Human rights protests in Globalism The cup has attracted everything from sympathy to indifference and outright hostility, and Qatar’s critics have often found themselves in the crossfire.
Germany’s outcry, in reaction to its ban from wearing the “OneLove” badge, was soon followed by accusations of anti-Arab racism and satire of the country’s Nazi past.
Other acts of support for Qatar’s LGBT community and migrant workers, often by European teams or fans, have raised more suspicion than the solidarity of many around the world.
“Put your hands over your mouths and we will pinch our noses so that we don’t smell your racism,” Tunisian citizen Fathi Jouini said in a Facebook post, referring to the German national team.
Similar situations were seen elsewhere, with many criticizing angrily. In conservative Saudi Arabia, an Arabic hashtag that translates as “gay team” went viral on Twitter after the German outcry.
The charged and often abusive messages on social media come in the wake of a nasty World Cup escalation, when European officials and the media criticized Qatar’s human rights record.
According to Dana El Kurd, assistant professor of political science at the University of Richmond in Virginia, critics of heroism are sometimes guilty of “double standards.”
“The discussion about the World Cup in Qatar – with perfectly valid criticisms being made at times – has been fueled by hypocrisy and double standards in many cases,” she told AFP.
“I think it would be an oversight if we didn’t realize that racism plays a big role,” El-Kurd said.
“They just see a country of Arabs dressed up and assuming some extreme religious authoritarianism, when in fact people in Doha act quite freely in terms of their personal choices.”
‘ridiculous and insulting’
This view gained traction in the case of Germany when former international Sandro Wagner described the garment as a “country bathrobe” while commenting on a match, sparking a social media storm, and he later apologised.
When energy-rich Qatar on Tuesday announced its first major deal to send LNG to Germany, many on social media were quick to respond.
“Your regular reminder that human rights concerns rarely get in the way of strategic interests,” reads a Twitter post.
During the tournament, some fans wore rainbow outfits and government officials from Germany, Belgium and Britain were seen with “OneLove” badges in the stadiums.
But different parts of the world showed little enthusiasm for the human rights debate centered around the soccer tournament.
AFP correspondents said the Senegalese media largely ignored the issue and comments were silenced in Japan.
The heads of Japanese, Serbian and Croatian football were among those who preferred to stay away from rights issues.
“There are disparities and injustices…but some Western European countries do not reflect their contribution to the injustice,” said Daniel Reich, visiting associate professor at Georgetown University-Qatar.
“When we look at the shirts that teams wear, or the balls they play with…they are produced in Southeast Asian countries, with cheap labour,” added Reich, who co-authored a book on World Cup politics in Qatar. .
However, sociologist Nandita Sharma, whose work focuses on expatriate workers, cautioned against the dangers of dismissing criticism of Qatar as a purely Western phenomenon.
“People are weaponizing and distorting criticism of Orientalism and imperialism to insulate the Qatari state from criticism,” said the professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“Hearing that our criticisms and concerns about migrant workers in Qatar are an example of ‘Western imperialism’ or ‘whiteness’ is absurd and insulting,” she told AFP.
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