Friday, June 26, 2015


Why is Qatar hosting the next soccer world cup? Why is Qatar not part of Saudi Arabia, given its geography? Do they still fish for pearls in Qatar? How did the Thani family come to rule it? How does a son depose his own father (as Crown Prince Hamad did in 1995), and why did he voluntarily abdicate in favour of his own son? Who on earth designed those hideous modern buildings which make Qatar look like a bad edition of Star Trek? Is al-Jazeera now more significant than Fox News? Do Qatari women take up their right to vote and stand for election? How come there are so many migrant workers dying while building the stadia for the world cup, all of whom are living in conditions of debt bondage, delayed or non-payment of salaries, confiscation of passports, abuse, hazardous working conditions, and squalid living arrangements? How does a modern country allow itself to be ruled by a despotic feudal family which siphons all the oil revenue into its own pockets, and allows men, women, and children to be subjected to forced labour and prostitution? Why is Qatar rated number 3 on the list of "top world tax havens"? Why have I run out of questions about this anomalous corner of the world so quickly? Oh, I do have three more, especially after the revelations of bribery and corruption surrounding the World Cup: first, is there anyone out there organising a boycott of the World Cup? Second - if not, why not? And third, the saddest question of all - why, given what we know of this human world, why did I waste my energy bothering to ask those first two questions?

Marks for: 0

Marks against: 1.35 million (the number of people estimated to be working on the world cup building programme; 94% of the country's workforce)

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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