Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

(Illustration: Eliot Faine/The Citizen)
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Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • February 28, 2024

    The Beautiful Game turns ugly in the Qatari deserts

    I’ve never really trusted anything labeled “supreme” (unless immediately followed by the word “pizza”), and the “Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee” is no exception.

    Charged with oversight and coordination of Qatar’s ongoing World Cup project, the committee is ultimately responsible for what The Guardian newspaper has recently called “slave labor” working conditions.

    In reports revealed by several of the paper’s correspondents, a host of labor violations has been unearthed, not least of which is the death of at least 44 migrant workers toiling in forced labor conditions.

    The workers, primarily from Nepal, are recruited by less than reputable agencies and then forced to pay their own passage to Qatar. If they are unable to do so, they must work off the debt incurred for their transportation. Essentially, the system amounts to modern-day indentured servitude.

    Workers have complained of being forced to work 12-hour shifts in 120-degree heat without water, only to be refused food at the end of shifts. In addition, pay has been withheld under the auspice of keeping workers from fleeing.

    The Guardian also reports revocation of migrant workers’ passports in an effort to keep them on job sites. And, in another remarkable turn, Qatari authorities have seen fit to arrest a German film crew investigating their worksites.

    It really shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering the inauspicious manner in which the Qataris won their bid in the first place. Sepp Blatter, president of world soccer’s governing body FIFA, admitted as much to German publication Die Zeit.

    “Yes, definitely there was direct political influence(s). European leaders recommended to their voting members to vote for Qatar, because they have great economic interests with this country,” Blatter said.

    Basically, the Qataris, in conjunction with powerful European business and political interests, finagled their way into hosting the world’s largest sporting event and are now employing slave labor to complete related construction projects.

    For their own parts, the Supreme Committee and the Qatari government are claiming no knowledge of the working conditions, but have promised a full and thorough investigation. I seem to recall a cliché about a fox investigating a chicken coop.

    It’s a shame as well. The workers, and indeed the game of soccer deserve better. If Blatter has any semblance of rational humanity about him, he will revoke the Qatari’s bid and award it to some country, any country, which has at least a vague notion of human rights.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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