AuthorZirin, Dave

The Qatar World Cup, which kicked off in late November, is a human rights disaster, despite all of the propaganda and disinformation proclaiming otherwise.

From the bribes that allegedly secured a successful host bid for the petro-dictatorship to the thousands of migrant workers who died in the unforgivingly hot sun while working to build the facilities in conditions compared to slavery, to the country's brutal oppression of LGBTQ+ people and women, awarding the Cup to Qatar has left a stain on soccer that FIFA President Gianni "Johnny Boy" Infantino will never cleanse. In Infantino's world, however, the tournament--the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East -- will be the "best ever."

This is a shameful spectacle of sportswashing in an age of capitalist decay. Yet having the entire sad affair shoved down our throats isn't enough for Qatar's ruling family. Taking a page from the rightwing grievance playbook of the Republican Party in the United States -- in which one takes a truthful accusation of misconduct and flips it into a false claim of bullying--the ruling family has been complaining that they are being unfairly targeted.

In a speech in late October, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, said, "Since we won the honor of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced." He questioned the "real reasons and motives behind this campaign."

These "real motives," of course, exist only in the mind of the emir. While it is certainly true that xenophobia and anti-Islamic bigotry are problems in the world of soccer, resistance to this particular World Cup did not originate with fascists or members of the so-called cancel culture. It is coming from human rights activists and labor organizations that are shining a light on Qatar's myriad abuses.

Human Rights Watch issued an alarming report about attacks against LGBTQ+ people in Qatar, warning that without vigilance, LGBTQ+ guests of the country are at risk. "While Qatar prepares to host the World Cup, security forces are detaining and abusing LGBTQ+ people simply for who they are, apparently confident that the security force abuses will go unreported and unchecked," Rasha Younes, an LGBTQ+ rights...

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