Qatar Won Despite Harsh Criticism Of The World.
Qatar Won Despite Harsh Criticism Of The World. There Are Several Reasons For This
Qatar Won Despite Harsh Criticism Of The World. There Are Several Reasons For This
And the bisht on Messi’s shoulders became the main symbol of victory.
“And the winner is… Qatar!” – Sepp Blatter said back in 2010, taking out a piece of paper from an envelope with the place of the hostess of the 2022 World Cup.
12 years after this phase, the World Cup, for the benefit of which the country has contributed billions of dollars, natural resources, and human lives, is over. And, according to FIFA President Gianni Infantino, it became another “best tournament”. And this is after all the stories that haunted the tournament long before it began, and then during it.
It was easy to look for faults in Qatar – there are many things in the Persian Gulf country that go against European values. The rights of migrant workers, women and minorities, the carbon footprint, the grotesque monarchy, the vanity of the sheikhs – everything that the Western world is so desperately fighting for and against, perfectly converged in the spotlight because of the World Cup. But Qatar in this media struggle ended up winning, no matter how much many would not like such an outcome.
World Cup in the era of post-truth and populism
How many bad things have been said about Qatar? How much the country was criticized for the huge costs, attempts to show off in front of the whole world, the attitude towards workers and dirty corruption schemes when receiving the World Cup. The playlist of this record at the start of the tournament consisted of hundreds of songs spinning in a circle.
But we must understand that Qatar is not a deviation from the norm, simply because it does not exist in this world. Qatar is a mirror of the way the world works, just with more clearly defined issues. In many countries, they hide behind the struggle for freedom of speech, attempts to follow the foundations of democracy, feminist movements, various forms of real struggle and discussion of problems, which makes the gap with Qatar especially noticeable.
We live in an era in which post-truth is a new reality, and populism is its basis. This is a so-so alignment in the context of the World Cup, where sports should come first, and not the struggle of higher powers for political recognition. But it has long been clear that sport has a huge geopolitical and socio-economic impact. And in general, it is a reflection of what is happening in society. This year has shown everyone what a huge place sport has in politics.
In Qatar, the Rubicon of sports and politics was passed: it seems that even in Russia these two spheres did not intersect as often and so violently as this time. But we also saw that loud voices can make a difference – in the country, for example, they abolished the kafala system and made the life of workers a little better.
The next World Cup will be held in the USA, Canada, and Mexico, and at least two countries on this list contain so many problems inside that they give rise to huge scope for journalistic criticism. Whether the voices will be as loud, of course, only time will tell. But the main thing to learn from this tournament is the ability to separate the game of football from the game of politicians’ interests.
World Cup as the unity of the Arab world
Qatar tried to position itself as the center of Arab mediation with the outside world. Religion has certainly become a decisive element. Even the opening ceremony began with the reading of the Koran, a passage from which called for unity: “O people! We created you from male and female, We made you into races and tribes so that you may know each other. The best among you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous.”
For representatives of the “Arab-Muslim world” – and this is at least 430 million people who are united by language and religion – the World Cup on “their” territory has become an occasion for solidarity, cooperation and support. It is logical that they can identify themselves more with Qatar than with the Christian countries that used to host the tournament, so Doha had a record number of representatives of this world compared to other world championships (it is clear that this was also influenced by a geographical factor, but still ).
Criticism from the Western world has affected one important thing: the level of Arab solidarity has peaked in recent years. And this is in Qatar, with which in 2017 Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, as well as the Maldives, and one of the Libyan governments severed diplomatic relations as a result of the country’s accusations of undermining stability in the region and supporting Islamic terrorism.
The embargo was lifted after the agreement was signed in 2021, but Abu Dhabi was in no hurry to normalize relations, and Saudi Arabia continued to keep its distance from Qatar as if showing that the signing does not mean the beginning of a new and long friendship. But here is the World Cup, accompanied by Western criticism not only of the country but also of the foundations of Islam – about alcohol and attitudes towards homosexuals, for example.
Another push for unity was the victory of Saudi Arabia over Argentina – that match was a signal to the entire Arab world that the Arabs can win. Then there was a breakthrough in Morocco, which was supported by the Qataris, the Saudis, and the Algerians, who were not at all at the World Cup. At Suk Waqif (the old market, which we secretly called Arab Nikolskaya), Arabs from different countries had fun together, celebrating the football holiday on their territory.
