In a new interview, Qatar’s outspoken former prime minister has denied any wrongdoing in the country’s bid for the 2022 World Cup and asked why Russia – which will host the football tournament four years earlier – is not being placed under the same scrutiny.
Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, who left his post as PM approximately two years ago, told Fox News this week that residents in the region believe the criticism is fueled in part by racism.
“If you see how (critics) talk about Russia and how they talk about Qatar … it is all about Qatar. Is it because (Qatar is) an Arab Islamic small country?” he said yesterday on the Fox program Sunday Morning Futures.
He added that he supports Russia’s right to host the 2018 World Cup.
While some have questioned whether it’s appropriate to hold the World Cup in Russia in light of its invasion of Ukraine, such discussions have been overwhelmingly overshadowed by reports of migrant worker abuse and bribery allegations in Qatar.
Last week, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland announced it was launching criminal proceedings as part of an investigation into “irregularities” into the awarded of the allocation of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.
The investigation is looking into allegations of “criminal mismanagement and of money laundering” related to the selection process for the football tournaments.
The announcement came the same day that Swiss police, acting on behalf of US authorities, arrested several FIFA executives.
Officials say that more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks were paid or agreed to by US and South American sports executives for media and marketing rights to international football tournaments since the 1990s.
The Swiss police statement said the two investigations were separate and the US Department of Justice did not mention the 2018 or 2022 World Cup in a lengthy statement that explained the indictment.
The dramatic move came two days before Sepp Blatter was re-elected as FIFA president for a fifth term and fueled perceptions that Qatar bribed members of FIFA’s executive committee to help secure support for its bid.
In response, Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy – which is overseeing the country’s construction of World Cup stadiums and training facilities – said in a statement last week that there was nothing untoward about its winning submission:
“We conducted our bid with integrity and to the highest ethical standards,” the SCDL said in a statement.
Al Thani echoed that position yesterday and hinted that international media and some of the losing bidders were responsible for “flaring” the issue.
“We dealt with this in a fair competition. There was no corruption … (It) shows the ugly face of the other party when they did not win a fair competition.”
Al Thani – widely known by his initials, HBJ – held several senior government posts under former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani including prime minister, foreign minister and chairman of the Qatar Investment Authority, where he oversaw the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
He was sidelined when Sheikh Hamad abdicated his position as Emir to his son Sheikh Tamim in 2013, and largely disappeared from public view for a year.
HBJ re-emerged in mid-2014, conducting an hour-long television interview with US journalist Charlie Rose and making several multibillion-dollar financial investments.
He was also photographed alongside Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani last October at the funeral of Christophe de Margerie, the CEO of French oil firm Total.
Look who's apparently back in the inner circle! Qatar Emir in #Paris for Total CEO funeral http://t.co/NNtizrRwqM #HBJ via @LesleyWalker17
— Shabina Khatri (@shabinakhatri) October 28, 2014
However, Al Thani downplayed his current connection to the Qatar government during his Fox interview by underscoring that he was speaking as an individual, and not on behalf of the country.
Much of this week’s discussion focused on regional security issues such as the influence of ISIS, which Al Thani attributed to a failure of the US and other military powers to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as advocated by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and other states in the region.
He added that ISIS has been strengthened by the perceived exclusion of Sunnis from Iraq’s government in recent years.
More broadly, HBJ said the region’s instability has been fueled by decades of “bad policy” and suggested some rulers in the Middle East are primarily concerned with holding onto their own positions rather than improving the lives of their citizens:
“We have dictatorships which have stayed 40 years, most think about themselves how to stay in power. They do not talk about jobs and development.”
I don’t think it really matters at this point what the motivations behind the international media’s focus on Qatar’s WC are anymore, now that the criminal investigations have begun, it should make it easier to separate the guilty from the innocent.
Using the race card always smacks of obfuscation and, worse, desperation. Not sure why HBJ is going on an offensive before any criminal investigation is concluded. As far as I see it, Qatar is in a good position here with FIFA’s practices in the frame.
Is it possible that people are more interested in the obvious foul play of Qatar over Russia because it is significantly more ludicrous to have the World Cup in Qatar — when it was originally planned for the summer? This and the obvious failures to hide the corruption and guilty parties? There is evidence splashed across TV & newspapers. How can someone cry “Racism!” when there are bank statements of payments to FIFA members?
The issue shall remain contentious because it was never declared before hand that certain parts of the world e.g. North Africa and the Middle East must never be allowed to host tournaments of this kind. This meant that they were allowed to not only retain the hope over decades but also to invest in bids.
It was never declared beforehand that certain parts of the world would be allowed to host a winter tournament either. If announced beforehand, that would have made a heck of a difference to Australia’s bid.
Apples and oranges…Besides, Australia’s issue was apparently time-zone related and yes, if time-zone is an issue then don’t let a country invest in a bid.
Nonsense. Why wasn’t time zone an issue when Japan and Korea hosted the tournament?
What they mean for FIFA in terms of market?
It is too bad that FIFA turned the sport into a souq of the worst kind.
Note that not stated as fact but as what Australians were discussing in the aftermath.
Brown envelopes should have been a more relevant topic of discussion than time zones.
