Sports & Politics

"Us against Q.A.T.A.R."

Style PASS joins protests

It's a fine line, like many things in life: How do you protect human rights? How do you - pragmatically speaking - bring about improvements in the lives of people who have not yet benefited from the achievements of humanism?

The hosting of the Soccer World Cup in the Emirate of Qatar in 2022 is currently causing a lot of rebellion: according to media reports, the human rights organisation Amnesty International recommends allowing the games to take place if the opening of the Emirate towards the "Western world" would bring about improvements in the medium term.

Now, however, even the otherwise well-behaved German soccers, who usually stay out of politics, or should stay out of politics, are rebelling, because too much discussion about the fundamentals distracts from the "profit machine of soccer". Some other players from European countries had made a start by pointing out human rights violations.

The Emirate of Qatar is rich. Here, per capita income is many times higher than in other countries. Obviously, this is not entirely by chance, because workers' rights are still trampled underfoot there. There is talk of countless deaths, mainly of young men, who have already died or are dying daily on large construction sites, including stadium construction for the World Cup. The emirate is the first to profit from cheap labour from other countries, attracting investors from all over the world with prestigious construction projects or, rather, ostentation with the thousand-and-one-after-glamour factor: between 2010 and 2020, almost 6,000 forced labourers from India, Nepal or Sri Lanka died, reports "The Guardian", among others.

It is true that Qatar treats its fellow human beings with care when the interests of its own citizens are at stake: Qatar has free health care for everyone. On the other hand, Qatar is not very liberal when it comes to homosexuals, as same-sex love is still punishable there.

Style PASS thinks: It's great that many players now don't want to be seen as voluntary-unvoluntary helpers of Fifa, which Qatar has simply pushed through against protests that have existed since the beginning.
It would be strange if our star kickers in our liberal media society had no opinion on the World Cup in Qatar and simply had their mouths shut!

On the other hand, of course, the matter is not quite as simple as it seems at first glance: here the evil medieval emirate, here the good Western world.

Take Germany, for example: long after the war, the Germans still had a massive problem with homosexuality: until 1969, male homosexuality was generally punishable in (West) Germany!
And our also the German health care system including statutory health insurance, which guarantees everyone access to medical care, is not exactly thanks to general do-gooderism, but was introduced under Bismarck as a necessity because simply too many workers were dying in the factories of the emerging industrialisation: Universal health care as a guarantee to help capitalism into its shoes.

So one can now argue about what came first in each case: insight into human rights and the general dignity of the human species or necessary reforms motivated by "pragmatic considerations" and the protection of the interests of the factory owners and financial elite.

Qatar has a lot of catching up to do, that is clear. Style PASS doubts whether the World Cup is the right means to push reforms. The example of the "Sochi 2014 Winter Games" shows the devastating effects on infrastructure and individual living environments of people within a country: Forced relocations and housing shortages for the population in favour of the stadiums, it said.

Style PASS finds: Playing along under the premise of wanting to position oneself politically and draw attention to human rights violations is not enough of a demarcation!


Women's power despite basement league

Women's soccer is gaining momentum. Provided the Corona pandemic doesn't throw a spanner in the works, Borussia Dortmund will launch a women's soccer team on 1 July. Style PASS thinks the concept is great and spoke with Svenja Schlenker, head of the girls' and women's soccer department, and with Managing Director Carsten Cramer.

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