The 2022 FIFA World Cup is one of the most attractive and popular organizations in the world. Every four years, people from seven continents come together and share joys and sorrows for more than a month. In fact, most American and European countries have hosted the Games since 1930. This is only the third time that a state or states in the non-Western world have hosted the World Cup (South Korea and Japan in 2002, South Africa in 2014 and Qatar in 2022). Three North American countries, namely the United States, Canada and Mexico, will host the next organization. In other words, the history of the World Cup reflects the imperialist perception of the West.
On closer inspection, Qatar 2022 is unique in many ways. First, Qatar became the first Muslim, Arab and Middle Eastern country to host the organization. Considering that the Muslim population in the world is around 1.7 billion, or about a quarter of the total world population, it would make sense for Muslim countries to host the organization more often. Many Muslim countries such as Turkey and Malaysia have improved their infrastructure and increased their capacity to host the games. For example, Türkiye has been competing for a decade to host the organization.
Second, Qatar is the smallest host nation in World Cup history. Many doubted that such a small country could host the tournament; However, the Doha government has successfully built eight stadiums and many other facilities for the event. Third, Qatar 2022 is the most expensive organization ever. The Qatari state has spent over $200 billion on the tournament. And fourth, the West has criticized Qatar for the living and working conditions of its workers, its political system and the cultural values of its people. Western media and politicians have tried to discredit Qatar with biased and fabricated allegations. Contrary to the spirit of the Games, many Western media like the BBC did not broadcast many parts of the opening ceremony, such as the recitation of the Quran, the holy book of Islam.
Western media bias
Western media have also criticized Qatar for restricting human rights, such as banning the purchase of alcoholic beverages in stadiums and banning the use of LGBT signs by players during matches. Although the ban was limited to stadiums, Western media showed that it was a general ban. Western media and politicians have made many statements that do not respect the religious and cultural values of the Qatari state and its people. Many Western politicians and media have tried to impose their values on Qataris.
Western reaction and criticism reflect a double standard and an imperialist perspective. When other countries like France and Russia used similar restrictions, most current critics remained silent. In other words, whenever a Western state acts, it is seen as rational and welcome. But when a Muslim or Arab state takes action, it is seen as irrational and criticized. Thus, they still affirm the Orientalist perspective and continue to trivialize non-Western peoples, i.e. Muslims and Arabs.
In this context, the criticism of German footballers before a match and the action of the German minister who broke the rules set by Qatar and FIFA were childish and superficial reactions.
Western values ”not universal”
Qatar 2022 showed that it is time for the West to understand that values are not “universal” and that the non-Western world may not accept all Western values. No Western state can force non-Western countries and peoples to follow Western values. For example, many of these values are contrary to the main norms of the host State. Fortunately, not all Westerners share this imperialist and orientalist vision. For example, the current FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, has clearly stated that Qatar has the right to take these measures (banning alcoholic beverages in stadiums). Infantino said the West does not have the moral superiority to teach human rights lessons to others, stressing: “I think for what we Europeans have done in the last 3,000 years in the world, we should apologize for the next one. 3,000 years before people started giving people moral lessons.
So far, despite all the Western interference in the Games, Qatar has managed the organization successfully. The government in Doha has taught the West a lesson on how to respect the diversity of cultures, civilizations and religions. The West should abandon its long-standing narcissistic self-perception and recognize multiculturalism and diversity. Overall, global events like the Olympics and the World Cup should reflect all the colors and cultures of the world.
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