Some of the reasons for questioning Qatar’s bid, in addition to the obvious summer heat problem, were that the country has never qualified for the World Cup finals, isn’t known for its passion for football and doesn’t have the infrastructure to host a major tournament.Russia is not a football superpower like Brazil or Italy, yet it has millions of registered football players and is passionate about football in the summer.
Additional criteria created after the fact. This sort of gerrymandering can only be harmful in the short and longterm.
I don’t see those as additional criteria, never mind gerrymandering. The football fans have never understood or accepted FIFA’s vague selection criteria and opaque voting process. Therefore we have the right to comment before and after the fact, and question FIFA’s motives.
Well it’s interesting how relaxed these “football fans” were before the present uproar. Where was the uproar before especially when you consider that Qatar only succeeded on its second bid?
It was there; however, it was not prominently featured in the local press.
It was not featured in any press as it is today which only bolsters the arguments of those who detect other motivations for the protest whether one agrees with them or not.
I suggest that you spend an afternoon going through old newspapers and blogs – not Persian Gulf ones though. It does make very interesting reading, the disbelief was there from day 1.
Searches and search stats speak for themselves.
Acusing others of racism? Everything I do and say here is governed by my race. The benefits I receive compared to others is based on my race, the service I receive, the entry even into a mall. I was refused medical treatment at West Bay clinic because of my race. Gov HR law says Qatari get 6% pay rise for fair performance, none guaranteed for me because of my race. This whole country is based on a pecking order of race!!!
“Gov HR law…” not race, in that case nationality.
You are entirely correct my boo boo!
Bangladeshi-Americans are slightly lower in the pecking order that blue-eyed Americans
Why go to recent immigrants, what about African Americans who have been there for centuries and still are discriminated against by the “fair” judicial system, employment opportunities, law enforcement, etc., and these are guys of the same nationality.
Dude, I am talking about the pecking order here, in Qatar.
I already made a comment about that pecking order a few seconds ago, and it’s not a Qatar thing, it exists in most developing countries in the world. Blue-eyed Americans are treated different than their non-Caucasian ones all over Asia, Latin America, certain parts of Europe, etc.
This is Doha News, I live in Doha and I am certainly more interested in the pecking order here than, let’s say, Paraguay, Myanmar or Turkmenistan.
The pecking order isn’t one defined by law, and even a very significant number of the expats in Qatar also do adhere to the arrangement of that pecking order, it is not a “Qatar” thing, nor is it in the HR law as you suggested.
You had a fair point until you mixed up nationality with race.
You are entirely correct, my bad. New word of the day nationalism: discrimination against someone based on their nationality…. No wait, I got that wrong again….
Apartheid South Africa had a Sports Boycott imposed against them to help them get over their racist legislation, perhaps something similar could be done to help Qatar.
Name me a piece of racist Qatari legislation..
How can you seriously compare apartheid South Africa to Qatar? Revisionist history of this sort makes victims of everyone and worse; revictimizes those who suffered under apartheid and continue to endure its repercussions.
As an individual who was born here and lived here all my life, sadly to a “lower race” the race issue hurts just as much, i spent my entire childhood wondering why i should be afraid of being too loud or expressing myself in public. I lived in fear. If you havent experienced it you really shouldnt be so bold as to compare.
Still does not warrant revisionist history and what you provide as examples in your comment leads me to believe that you don’t have an understanding of what the “Bantu” experience was in apartheid South Africa. Some things should not be compared as they are well…incomparable.
At least Russia has an International soccer team made up of Russians…Qatar doesn’t even have an International team made up of Qataris… Blatter even told Qatari very recently that they had to add more Qatari’s to their team for the World Cup. As for the corruption, Blatter will be out in less than 6 months.
lets hope so – for the good of footbal – Blatter cant even prioitise the beautiful game over his own ego
So when you have an international team comprised of your nationals that then permits you to engage in corrupt activity? That’s good to know, lol.
Having nationals who can sing the national anthem on your national team at least proves that you are a football nation. Buying mercenary players to defend your national pride suggests that, at least in your collective mind, anything can be bought.
Do you consider Pakistan a football nation? I am pretty sure they have no naturalized players on their roster.
Having nationals on the team is necessary but not sufficient. Employing expats to wash your car is OK, to raise your children – questionable, to defend your national pride – a bit too much.
I would personally rank raise your children as “a bit too much”, and playing for the national team as “questionable”. You don’t think the children speaking your language is more important than the national team speaking it? Come on dude! Shame on you prioritizing national football teams over kids!
Dude, we raised our kids ourselves and they speak our language. Don’t blame me for being so cheap when it comes to raising your children and employing QR 900/month nannies that don’t speak your language, yet spending billions on football.
You think someone who spends billions will hire “QR 900/ month nannies”? Use your brain dude…
Open your eyes and look around, my friend.
Strong claims require strong evidence, which HBJ hasn’t provided. However, the evidence to back up the claims of corruption dribbles out in a constant flow, which I expect to turn into a torrent in about 6 months..
That is why these debates are pointless irrespective of what each side claims and the strength of any evidence provided, nothing really matters until a respected fair and impartial authority acts on it. Otherwise you’re just going around in circles, with one side saying there is substantial evidence of corruption, the other that they are jealous racists.
