The former detainee says the world cup 2026 to be held in the United States is questionable.
The US’s joint hosting of the World Cup in 2026 despite its widespread human rights abuses has been criticised by a former Guantanamo detainee.
Mansoor Adayfi, a Yemeni who spent 14 years in prison without a charge, told Middle East Eye that the discussion raised around unionisation, worker protection, and liveable wage are the tip of the iceberg to US’s issues.
He also highlighted his unlawful imprisonment in a notorious prison complex where abuses were committed under the guise of the “war on terror”.
Adayfi spent the 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2016 World Cups at the prison where he says he endured torture, humiliation and abuse. He was only 18 when he was arrested in Afghanistan, a few months before he was set to begin university.
“We haven’t seen any acknowledgment, justice, or accountability for what happened. Over a million died [as a result of the war on terror], tens of millions were displaced, and tens of thousands were kidnapped, tortured, and indefinitely imprisoned,” Adayfi said.
All of this comes weeks after Qatar itself faced backlash for hosting the World Cup. Various media organisations caricatured the Gulf State with their reporting solely focused on rights abuses.
“These criticisms are less often raised when a World Cup is held in a western country, such as France, England or the US,” said Shayana Kadidal, managing attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told MEE.
Kadidal believes that as an imperial power, the US should face more scrutiny. But he explains that part of the separation between perception and reality comes from the ability “to keep these abuses out of the public eye”.
A report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project has found that the US-led “war on terror” has killed nearly one million people globally and cost more than $8 trillion since it began nearly two decades ago.
Another report found that on top of those deaths, the conflicts that the US engaged in post-9/11 have resulted in the displacement of more than 37 million people.
He and many others echo the sentiment that countries from the global north would be held to the same standard that they hold others in.