Argentina walked away with the FIFA World Cup and Qatar won all the kudos for holding the grand international sports event in style in which the tiny Arab country managed to showcase its culture and religion, winning the hearts of the people across the world.
But the biased Western media launched a harsh propaganda blitz against the first-ever mega sports event held in an Arab country even before it started, exposing its double-standards and hypocrisy. A sports event that drew elite players and a million fans together from across the world got under attack simply because the host country, Qatar, adhered to its cultural and religious values, which the Western media think are ‘uncivilized’.
To pass the acid test of being ‘civilized’, the Western media wanted Qatar to legalize homosexuality and allow gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender to unfurl their rainbow flag in this Muslim country. The West also wants to impose its concepts of human and women rights and worldview on Qatar just as it is trying to do this in every other non-western country and society.
How the so-called ‘free, balanced, fair and objective’ Western media covered the FIFA World Cup is an eye opener. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) decided not to air the FIFA World Cup’s opening ceremony live from Qatar. Instead, its transmission focused on condemning the LGBT restrictions, the alleged human rights violations, and the environmental impact of the game. It also accused Qatar of bribing various stakeholders to bring the mega event home.
A leading British newspaper, The Times, wrote that Qataris were not used to seeing women dressed in Western-style clothing. The captions, which were false, were later amended.
For a French magazine, the Qatari football team was a bunch of terrorists. And they were dressed as such in one of its cartoons. A French reporter said he was surprised by the number of mosques in Qatar, underlining lack of understanding about the region.
The Western media called Qatar conservative for the Bedouin-themed beginning of the opening ceremony in which a female singer performed wearing a burqa that remains banned in many European countries. They also did not like the citation of a verse from the Holy Quran in the opening ceremony.
In a highly condemnable move, the German players covered their mouths with their hands in a group photo ahead of a match against Japan, protesting restrictions to wearing rainbow-coloured “OneLove” armbands, which is a symbol of the LGBT movement. On social media, many critics joked that had the German team paid more attention to football than the LGBT rights, they might not have lost to Japan in their match.
In a nutshell, the highly biased, myopic and one-sided Western journalism and the mindset of some of the European teams attempted to portray that the FIFA World Cup remains more about imposing Western values on the soccer-loving Arab-Muslim country rather than playing football.
One of Qatari ministers was absolutely justified in saying that his country’s laws “won’t change for the visitors, even for this game”.
It seems that many Europeans and the Western media are as extremist in imposing their worldview on others, especially the so-called LGBT rights, as any extremist religious group.
Noël Le Graët, president French Football Federation, was among those saner people who defended Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup, saying there has been “an excessive campaign” against the country. The FIFA president also requested participant countries to “focus on football” instead of anything else.
For Qatar, hosting the World Cup once seemed impossible. Its neighbours — Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — had imposed restrictions on the tiny country just a year-and-a-half ago. The two countries and their allies cut off the border and air routes as part of the political dispute. The UAE and Bahrain still didn’t join the event expressing scepticism about its success.
However, despite all these difficulties, the smallest country in Asia turned its sprawling desert into an ultra-modern, high-tech venue. It built seven new stadiums ahead of the tournament, and constructed new hotels. Qatar also carried out major expansions to its airport, rail networks and highways over the last 12 years. But all its efforts failed to impress its West critics, who want to dictate Qatar and for that matter all the Muslim nations as well as China and Russia to accept the so-called new-normal of LGBT rights like the Western countries.
But for the same Western media thousands of deaths in the Indian-occupied Kashmir, Syria, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan do not count or be seen as human rights violations.