Ever heard of the Garcia report?
Yeah, and what happened with that?
I would imagine that it went from the FBI to any number of law enforcement agencies around the world who have been reading it for a number of months now. I’m sure we’ll get a hint at the trials.
I knew the answer, my point was that at that time the body that had reviewed it had “acted” on it in a manner they saw fit. With these new investigations we’ll see another body’s conclusion.
Ah, I get lost in the subtleties of rhetoric on occasion.
Old man Sepp did not have the cahoonas to publish the Garcia report in full.
Sepp’s opinion is no longer worth used toilet paper.
Said a random guy on the internet about a man who recently been elected by representatives of the world football association .
Mmmm, I’m curious about the succession rules in FIFA – anyone know what happens when the president can no longer fill the role because he or she is indisposed? I imagine that there are a lot of lawyerly types looking into that as we speak. Sepp may be calm, but I’m sure that they are planning for him not to be able to complete his term.
He has the right to assign successor from one of his direct male relatives, rumor has it he has a nephew who has been groomed for the role, and will be taking reign of FIFA when the time is right.
Ah, a time honoured tradition then. Does he have a spare, just in case his heir has an unseemly sexual interest in the underage, as you know, happens?
Where did that happen?
Where did what happen?
Is it racism killing construction workers in Qatar? I’m sorry the charge is pathetic, it seems to the first defense people jump to to try and shut people up. He threw in islamaphobia as well another one used to shut down debate.
South Africa has admitted paying a 10 mill bribe to FIFA, Bin Hammam was kicked out for illicit payments when he was Qatar’s highest ranking football official, the whole rotten edifice of FIFA is coming down. Qatar never sued the British newspapers that published the allegations. If they are clean you have to ask why they did not. If 100% clean it would be an easy win in the courts of London and newspapers would have to pay damages and an apology
Maybe it’s because I didn’t follow the story back then, but could you elaborate more on South Africa bribing FIFA? Specifically, was there as big a campaign to take away hosting the world cup from South Africa as we see today against Qatar?
Again, I didn’t follow all the issues concerning the hosting of the world cup in South Africa and Brazil, but I do k now that there were issues related to poor people being forced out of their homes so the land can be used to build stadiums.
Additionally, I recall reading that until recently, maybe even to this day, South Africa was still paying back the debts it incurred in order to be able to finance hosting the world cup. This in country that has one of the highest, if not the highest, AIDS rates in the world! How many people have died becasue money that should’ve gone to to pay for AIDS medicine and research went instead to hosting a sporting event?
Same story with Brazil; they have a big problem with poor people, especially street children, and yet they spent money (borrowed most likely) on hosting the world cup?
I recently saw a video on youtube, shared by a “friend”, on the number of workers that have died in the London, Russia, and China Olympics and the South Africa and Brazil World Cups. Then they showed the numbers of Qatar: 1200! Then they said that each game will cost the lives of 62 laborers?!
Oddly enough, they used the “62 laborer per game ratio” for Qatar, which is actually an rough estimate of how many laborers are expected to die working on the world cup! This estimate itself is based on the total number of laborers that have last year or the year before, many of whom didn’t die while working.
I think the South Africa bribes have just recently come to full light. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32952078
Thanks Lisa. I just looked up yesterday, and indeed this story has just came out.
If we are to believe that white western countries don’t like “Arab Islamic small countries” why then did the white western FIFA delegates from Europe, the US and Australia etc all overwhelmingly vote for a Jordanian prince to replace Blatter?
Did they leave their casual racism at home that day?
He said the media was racist. FIFA delegates never discriminate on ethnic background, just on size of bank accounts.
Fair point, but I’ve tried to find one negative (“racist”) media piece about Prince Ali from the UK, the US, or those other “racist” newspapers and journalists and haven’t found anything.
Is it that they are hold racist views, but don’t mind a Jordanian Prince? How does that work?
Racism can be implicit and certain views whether racist or not are interpreted as such and Westerners have a hard time understanding such matters e.g. I have seen over and over in the past few days implications that Asia and Africa voted solely on the basis of dirty money of some kind or the other. Is it possible that the fact that FIFA has built pitches and sports academies in so many developing countries could win Blatter votes? Is it possible that they were swayed by his more ‘Olympic’ vision of football that circulates tournaments to regions outside the West that to date has hosted by far the largest number of World Cups?
Also refer to my response above on the whole Prince Ali and race issue.
I understand your point but the problem is that the way UEFA went about it only succeeded in making Prince Ali appear to be a stooge of the West who once in place would return the favour…
Well anyone who knows Middle Eastern history will know why the “stooge of the West” would be a label he would have in common with his forefathers…
Like every other ruling family in the middle east in one way or another in that regard, aren’t they?
Depends on who you ask.
Exactly…the Hashemite Kingdom has been proud, independent and strong, much like the Trucial States, Oman,(in such a big way) Bahrain and Qatar. That’s my opinion and I’m sticking with it. 😉
Well speaking of UEFA, and the fanciful notion that “If you see how (critics) talk about Russia and how they talk about Qatar … it is all about Qatar” isn’t it UEFA who are trying to drive a boycott against the Russian 2018 event?
