• Instead of scrutinising differences, we need to focus things that bring us together
Since Qatar, a Middle Eastern country, an Arab country and a predominately Muslim country, was named as the 2022 FIFA World Cup host, there has been propaganda streaming in from the West.
Western media spent years, and especially the last few years, smearing the country as a human rights violator, citing that the country has poor working conditions for the labourers employed for the construction of the stadiums.
Among the loudest criticism from the West about the country’s conservative culture and its stance against homosexuality. Like many other countries in the East and Africa, Qatar’s laws prohibit homosexuality. The western media’s cheap antics of trying to antagonise the Qataris while spreading falsehoods about the country (with subsequent effects on race and religion) caused a global outrage that was a threat to the success of the event.
Finally, having had more than enough of the negativity, Fifa president Gianni Infantino went on live television before the opening ceremony to condemn the wanton attacks from the West. His speech was cheered by many who have had enough of Western cultural imperialism. He supported Qatar’s efforts wholly and condemned those who sought to give the country a bad name simply for not sharing the same values.
“What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologising for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons,” he said.
I was in awe that a European man wholly condemned the West’s imposition on other cultures to align with their ideals in what many consider to be modern-day colonialism. Think about it, most of the things we consume are Western. From food, music, entertainment…
America is perhaps the world’s largest exporter of Western culture, from Hollywood films to the Billboard charts and fast food chains, America has managed to gather a large consumer base outside of America. Hollywood films play in every theatre across the world, McDonalds fast food restaurant can be found even in the narrow alleys of India and the dollar is the most valued currency in the world.
Of course, some people, especially the younger generations, have adopted a more Western approach to life. Through no fault of their own, they have been exposed to the Western cultures since birth. The technology that has made the world a ‘global village’ has simply made faster and more direct ways for the rest of the world to consume more of their content.
The imposed cultural consumerism has managed to make the West believe that their superiority is the benchmark for progress. That their modern approaches will liberate us from our ‘primitive cultures’. They campaign the dangerous rhetoric that their ideals are the righteous approach.
I remember Christian Amanpour smugly asking President William Ruto about gay rights in Kenya and him shutting her down, saying that we did not need Americans telling us what our problems in our society are, we determine what is the problem and we will address the issue when we, as a people, feel it is time.
The reason people travel to different parts of the world is to experience something new, to open their eyes to other cultures and ways of life. We are all unique in this aspect. Even America with its fast foods and sugary drinks offers a new perspective to a tourist. There is no need for the West to push their agendas to countries that choose a different way of life.
Instead of scrutinising each other over our differences, we need to focus on the things that bring us together. Football is perhaps the most unifying sport in the world. The Fifa World Cup is the most awaited championship under the sun. Different countries displaying their talent in the field, the fans cheering in the stands, millions of supporters across the world… This is what football is about!