My latest is up at PJ Media and its about the awarding of the World Cup hosting nation to Qatar - a socially backward autocracy.
There are the usual issues that you find in any Arab country with virulent anti-Semitism, polygamy, and an attitude toward women that fits right in with the emirate’s 14th century mode of governance. There is no elected legislature. The people are subjects, beholden to the capricious whims of a potentate with three wives and 24 children. There is a “Municipal Council” where some members are elected, but the reality is that all power is in the hands of the amir, a nice enough fellow who is apparently considered a “progressive” in the Arab world but is still an autocrat.
What really beggars belief is that FIFA failed to take into account two crucial factors in their decision: the climate and Qatar as a tourist destination for Westerners.
As for the latter, just what is there to do in Qatar? This is from the official tourist site:
Tourists can explore the natural environment of Qatar by taking an exciting desert safari, relaxing at the many beaches and pools or just enjoying their favourite sport, be it bowling alleys, tennis, snookers, billiards, golf courses, or ice skating rinks. There is something for everyone in this wonderful place.
All kidding aside, this was a horrible choice by FIFA, the world governing body of soccer and one of the most corrupt international organizations on the planet:
Why sacrifice whatever high ideals are connected with the World Cup — and there are precious few that haven’t been sullied by FIFA — by holding the tournament in a socially backward autocracy that winks at terrorists and terror financing while allowing nauseatingly hateful bigotry directed against Jews?
No doubt the British football hooligans are salivating at the thought of starting poolside fights or breaking up a bowling alley or two. There are good restaurants but alas, no drinking allowed except in exclusive hotels and clubs.
In fact, Qatar would do well to vastly expand the number of venues allowed to serve alcohol, or come 2022, soccer fans will be rioting because they won’t be able to get a beer or three. It’s going to be like tailgating at a football game where brats are outlawed. Americans wouldn’t sit still for that, and I doubt the boisterous Euro-football fanatics will be satisfied with citrus juice or iced tea.
It’s the money. Qatar has promised to spend $100 billion on infrastructure improvements - enough to whet the appetite of the dozens of giant corporations who have a very close relationship with FIFA. And in a country where the amir and his family control everything, awarding them the opportunity to host the biggest sports event in the world no doubt gets FIFA on the royal family’s good side.