How is a proposed pan-European boycott against the Russian event not about Russia?
Pan-European? That is a myth of the media. Is UEFA really speaking as a block on the boycott? Russia and Eastern Europe aside, it is really difficult to overlook the fact that France and Spain voted for Blatter.
True, but UEFA is a block of over 50 countries, of which it is suspected that only 17 or so split and voted to support Blatter. Are they united? No. But a 2/3 vote against Blatter is still significant.
Signficant in what way? Potential boycott? Platini’s threat should have taken effect by now.
For the purposes of the discussion (that the attention on Qatar is driven by racism while Russia is not subject to any scrutiny) it is significant. There is no meaningful talk of a Qatar boycott, but there are countries who are willing to walk away from 2018.
Saying that “no one” is talking about Russia because they are all too busy being all racist and stuff about Qatar is absurd.
Ok but I don’t see how that arises from my comment on Prince Ali and the West.
Except there is meaningful talk, at least in the US press, of the cancellation of 2022. Most agree that 2018 is too close and folks will just have to hold their noses and deal with. There is lots of time to get a replacement for Qatar.
Since when did the US press call the shots on the World Cup? Besides, cancelling 2022 is not simply a matter of drawing a line across the name “Qatar.” There is the financial aspect (the country has already invested millions on the games) and the political angle (first WC of the Middle East and all those countries supporting it).
I at no point said that it was a decision of the US press, but that it is being talked about in a serious manner as a realistic option. Lets be honest, it is a realistic option that needs to be considered by all concerned.
It is only serious to those who are out of touch with opinion at a global level.
Global level? There would be few tears globally in FIFA died, the slate were wiped clean on WC bidding, and a new grassroots organization replaced it.
No matter how hard you try you cannot wish away the support Blatter got at the last election.
All true, but at the end of the day Qatar isn’t in control. If sponsors and FIFA decide that Qatar 2022 is too much of burden they won’t really care how much money has been spent.
Show me a sponsor who does not care about the market in the Middle East, Asia and Africa and I’ll show you a liar.
The fans and the sponsors alike want to watch Spain, Brasil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and perhaps England (he-he-he) play. Nobody gives a rat’s behind about Tajikistan playing Madagascar.
Spain and France voted for Blatter and Germany has made it clear that it will not support WC boycott.
The Hancock insurance company during the run-up to the 2002 olympics is a good example of a possible path. They were a major sponsor that went toe to toe with the IOC and told them to straighten up their act or they were gone – this caused reform from within. They were an example of a company willing to lose money rather than have their name associated with the IOC. I daresay that there are many companies having the same conversation about the WC and 2018 and 2022. It is very simple, ‘Is our image and brand damaged more by being associated with FIFA, Russia and Qatar, or by pulling out’?
Those are assumptions from the US press, not “meaningful talk”, the only meaningful talk will be from those who can ultimately determine where the games will be held…
Yep, either a rump FIFA, or whatever has replaced it.
FIFA still exists and last time I checked, even UEFA was still part of it.
That’s the nice thing about prognostication, its relationship to the current state of affairs is fluid.
Destroying FIFA is not as easy as you think because most federations, including some in Europe believe in reforming it from within.
I think UEFA have a meeting friday……..
this is what Platini said who is head of UEFA so I would say yes
Well even Germany who voted against Blatter has made its unease with boycotts known.
Possibly the worst argument on this page.
oh get a grip – what a pityful disclosure that is ! trying to declare a race card, in a nation which is itself racist and discrimiatory ! This is self-harming on a national scale
So your accusing a whole nation of being racist?
open your eyes and look around you – the evidence is there for all to see
As opposed to opening your eyes and looking around you as a minority in the Utopian West? Your argument about the entire country being racist is still problematic.
You realize that you are comparing one country with a miniscule population to a whole range of other undefined countries? Not a meaningful comparison at all. Why don’t you limit it to an apples to apples comparison? There are countries that are extremely progresive on the race relations front, and then others that are the ‘Western’ equivalent of disaster areas such as Yemen.
Reason is all that’s necessary to understand the point.
keep digging your own hole. I would offer you a spade, but you already seem to have a JCB !
I do believe race had a lot to do with it. Many of the media outlets are charged and motivated by the fact a small Arab country like Qatar will host while the U.S. and England won’t.
If there’s concern on human right, which is justified, then is there no concern about human rights of those invaded by Russia?
I’ll say this. Abuse of the workforce in Qatar is real and a 30 minute drive any direction is enough proof of it. Denying it won’t make the problem go away, fixing it will.
