The World Cup in Qatar highlights hypocrisy of Western Left

In March 2021, at the height of the embarrassing kneeling tribute to the corrupt Black Lives Matters organisation, I pointed out the utter hypocrisy in relation to the soccer association of Ireland (FAI) insisting that League of Ireland and the international teams indulge in that ludicrous and meaningless gesture.

The hypocrisy I alluded to was that the FAI had not made one single comment regarding those who were protesting at the hosting of the World Cup by Qatar due to human rights abuses and the alleged corruption that had seen the event awarded to that country. The Norwegian
equivalent of the FAI had seriously debated whether to take part in the event if they qualified, and other national teams including the Germans had made some form of protest.

As it happened, Norway’s participation was decided by their not having won a place. That had never been an issue with the FAI team of course, but to compound matters they played Qatar in a friendly match in the Aviva. And yes, of course they kneeled before it.

Who were they kneeling for? Certainly not for the 4,000 slaves who the Global Slavery Index estimated were living as chattels of the Qatar elite in 2018. Nor for the more than 6,000 migrants workers who are believed to have lost their lives during the construction of the stadiums and facilities to host the World Cup.

The FAI are not unique of course. You will find little or no reference to human rights abuses in Qatar if you search the accounts and statements of our own hyperactive commentators on what is happening in Poland or Hungary where the exercise of the sovereign and civil and legal rights is still maintained. One of the reasons for that has been Qatar’s support for Hamas and its alleged role in bankrolling the international Palestinian solidarity movement which of course is rung by the left.

Qatar has vast funds at its disposal, and while small in population this provides it with a large degree of clout not only among the extreme Islamist groups and their leftist allies, but through its other donations including to respected bodies such as the Brookings Institute.

The western left has always maintained a hypocritical silence on the abuse and terror directed by this state and other Islamist allies against their own political opposition – including left-wing activists in Gaza, as well as gay people, women’s groups, trade unions and journalists. Then
again, much of the left accepted all of that over the generations when it was taking place in the police states of eastern Europe and Cuba.

Qatar and the World Cup provides a fascinating insight into where late-stage rampant consumerism – of which professional soccer and its best known teams and players is one of the leading totems – clashes with the reality of how corporate finance operates. The Qatari ruling class of a small number of vastly wealthy families is a key player in finance and regional politics, as underlined by its ability to “buy” the World Cup, the audience for all of this is conflicted.

That conflict comes not only from the fact that there are slaves in Qatar and that thousands died so that billions of people could watch soccer on their TVs, but that the Islamic nation offends against some of the other totems of western consumerism. Chief amongst those concerns is the whole LBGBT+ thing – as well as the treasured right to get trollied while watching a match.

Both are rights of course. As are the right not to be owned by another person, or to face the prospect of falling to your death every day you go to work. But then, the liberal left has been too busy with pushing extraneous and petty matters in open societies where slavery ended 200 years ago, and which provide full legal and civil rights to construction workers and gay people, to bother overmuch with the actual slavery and terror and abuse of gay people in places like Qatar and China and Cuba and Iran, which in the infantile imagination of your average western leftie are “progressive.”

All of those things will still exist when the World Cup ends and after some soccer player maybe becomes a Warholian 15 minute hero for wearing an armband in front of some billionaire who is laughing at them. They can stop fooling themselves: the complicity is in being there. Resistance is not some virtue signalling after the deed has been done and the bank account topped up.

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