World Cup as Qatar’s biggest victory
It was extremely important for Qatar to host this World Cup for about the same reason that Russia once did – to show itself to the whole world. Use a sports tournament as a means of soft power to achieve political goals, as well as to overcome the invisibility of a small state on the Persian Gulf, which until recently was in the blockade of its own neighbors. At the expense of the World Cup, Qatar wanted to pave the way for becoming an international center for business, diplomacy and tourism, so it spared nothing for these purposes.
In the eyes of the Arab world, the World Cup put Qatar on the same level as Western countries as the host of a major sporting event and showed that there is hospitality and celebration in this part of the world. Yes, a bit different from what Western countries are used to, with its own peculiarities and exceptions, but after all, this is the World Cup – and the Middle East, with its religious and cultural rules, is also part of it.
But the big question is what will happen next in Qatar when the last decorations of the World Cup are removed from the streets: will the country be able to break the conservative foundations, or will the castles be closed again? Political leaders arrived in Qatar – the crown prince of Saudi Arabia sat next to the emir at the opening match, and the UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and French President Emmanuel Macron came to the final.
There were also businessmen from many international companies who were shown a country with which, in the potential, good business relations could be established. One of the major deals was made right at the tournament: in the next 15 years, Qatar will supply Germany with liquefied natural gas – the same Germany that, two weeks before the start of the World Cup, called for a boycott of the tournament.
But most importantly, the ending eclipsed everything. Stories about migrants, the ban on beer and wearing One Love headbands will be forgotten over the years, but the victory of Argentina and Messi will remain in history forever. Just like the World Cup in Brazil after so many years in people’s memory is not a symbiosis of the problems of poverty and corruption in the country, but a 1:7 defeat and a goal by Mario Götze in the 112th minute.
Messi, raising the cup over his head at the Lusail stadium, took part in the victory of Qatar over a part of the world, set up all this time against him. Leo, with his story, gave the most controversial host country of the World Cup eternal glory with a positive connotation – despite all the critics and haters, Qatar has become a platform for a better denouement.
World Cup through our eyes
This month in Qatar turned out to be multifaceted. At first, everything seemed fake. Fake. Indians and Pakistanis in the uniform of the Argentine national team, who were everywhere; a sense of a hard divide between rich and poor; houses without light, but with World Cup flags on the facades; a city-decoration, beyond which there is only a desert, and inside of which there are lifeless skyscrapers and ideally shaped buildings.
Colleagues felt about the same and honestly admitted that they wanted everything to end as soon as possible – that’s how they disliked the best event that could only happen in their careers. Simply because it was held in Qatar, a country in which it is difficult to imagine a celebration of life.
For the first time, I really am at the World Cup, and not at some ordinary tournament, the realization came at the match between Argentina and Mexico, that is, in the middle of the 2nd round. The huge Lusail, packed to capacity with Argentines and Mexicans, the brightly noisy sea in the stands, seething until the very last minutes – finally, the very magic that is inherent in events of this level happened at the stadium.
Then everything began to spin: the denouement in the groups, the Argentines with their incessant songs, the Moroccans, from whose whistle pawned ears, the Japanese with their same motive and habit of cleaning up. Gradually, the World Cup began to take on the real features of the main tournament, because of which there was a reason to switch the focus of attention to some positive things, and not concentrate only on the bad.
This World Cup certainly wasn’t “the best ever” as Infantino said. If only because there were still enough problems: shuttle drivers got lost, the advertised air conditioning system at the stadiums ended up causing discomfort to hundreds of people in the form of snot and coughing instead of comfort, there were no mass festivities on the streets, as in Russia, there were empty seats in the stands, which filled with people from the street in the second half, and the organization in places reached absurd things like a million fences on the way to the subway and five people guarding one door.
But it was definitely a quite worthy tournament because the stadiums are beautiful, the fans are bright (even if there were not so many of them), football, in general, turned out to be amazing, full of unexpected twists and endings, historical and beautiful moments. After all, the World Cup – should it be about this?
About the fairy tale of Morocco.
Hopes of Korea and Japan.
Drama of Brazil.
Tears of Ronaldo.
Messi’s main victory in life
And the best ending ever.
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