However the problem does not start and end with the Qatari govt. it starts from the “recruitment agent” who charges poor families $500 which they can’t offered for a work visa. The $500 is usually on loan against the families home, farm or even cattle. The abuse continues in charging the individual all the fees from medical checks to visa application fees, while the employer in Qatar is also charged. The abuse continues in Doha where company Arab manager and foremen from the same nationality stick them 6 a room with pay hardly enough to buy food. It continues with the Qatari company owner who chooses the comfort of his majles and a steady monthly check from the company manager in exchange for keeping his nose out and making the wasta is there when needed. It also falls on the govt for doing to little to late and no more focused with what the global media thinks instead of taking decisive actions and ensuring those who continue the abuse are dealt with. This also means quick legislation to phase out NOC and kafala systems. It also falls on all of us as we choose to be internet brigadiers of human rights but hardly bother doing anything in real life. The 5 rial tip you give the bag boy does lead to anything other than the 3 minutes self satisfaction you get out of it…
And on racism .. In tired of hearing western white men tell me what is and isn’t racist or bigoted … Unless you’ve been systematically on the receiving end of it then please don’t lecture us just as you wouldn’t stand in and start lecturing us about feminism…
Living, studying and working in western countries as a much disliked minority’s one develops a good sense of bigotry and racism .. And they’re undertones…
Is the attack on Qatar driven by islamphobia or racism .. No .. Not all of it.. But to outright deny some attacks are not driven by it is stupid
And I’m tired of hearing Asians tell me that I can’t have an opinion on the topic. Having spent many decades on the receiving end of systemic racism in Asia I am well versed to have a meaningful opinion. Living, working, studying and marrying into Asian countries one gets a good sense of bigotry and racism, and their undertones. I am equally tired of the idea that racism is purely, or even majorly, a Caucasian issue.
Well, it is.
Come with me to China. You will meet racism that will take you to another level and make the protections and discussion in much of Europe look utopian.
You think as a White guy in China you had it bad? Then I wonder what a Black guy would feel over there…lol.
Face it dude, as a white guy you can go pretty much anywhere in the world and if you experience racism it would be in its “lightest” form compared to what other ethnic groups would experience. Only time being White would be “worse” than other races is when terrorists seek to kidnap/kill you, as they too target white because they see them as more “valued” than other ethnic groups of the same nationality.
Black guys had it worse, indeed. The hierarchy goes Chinese, other Asian, Arab/Hispanic, Black. Yes, being caucasian with the likes of Abu Sayef wouldn’t be fun. At the end of the day it is all academic though as we are all just barbarians.
Except for when it isn’t.
Only white people can be racist, only men can be sexist and only Muslims suffer persecution. Didn’t you get the memo?
I’d gotten the persecution and sexism memo, but I’d missed the racism one. I was at a Human Rights Watch meeting that day.
I went to a conference in Doha a number of years ago when it was still called Q-Tel and a Indian lady made a very nice presentation on employee engagement until she got to the last slide which stated. It has been proven that Asian employees are more motivated and dedicated than their white counterparts and therefore more productive. Of course I then had to ask a question and suggested to her that if you flipped that the other way don’t you think that would be considered racist? Her response was she was only telling the ‘facts’ lol
Facts are dangerous things – there was a researcher at who QU did an internal study and one of the secondary results was data that showed that the North American staff of a certain department were more culturally sensitive and aware than their Arab counterparts. He made no sweeping claims, just reported the data as measured on one assessment, in one department, one time. He is no longer in the country.
I think that the ulterior motives for the campaign against Qatar are anti-nouveau-riche first, Islamophobia second, racism third.
I don’t think it is any of those, it’s FIFA corruption robbed the other bidding countries of a fair chance. They spent millions bidding for a WC when the game had already been rigged in advance.
I also think since the “award” it has highlighted the abuse of employer power and the above average death toll among migrant workers. This has focused NGOs and human rights organisations who can use the publicity of the WC to pursue what they see as justice.
There are certainly financial irregularities in FIFA that should be fixed even if people may disagree on their nature and personally I think the resulting pressure from 2022 holds more potential for labour reform in Qatar than one could achieve around the office water cooler but to say that none of those 3 factors (Islamophobia etc.) have played a role of any kind in the resulting uproar is to ignore something that is also real.
Are individuals in the west racist, anti Arab and dislike Islam. Yep, that is certainly true. However the investigations run by the British media are not fueled by those prejudices. Bin Hamman is Arab, Muslim and a little bit dark and was hammered in the world media especially the west but he was also at the center of a huge amount of corruption. So much so even FIFA banned him! Let’s not forget some of these people are guilty and will use any trick to deflect attention.
Since when did Qataris become a race? This is not the Arab WC, it may be Qatar’s. And, as many of the commentators on here have pointed out, discrimination a la Qatar style is not an issue as it is nationality based, not race based.
Racism is used in the loosest of terms, meaning bias and prejudice.
The confusion is caused by the fact that we have a word in Arabic (عنصرية) used to cover everything from misogyny to discriminating against people based on what country their from to what school they graduated from.
Presumably a man of HBJ”s sophistication knows the fine distinction between discrimination, racism, bias, and prejudice and knows which word to choose. The fact that he chose racism when there are more accurate and less inflamatory choices is baffling
“Presumably”, and there’s your answer!
Agreed. However, to deny that much of the shouting of racism by Al-Thani and the others is not driven by denial and lack of critical self-reflection is equally stupid, n’est pas?
Agreed on main points. I just think there is a “weariness” about how the term “racism” is used so often when it’s probably not the real issue. “Prejudice” and “bigotry” are terms I tend to use unless clear racism or Islamophobia are indicated.
