Lessons from the World Cup in Qatar.. Muhannad Abdel Hamid
The most popular football match in the world was an opportunity for people to get to know each other, get closer, open cultures to each other, exchange experiences, tolerance and mutual respect, all within the framework of peaceful coexistence, rejection of racism, military occupation, domination over peoples, impoverishment and suppression of freedoms, as part of the system of universal human values. How beautiful is the joy that spreads throughout the nation, and sometimes many nations, celebrating the victory and the skills of the players, just as the Arab nations celebrated the Moroccan team at the World Cup in Qatar. How hard it is to find people who are frustrated, sad and breathless about losing their team. Feelings of victory and defeat were present throughout the World Cup.
In exchange for the humanitarian, recreational and solidarity purposes of international matches at the World Cup, sport and especially the game of football was used for obvious profit purposes, to develop investments in clubs, buy players and turn them into profitable propaganda items. Since he entered the world of finance and business along the lines of the game of football, prioritizing the value of profit and profit-making propaganda over the noble values of football creativity. Whoever pays more money can buy and control the sports club, and whoever pays more money can own the most skilled players for the benefit of the team they own. For example, the Canadian billionaire Elon Musk can buy 15 of the oldest European clubs for a value of 41 billion dollars, which is the value of Twitter. According to the ranking of the clubs, Barcelona with 4.49 billion dollars, Real Madrid with 4.48 billion, Bayern Munich with 3.98 billion euros, Manchester City with 3.96 billion euros, etc., and the “price” of the Brazilian player Neymar was 222 million euros, and his monthly salary was 4 million euros and it was the biggest A job in the history of football, according to “France 24”, and for Kylian Mbappe his price was 160 million euros. The Argentinian player, Lionel Messi, is worth 141 million euros, while Cristiano Ronaldo’s worth is 101 million.
There is a difference between the function of football and the status of players in the concept of investors and billionaires and between its function and the status of its players in the concept of people and football fans. This large gap between the two concepts and places is reflected in the process of politicization to which the game is exposed. And that leads to a big gap in politicization. During the World Olympic Games, the United Nations calls for an “Olympic truce” and the use of sports activities to “build a culture of peace”, in line with the games’ usual mission of peaceful competition and bridge-building. Which also means solidarity with suffering peoples, groups and individuals. However, hegemonic powers and powers that have ambitions for dominance and those that have interests in wars ignore calls for peace and escalate their hostilities. This has happened and is happening in Palestine, not a single day of the World Cup has passed without the Israeli occupier inflicting martyrs, wounded and prisoners among the Palestinian people, along with the attacks of fascist settlers and the destruction they cause on property. The nations of the world are celebrating there in Qatar, and the Palestinian people are threatened by the poles of the fascist right and the Israeli nationalist, who is about to announce his government under the leadership of Netanyahu, and promised more oppression, looting, settlement, ethnic cleansing, annexation and finding a foothold in the Al-Aqsa Mosque . The war during the World Cup is not limited to Palestine, as there is a devastating war being waged by Russia in Ukraine, where Ukrainian cities and towns are exposed to destruction and the Ukrainian people are exposed to homelessness, death and frost. At a time when people want to stop wars, resort to political solutions and achieve peace, Putin continues his illegal destructive war and the Biden administration works to fuel war, arms race and militarization, and the disaster, destruction, and famine it brings to the Ukrainian people and most of the people. Third world. Dominant states and states that strive for hegemony do not respond to the call of the people and their interests that arose from the Olympic Games in Qatar, which are summarized in stopping economic and security brutality, and harnessing money for development, health, education and culture. . Instead, the owners of monopolies and huge capital compete for arms and war, and countries with petro and gas dollars compete to buy influence at any price.
Nations, especially Arab nations, expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people within the World Cup and expressed their real feelings against injustice, racism and occupation. She was honest in her feelings and attitudes, consistent in her actions. As for the official Arab positions, they were satisfied with the position of formal support for the Palestinian cause, and they wanted to cover their agreements with the occupying state, which are unfair to the Palestinian people and the Arab peoples, with words of support for the Palestinian cause, separate from actions. On the contrary, the United Arab Emirates invited the fascist racist Ben Gvir to its embassy in Tel Aviv to celebrate its national day, and he is a person who is rejected and boycotted globally and in Israeli circles, and this step was understood only to help pass the Netanyahu government alliance with the new Kahanism. Qatar wanted to cover up its normalization with the occupying state by opening all doors for Israelis to participate in the FIFA World Cup, purchase and media coverage, encouraging the raising of the Palestinian flag inside and outside the World Cup. No one doubts the support and solidarity of the Arab nations with the Palestinian people, and they expressed the truth of their views at the World Cup. At the same time, the press demanded from the Arab countries to exert political and economic pressure on the occupation government and to protest practically against the crimes and violations and to announce their refusal to deal with a government that includes the Kahanist fascists whose slogan is “death to the Arabs” and support the persistence and resistance of the Palestinian people. Instead, some are riding the wave of Palestinian flag-raising by fans and players of Arab sports teams. That’s enough. Honest and real Arab public opinion cannot be confused with declarations of official Arab support for the Palestinian cause, along with wider economic, security and cultural cooperation with the occupying power. Unfortunately, the official Palestinian position and opposition accepted the confusion and promoted it, as did the Arab regimes. The Palestinian position was consistent with the official Qatari position in rejecting and denying accusations by human rights organizations, unions and independent media workers of violating the rights of Asian workers who died during the construction of the Olympic infrastructure in Qatar, and of violating freedom of expression against Qatari citizens and residents. . The World Cup in Qatar revealed many problems concerning Qatar, the Arab countries, FIFA and the European Union, and it is likely that the page of the World Cup will not close with a celebration at the end.