.

There is much evidence in previous World Cups hosted by criminal countries accused of human rights violations and war crimes that didn’t trigger any kind of criticism.


Double Standards

The sports critic Hossam Zaid said that there is a clear double standard in dealing with Qatar and in the Western political, media, and sports attacks on it. Qatar is facing an unprecedented systematic campaign for any country that has hosted the World Cup before.

He added to Al-Estiklal Arabic that Russia has the same position as Qatar regarding the rejection of homosexuals. It even has a dark history of massive human rights violations, campaigns to liquidate opponents, and aggression on the territories of other countries, even before the Ukraine war. Nevertheless, it hosted the 2018 World Cup in complete peace and without disturbance or objections.

He continued to say that during the World Cup that was held in Brazil in 2014, “for those who do not know, the state completely removed the slums in order to build stadiums and renovate cities, and that was without appropriate compensation or observance of human and social rights, and no one spoke.”

Zaid explained that historically, there had been world cups that were marred by horrific human rights disasters, the most important of which is the World Cup in Argentina in 1978 when it was held near the prisons of the dictator General Jorge Videla, and the reason for the tournament was to polish his regime.

The sports critic added, “but the case of Qatar is different. Only due to its adherence to its identity and culture, the world has risen. This is an unacceptable double standard. They must respect Qatar, which today represents the Arab and Islamic peoples, and advances the Middle Eastern culture in its best way.”


Supporting Qatar

The President of the International Football Association, Giovanni Infantino, criticized the campaign launched by Western parties against Qatar and considered it Western racism. He called on the countries that directed their criticism of the first Arab country to organize the World Cup to reform human rights and pay attention to the conditions of migrants first.

Infantino’s comments came during a press conference held at the FIFA Media Center a day before the opening of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The FIFA President stressed that slogans and moral lessons reflect hypocrisy, and the conditions of workers in the State of Qatar are better than those of immigrants in Europe.

Infantino criticized the way many Western media outlets dealt with Qatar, pointing out that most of them ignore the rights of people with special needs. He emphasized that everyone in Qatar is striving for the success of the World Cup, and he is sure that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will be the best. “We welcome everyone to the World Cup. We would like to emphasize that Qatar welcomes everyone regardless of their race, religion, orientation or beliefs,” he added.

“We have been taught many lessons from Europeans and the Western world. I am European. For what we have been doing for 3,000 years around the world, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before giving moral lessons.”

He emphasized: “Qatar has established a fund to support workers, and an amount of no less than USD 350 million US dollars has been allocated to workers in the form of compensation.”