There were many human rights issues concerning hosting the world cup in both Brazil and South Africa; yet, I don’t recall any massive campaigns against either country!
FDI of the West is high in both of these countries. It’s relatively low in Russia and Qatar. It’s all about the money.
One thing I think that Qataris – and Gulf Arabs in general – never fully seemed to understand is the anti-rich bias in the West. The wealth of the Gulf states is the result of winning the natural resource lottery; no hard work or smarts went into the vast sovereign wealth funds that pad the lifestyles of the people in the region. In the West, where the ideal is hard work = wealth, this situation is regarded with a great deal of contempt. When Qatar appeared to bribe (I’m very intentionally using the word “appeared” until a judicial authority somewhere says otherwise), the backlash was, I think, emotionally centered in that feeling: Qatar had just gotten lucky to have natural gas and had never truly earned its wealth in the Western sense. Therefore, Qatar didn’t deserve to host the World Cup, or be regarded as an equal to Western countries, until it had proved it could do more than just sell natural gas.
You see this anti-rich bias in the way we often bash, mock, and harass some celebrities in the West; they are also viewed as rich who haven’t really earned their money, merely gotten sacks of cash for being good looking or being able to market their bodies effectively.
Russia, conversely, doesn’t get quite the same attention because people still associate it with hardship and poverty, traits that engender sympathy rather than contempt. When people bash Russia, they tend to bash Putin, leaving the hard-up Russian people out of it. When people bash Qatar, there’s a “Poor little rich kid” attitude about the entire citizenry, with Westerners feeling they can be harder on Qatar and Qataris because they have money.
Exactlllllllllly ! You’ve just explained everything right there. I also think the obvious hatred from expats who making a living in Qatar is because of the anti-rich bias like you named it. You can see it here on DN. Thanks Mr. B, this is the post of the year.
Seriously? That’s a whole new level of naive. I don’t even want to argue. With this sort of mentalit, there is no point.
actually he couldn’t be any more right
I wouldn’t mind a reply, even a hostile one, if it addressed a point.
I think you’re the naive one here…
Perfectly said. Your analysis is bang on target.
I must correct you; some have money. Loads of Qatari’s in our company make QAR 10,000 to 15,000 and they are not rich.
All nations have relative rich and relative poor, but it’s hard to argue that Qataris are not rich in a global sense. When your GDP per capita is $93,000 or so, you’re doing quite well.
Naturally, there are some Qataris who don’t come anywhere near that, but they nevertheless have access to a very wealthy state system that can cover their bases (housing, staple foods, other forms of welfare) in ways that other people only dream of.
i’m so angry at you because i could not have said it any better… well done… i remember it was oct or nov 2011 when it was announced qatari basic salary would be increased by 60%… you could feel the tension in the office next day.. expats who were making twice to three times as much as we did, let alone the free housing.. were so ticked off!
I think there is a bit of a myth regarding expats salaries. I worked in the government in an institution with over a thousand employees half of them Qataris. Apart from the CEO and other expat board members, nobody was paid better than a Qatari in the same position or with the same title. The 60% increase made it even more unlikely that an expat can earn more than a local in the same position. Now I am in the private and the same thing applies. All Qataris are paid better than their expat peers in the same position. I think this myth created by some locals is used to fuel hatred against expats and put pressure on local managers to satisfy the financial requests of the locals.
Not sure where you work but that was the case with western expats in the oil and gas industry
I’m not in O&G, and am privy to all salaries. There is no expat of any nationality that has a salary that is even 70% of the most poorly experienced and credentialed Qatari.
Ok may be because QP and RasGas do not follow the 2009 HR Law. Any company that falls under that law cannot have an expat paid more than a Qatari in the same position.
I haven’t seen the HR law, but are you sure of this?
You can see from page 1 that it does not apply to QP (among other bodies)
Perhaps as Oil and gas is a dangerous industry requiring skilled workers, someone who’s been working in the field for decades and who is certified up the wazoo should be compensated better than a token body, fresh out of school with a masters in Islamic Poetry, who’s job is basically keeping a chair warm to fill a quota?
Yawn… But didn’t know you can get a degree in Islamic poetry… I’ll still give you an up vote for effort
I understand.A lot of that was that expats were thinking that Qatari’s salaries were comparable to their and so a 60% increase was huge.
I’m assuming you mean Western expats as we all know that passport determines salary 🙂
On another note, Al-Thanis have done a good job keeping political participation at bay by keeping citizens happy with their lifestyle. I have no problem with that, but do take umbrage when the GoQ involves itself in the politics of Arab Spring countries, either through funding, foreign policy or its powerful media tool.
And yet, that anti-rich bias in the West doesn’t seem to stop many people from electing the likes G.W. Bush, or voting for someone like Mitt Romney who owes most of his wealth to stock investments and bonds.
Conversely, Russia has a lot of wealthy people who didn’t gain their wealth via honest hard work. I find it hard to believe that there are that many people in the Western media who are not aware of that.
