a mirror of the misfortunes of the world


Lqatar never imagined, in 2010, when it won the battle for the awarding of the 2022 Football World Cup, that such a cloak of mistrust would weigh on the competition among the most watched on the planet at the eve of its opening. Instead of offering a welcome parenthesis in the disorders of the world, for the greater benefit of the international image of this micro-State rich with billions, it has become, on the contrary, the mirror of its misfortunes.

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The previous World Cup, in Russia, had received the usual preferential treatment for these major events in which sport is married to political influence. Vladimir Putin had already converted to imperial nationalism. Russia had invaded neighboring countries while eliminating, by force, its dissidents. Qatar does not enjoy this great power privilege.

The emirate would not have achieved its ends without the obviously interested competition of Western intermediaries and more precisely French. A fine illustration of the double talk consisting in making money king cohabit with the main principles: today, the Western lessons of good governance and exemplary behavior are no longer considered credible. The recent declarations of Emmanuel Macron affirming that one should not “politicizing sports”while major world sporting events have often been an opportunity to defend great causes, further add to the unease.

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It is all the more ironic that the indignation aroused by the errors of the organization of the competition is mainly Western. “The Rest” (of the world), a geopolitical concept that is now opposed to “the West”, highlighted by the Russian war in Ukraine and the wait-and-see attitude of a majority of countries in the South, is much more thrifty in indignation.

The Qatari mirage

The truth also obliges to say that this attribution, when it had been announced, had raised more questions about the fate which would be reserved for the players in a region known for its high temperatures, and about problems of the sports calendar, than about the disastrous ecological balance sheet what this choice would entail. This last variable was then considered secondary. Twelve years later, this World Cup appears on this point as the perfect example of what should now be avoided, without us being sure that the lesson has been learned.

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Some of the twenty-fifth-hour accusations leveled today against the narrow conservatism of the emirate, particularly on gender issues, could have been anticipated if we had not allowed ourselves to be blinded, then, by the Qatari mirage : first on the Arab shore of the Gulf to organize very symbolic municipal elections, champion of soft power and haven of a television channel, Al-Jazeera, then celebrated for an unprecedented regional freedom of speech, with the exception of business qataries.

Qatar itself should have taken seriously the profound implications of its prestige activism. Ensuring decent living conditions for the workers he recruits would have allowed him, at little cost, in view of his resources, to avoid the quasi-slavery lawsuit regularly heard in the region about labor expatriate from Asia. Finding accommodations to ensure the best possible coexistence between the conservatism of the emirate and the reception of citizens of the world could also have been credited to him. He just didn’t find it useful.

The world



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