FIFA must be boycotted, Gulf states don’t deserve exceptions – The Brock Press

Photo by: Rowen Smith

Haytham Nawaz

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be the first time the football tournament will be held in the Arab world, in Qatar. With the Qatari government notorious for its human rights abuses, now is a good time to highlight the often overlooked geopolitical issues surrounding Qatar and the Gulf States in general.

First of all, the abundance of oil in the Gulf States has its origin in the ancient Tethys Ocean which existed about 200 million years ago and existed as a sea between the continents of the present-day Africa and Asia where the Gulf now occupies. States. This ocean was teeming with organisms and therefore miles-deep biomass that now lies not too far beneath the mostly desert surfaces of the Middle East as latent fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

It is the historical-geographical context of the Arab world’s oligopoly on world oil exports which finds its political apotheosis in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), an IGO which has played an important role in the political worldwide since its inception in the 1960s.

Qatar was a member of OPEC for more than 60 years before exiting in 2019 because it allegedly wanted to focus on natural gas exports, which large parts of the commentary saw as a strategic move to exit early. of the oil-exporting cartel as they fell. favor in the eyes of governments concerned about climate change.

However, this does not absolve Qatar of the fact that the country has amassed great wealth through its oil exports over the past 6 decades, making it a leading country in the world in the 21st century. Qatar has experienced exponential growth in its GDP growth rate since the 2000s, with a growth rate of 17.7% in 2008 and a GDP of USD 115 billion in the same year and expected to almost double by 2014 .

This historical context is important in several respects. First, it reveals the radical historical contingency of prehistoric world events that led to the oil empires of the Gulf States, which should be mentioned whenever someone tries to justify the wealth of these states as emanating from some kind of technical genius or like anything in the world. drinking water there that creates highly efficient engineers, businessmen, refiners and others. Secondly, it implicates these states in a global responsibility related to climate change, workers’ rights and the oblique consent to the laws and treatment of people in these states by all countries that enter into agreements with them for fuel, without excluding the Canada.

With this second consideration stemming from a historical contextualization of the Gulf oil powers, the whole FIFA controversy comes across as the latest in a long list of attacks by major OPEC-adjacent players on human rights. man, from the codified abuses against women in Saudi Arabia to the thousands of workers – many of them migrants from Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries – who died in the scorching Persian Gulf heat of Qatar as they built the infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron said in response to demands for a boycott of the World Cup in Qatar that “sport should not be politicised”.

It’s a deeply strange feeling; why is sport free from politicization? When the French Rugby Federation (FFR) allowed transgender women to play in officially recognized leagues, wasn’t that a capitulation based on political pressure? Why did Macron not intervene to condemn this? How about the time the French Senate nearly passed a hijab ban for competitive sports in the country and tabled it due to an outcry from lawmakers?

Simply put, sports are allowed to be politicized as long as they continue after everything is accounted for in a concrete or symbolic way – the latter having already happened this time around with the FIFA chief bizarrely telling the press ” Today I feel Qatari Today I feel Arab Today I feel African Today I feel gay Today I feel disabled Today I feel disabled I feel (like) a wanderer. Today I feel (like) a migrant worker” to sympathize with the marginalized.

The idea of ​​world sports being shut down or boycotted altogether to make a point or raise awareness of injustices is hard for the first world to swallow.

Meanwhile, a highly tradable and often voiceless global proletariat is reduced to cheap batteries that power our global entertainment. A fuel that needs as much politicization as the literal fuel that has enriched many of these Gulf States and is only intensifying the destruction of our planet at this point.

About Jimmie T.

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