Many in the West were glad when Bushes term was over.Unfortunately politics provides many opportunities and allow politicians to exist and continue. I consider Sepp Blatter a misuser of power if he oversaw corruption-he can’t say he did not know.And I am not looking for taking the next two WC’s away- in fact I think they should remain.I just think the FIFA organization needs fixing.There is some truth to what HBJ says-some hatred is racially fuelled.For others it is simply how FIFA worked and it is the timing and allegations coming to light that fuels the criticism. FIFA is the problem, for me the rest is conspiracy theory.
Bais by its nature is imperfect; hypocrisy always abounds. (“I hate them Mexicans comin’ in and changin’ our country,” he said while finishing a burrito).
Do remember the imperfect knowledge most people have of Russia. To get the clicks necessary for an article, it’s important to hone in on Putin to gain traction; in the West, bashing Russians as a people comes off as Cold War passé at best, deeply unsympathetic of a relatively poor people at worst.
Qatar, meanwhile, has suddenly, and with little warning, bought up large chunks of cities like London and New York City, engendering resentment at both its sudden (and comparatively unearned) success as well as the rapaciousness of its purchases. No images have ever emerged in modern times of starving or war-torn Qatar, only a new money spending spree of gaudy tastes. Notice that Kuwait, with its lower profile but still vast wealth, doesn’t quite get the same treatment; the occupation of Kuwait by Iraq has permanently lumped Kuwait into the category of international victim rather than upstart natural resource lottery winner.
The UAE gets this too, but Qatar has been taking a lot of its flack lately (and a lot of people can’t tell the difference between the two). Remember back in 2009, when Dubai nearly went bankrupt? The headlines did jeer, and not because so much that it was an Arab state, but a rich state that lived beyond its means getting the comeuppance so many Westerners wished would happen to many of their own rich.
I will agree with you that the international behaviour of some Qataris leads to a very unfair tarring of the whole nation. That being said, if I were a Qatari in London or Bangkok, I would be quite uncomfortable with the behaviour of some of my countrymen, given how small the population is. I would be even more uncomfortable with those like Al-Baker who have become the defacto face of Qatar.
He’s not the face of Qatar, you made him the face of Qatar. For all the negativity I have heard from people abroad in many different countries regarding Qatar, and there is a lot of criticism, not once has anyone mentioned him to me, only DN commentators seem to believe he represents Qataris, but then again, they usually find anything negative in Doha as a representation of us, so…
Yeah, I haven’t made him anything. I have been asked by a number of people who he is – they thought that he was some sort of minister.
They mistake him for a minister when his title is “CEO” of Qatar Airways? LOL! Ok, I think the problem lies with their reading skills…
Indeed, a bit of attention and reading of the crawler on the screen would go a long way. That’s true for most people seems to me.
What the “west” often forgets is that it too made its wealth off of resources – notably – exploiting the resources and labor in its empire. The treatment of colonial subjects/laborers, sadly, has often been replicated in many of these former imperial colonies. Before the “West” gets righteous about its supposed hard work = wealth – they might want to investigate their own recent history of exploitation. In fact – much of the legacy of empire includes the kinds of racism we see exhibited today towards Arabs/Africans/etc. etc. etc.
Sure, but the point of my post wasn’t that the West was right, only that the prime minster was inaccurate in assuming that racism has fueled all this anti-Qatar talk. I don’t see it as bashing Arabs; it’s bashing rich people.
Tedious, simplistic reasoning from HBJ……although perfect for Fox news regulars to grasp. Here is an instructive article as to why the Qatar bid stank…….
Also, Russia isn’t 45C in summer, already has some decent stadia,infrastructure and doesn’t treat most (Central Asians excepted) of its workforce so abominably the last time I checked……….so the comparison is pointless.
I couldn’t read beyond paragraph 3; ridiculous and stinks.
The bid or the article? You couldn’t read past P3 because you’re so angry about the bid or because you’re in denial about the contents of the article?
Author has little knowledge of Qatar let alone the WC issue.
….but you offer nothing to undermine his main argument?
No need as it is obvious (paragraph 3 being the hint) but in case a pointer is needed, al Lalal has highlighted an example in response to your comment.
Nice try, but that’s just P3 again…….what about the MAIN point of the article? You’re amateurly ignoring it. That Qatar was never thought of as anywhere near suitable, until the brown envelopes started flowing………and has rescinded or ignored initial promises for infrastructure development. AND…see below, have found a couple of real life examples of lashings for your enjoyment.
Already dealt with that in my comments. Refer above to comment on FIFA’s work under Blatter.
“Lashings for crimes such as adultery or consuming alcohol are common, while for Muslims homosexuality is punishable by death”. Sorry, this is cheap journalistic sensationalism.
I agree, that didn’t sit especially well, even if those punishments are theoretically possible via sharia, but aside from that, what about the main thrust of the article? It’s fairly damning I would suggest…….
I withdraw this…….a quick search easily found examples for lashing for what you claimed as sensational……only hard to find one for homosexuality, but it’s still on the books.
I don’t know where you are from, but I am sure that if you search long and hard you will find examples of murder, rape, vandalism, child molestation, racism and many other crimes in your country. That doesn’t mean that murder and rape is common in your country. Inferring that it is would be sensationalism.
