Yes, Qatar is a human rights hellhole

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is upset that you’re upset about human rights abuses in Qatar. The World Cup is about to open in this small Arab sheikdom, and the FIFA president wants people to stop kvetching about what a bad place Qatar is. 

Infantino even resorted to classic whataboutism at a recent press conference: “What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons.”

The difference, of course, is that western nations constantly flagellate themselves over their long-ago sins, both real and imagined. Self-reflection, as a cultural practice, has yet to reach the Muslim Middle East in any big way.

I don’t follow professional soccer, but I’m aware of the World Cup taking place in Qatar. I’ve also noted all the hand-wringing news articles about human rights abuses there.

Qatar is a medieval country with oil money, where women are second-class citizens, it’s open season on all shades of LGBTQ, and the Quran is the literal law of the land. 

Oh, and Qatar also mistreats its migrant workers, most of whom are worthless infidels, anyway.

I have no doubt that all of this is true. The vast majority of the Arab Muslim world is horrendous, by any western standards of decency. They’re basically stuck in the seventh century over there.

This is why U.S. neoconservatives were unable to turn Iraq into a Mesopotamian version of Germany. This is also why (I’m talking to you liberals now), mass immigration from Muslim countries into western nations is a feel-good scheme bound for disappointment and bloodshed for everyone involved. Multiculturalism is a lovely concept, but it only works when all sides are equally committed to making it work.

But back to Qatar and the World Cup. The tone of the press coverage about Qatar suggests that soccer fans, corporate executives, and journalists are just now discovering what Qatar is all about. The decision to hold the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was announced back in 2010. Did anyone really believe that Qatar was going to magically become something other than what it has always been, just because of a soccer tournament?