No diplomatic boycott is being organized despite Qatar’s tough LGBTQ laws and alleged worker abuses. Compare and contrast this with the West’s treatment of China.
By Timur Fomenkopolitical analyst
The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is approaching. The event is controversial for many reasons, including a backlash from Western sports teams over the issue of human rights in the Arab country.
Qatar is an extremely conservative religious society. It has tough laws regarding LGBTQ people, but even that aside the decision to host the tournament in a country so small, so hot and lacking any football tradition, has always been controversial, with FIFA being accused of corruption .
These bizarre circumstances have led to the country scrambling to build football infrastructure in a short period of time, which has also seen them accused of using forced labor to build their World Cup stadiums. Some sources claim that up to 6,500 workers have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup, and it is believed that many of them were working on the construction of the facilities.
So is it any wonder that Western audiences disapprove of it? But it must be noted that the vocal disapproval comes from the base and the teams themselves, not from the governments. The same Western governments that staged diplomatic boycotts of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing don’t seem to have a problem with Qatar. The public wants a boycott, but politicians don’t.
Where is the whole position on the issue of key British MPs, such as Iain Duncan Smith? Or prominent American political figures, such as Nancy Pelosi? The same people who cried ‘genocide’ in China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region and demanded a boycott don’t seem to care about Qatar.
It’s as if their principles aren’t applied consistently, or perhaps more accurately, as if these people never really cared about human rights in the first place. For them, it has always been a political game, and their indifference to a much more controversial event in Qatar shines through. But why?
The wealthy Arab nation of Qatar is a strategic partner of the West and a massive exporter of natural gas. Western countries have been scrambling to strike new deals with the state amid the conflict in Ukraine as an alternative to Russia.
Independent from the British Empire since 1971, Qatar’s massive prosperity is the product of long-term patronage by the West, which sees it as a key partner in containing Iran. Little Qatar then supports Western strategic interests throughout the Middle East, serving a similar purpose in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. They sell energy to the West, the West sells them weapons, which are then used to enforce the West’s vision for the region.
All of this means Qatar gets a human rights pass. In the eyes of Western governments, it is good that Qatar has a very zealous interpretation of Islamic law, mistreats migrant workers and hates homosexuals, because they are a partner.
But the same criteria do not apply to China. While Qatar is a partner, China is seen as the biggest challenger to the US-led political order, a geopolitical rival. As a result, “human rights” are weaponized against China and Olympic boycotts have been staged in an effort to humiliate Beijing and strip it of all political glory from the event.
It should also be noted that the anger against China has been generated “top down” by governments seeking to manufacture consent for a boycott, while the anger against Qatar is “bottom up”, stemming from of individuals and sports personalities, but ignored by their respective governments.
There will be no sanctions or penalties against Doha. Likewise, the US government does not fund or target any dissident groups against the Qatari government, nor does it have an army of think tanks and other “experts” dedicated to producing “studies”. against the country and lobbying against it on social media. media all day either. Why doesn’t the US ban all Qatari products allegedly “made by forced labor” like it did in Xinjiang?
It only shows, in real time, how the human rights “industry” is used and coordinated in accordance with geopolitical agendas. Those who criticize Qatar find themselves alone, without resources and without a media campaign that manufactures indignation. Therefore, the biggest lesson to be learned is that “human rights” are only a game, a tool and a weapon used by Western countries to justify and legitimize the imposition of their will on others. other countries. The norms that the West claims to uphold are in fact applied inconsistently, opportunistically and selectively. Otherwise, they are perfectly happy to be silent. Qatar good, China bad.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.