By Souad Sbai
“We are prisoners of Qatar”: this is how the Nepalese workers interviewed by the reporters working for the German radio station WDR sent their cry of alarm to the international community because of the conditions of slavery reserved for them by the Doha regime and because the blood and the suffering of foreign labor, especially from Asia, is building the stadiums and facilities that will host the 2022 World Cup.
A World Cup that is announced as a tragedy and certainly not as a sports festival. In fact, it is already a tragedy and everyone is aware of it. For the first time, FIFA also admitted – after being cornered by the documentary video produced by WDR, it could no longer ignore the issue – and recognized in a press release the violations of workers’ rights committed, in particular, by the company Tawasol.
The hidden camera used by WDR journalists collects chilling testimonies at construction sites: small rooms where even 8 people sleep, inhuman hygienic conditions and garbage everywhere. The bravest Nepalese, far from their employers’ eyes, talk about the nightmare they are living: the bread and water that constitute their daily food, the harassment and violence suffered in the workplace, unpaid wages for 8 months, the money they cannot send to their families, the confiscated passports, the impossibility to return home to embrace their loved ones and the impossibility of being able to call their families.
The Nepalese authorities count the number of deaths: from 2009 to 2019 there were 1,426; among these there were 522 heart attack deaths. Those who remain are prisoners, prisoners of Qatar. What country, what organization will move a finger to free them?
FIFA is the main responsible for this mess, for which substantial bribes were paid and this has been demonstrated by journalistic and judicial investigations. And the United Nations is also responsible, that continues to act as if nothing happened despite having paradoxically established one of the headquarters of the International Labor Organization in Doha, invited by Emirs Al Thani, as part of a multimillion-dollar cooperation agreement that has served to fill the coffers of the Crystal Palace in New York.
This explains everything, the substantial connivance showed by FIFA and United Nations, but also by the member States, whose governments have never requested to revoke the allocation of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, with the exception of the countries that make up the Anti-terrorism Arab Quartet (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt), that proposed moving the competition to Indonesia.
No significant reactions have emerged from the world of sports or from the world of football. Riku Riski’s conscientious objection, the Finnish footballer who refused to go out to the field in Doha with his national team, is a laudable exception that none of his colleagues in Europe has followed up to now.
Is the research carried out by WDR a watershed that will change the course of events? It would be really convenient, but it is naive to think that it can really happen. Following its modus operandi, Qatar holds a large part of the international community. The emirs of Doha are well aware that in order to continue with their policies of financing Muslim Brotherhood’s extremism, of destabilizing the Middle East together with Erdogan’s Turkey and Khomeinist Iran and of contempt for human rights, as in the In the case of foreign workers, they must be able to rely on Infantino and Guterres, on some Heads of State and on the political leaders who are beneficiaries of the “Qatar-System”.
Everyone is silent and everyone consents; everything contributes to the tragedy of the World Cup of human rights violations.
L’Opinione della Libertà