OK, the word ‘common’ is the mistake, I can accept that, but it is correct to highlight the nature of the punishments (archaic and barbaric) as well as the kind of ‘crimes’ that they potentially can be a consequence of…….astonishingly, ‘giving birth’ in one of the examples above.
Well, by the same token, America’s electric chair is archaic and barbaric. Does that mean that America is an archaic, barbaric country? I don’t think so.
No state still uses the electric chair as its primary method of execution. Some might argue that barbarism is alive and well in the US, but that’s for a different day…….!
she wasn’t punished for giving birth, but for adultery. And this story is from 2006. So it must not be that common. On the other hand, caning is done frequently in countries like Singapore and Malaysia, and for lesser crimes. Stop being so negative.
Oh, that’s ok then! You’re sounding dangerously like an apologist for that kind of punishment, as you are that adultery should still be a crime……..
Adultery is still a crime in many countries and cultures.
So what? Most forward-thinking people would agree that it shouldn’t be illegal. Not in developed, industrialized countries it isn’t, nowhere in W. Europe, for example……although the US is the exception. It’s illegal in 21 US states, although you’d be very unlucky to be actually prosecuted for it these days.
Well here’s one based in recent reality……….
Oh, and lookie here…..(nationality withheld…hmmmm)
Why should the US oust this Syrian dictator? This is your regional problem not ours. See what happens now, the whole area is once again the stinking armpit of the world.
Then they should leave ISIS alone, and should have left Saddam alone,etc. You don’t get to pick when to step in and step out. This isn’t a game of poker.
Haha I like your comment. Very true. They only intervene when they know it will create a mess, but when they feel the outcome can be positive they prefer to step back. They prosper on the destruction of countries and people.
Yes getting rid of Assad will make everything rosey. Are you all daft? Like Saddam Hussein, Mubarak, Ghaddafi, etc Assad was the only thing keeping his country in check. Sometimes ignorance is not ready for democracy.
Let the arab countries solve their own problems; let’s see the result.
It is interesting to hear him talk about dictatorships in the Middle East.
To all those who are criticizing HBJ for what he said, what are you expecting him to say? He is a politician and a diplomat and he has to speak cautiously about this kind of topics as he represents Qatar. The argument that “they hate us because they are racist and we are Arabs and Muslims, and because they are bad losers and cannot still accept their defeat in the WC2022 vote” is the official argument of Qatar. He is not the only one to say it and you can find it in the press releases of the WC2022 organizing committee and other official organs. Whether this is true or not is up for debate. In my opinion there is a bit of racism in the ongoing negative reactions to Qatar’s bid, but I think that as long as Qatar has a poor human rights record even the moderate non racist people will side against it. So eventually it is Qatar that has to change first before expecting others to change their opinion about it. Unfortunately so far the change pace has been so slow and hardly noticeable.
A very cogent argument – he is part of the machine and has to at least pay lip service to the party line. You could add to this Qatar’s absolutely abysmal communications and PR.
There are things you cannot hide with a bit of PR and communication. As long as the sponsorship system is the same and labourers are being abused and paid peanuts you will always get bad press. Unfortunately the issue is becoming more and more pressing and the negative image of Qatar in the West is now established I am afraid. It would take time and swift action to change that, but it is not the case for now.
Not only the ‘West’, much of Asia is of the same mindset. Regardless, it just reinforces your argument. Still, there is so much that could be done, and it isn’t being done. It just baffles the mind.
Actually they should all just STFU. If you have proof of no misdeeds then sue the newspaper that reported it and come out swinging. Claiming racism, islamophobia, etc reeks of desperation and just playing on muslim hot points.
Mr B you are so wrong, and wrong because you don’t understand how deeply football is lodged in the souls of the fans of the western world. It grew up over 100 years ago as one of the few affordable releases from the hard working lives of the ordinary people, and it gave them heroes, someone not too different from them who played for the town they were born in. That’s how it stayed for a long time, and that passion for the game was passed on from father to son. Then it was transformed by television money, and suddenly the weekly salary of a footballer equated to the annual salary of the fans who were having to pay an ever increasing amount of money to watch them, and the gulf between footballer and fan became the chasm is today. Football was no longer a sport but an investment proposition, to be milked by anyone with enough money to jump on the bandwagon – the Gulf states being prime examples of owners of European clubs. The soul of the sport was trampled on, and the worst protagonist of it’s exploitation is FIFA – as football grew at the cost of the very fans it was supposed to serve the men who are supposed to be the guardians became millionaires, and took decisions that made no logical sense – like giving a summer World Cup to a land with 50 degree heat, a culture that is alien to the vast majority of the true fans, and where no infrastructure is to be provided at a level that the ordinary fan could sensibly afford. We are not jealous of the rich in Qatar, we are ANGRY at the rich in Zurich because they got rich at our expense whilst at the same time selling our beautiful game down the river.
I’m disappointed that both you and Mr. B are comfortable lumping so many countries with so many different povs together into an undefined ‘West’.
You may be angry at the rich in Zurich, but don’t kid yourself about no expat jealousy towards Qataris…
And of course according to a host of Gulf States, ISIS is all the West’s fault for not intervening to decisively sorting out the centuries old Sunni/Shia problem. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Please…….. .