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  • Writer's pictureThe Hammonton Gazette

Concerns about the U.S. attending the World Cup in Qatar


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Qatar is home to the World Cup. This is not breaking news or even news.

However it is incredibly depressing to realize that our nation is supporting a country that has so many restrictions on civil liberties.


Either we care as a nation or we don’t.


We cannot talk about one country’s treatment of women and then send our soccer team to play in an equally restrictive nation.


According to amnesty.org, “under the guardianship system, women remained tied to their male guardian, usually their father, brother, grandfather or uncle, or for married women, to their husband. Women continued to need their guardian’s permission for key life decisions to marry, study abroad on government scholarships, work in many government jobs, travel abroad until certain ages, and receive some forms of reproductive healthcare.”


Yeah, that sounds like a place I want to visit.


The UK issued some travel guidance to fans heading to the World Cup.


According to theweek.co.uk, “the government has also warned against intimacy in public, which it warns ‘can lead to arrest.’ The government site advises that living together while unmarried is illegal in Qatar, and that sex outside marriage, regardless of whether it is between same-sex or different-sex couples, is also illegal and can lead to ‘arrest and a potential court case where the judgement can include a fine, a custodial sentence and deportation once the sentence is complete.’


Huh.


According to the nhs.uk travel page, “although sex outside marriage is prohibited in Qatar, host authorities have confirmed there will be no restrictions on non-married friends of different genders or couples (including LGBTQ+) staying in the same room / accommodation.”

However the link supporting this statement wasn’t functioning as of November 23. That doesn’t feel reassuring.


Again, why is the U.S. supporting this nation? Maybe it’s that old line about real estate’s value: location, location, location.


We should lead by example and stand up to intolerance. Women’s rights have been squashed enough inside our borders that I guess our government leaders feel it’s OK for stifling patriarchal views to be encouraged outside of our nation.


This is not about dressing modestly. You should support another’s culture.


But repression and the stomping of civil liberties is another.


Men and women have equal value on this Earth. No one should have dominion over the other.

A man’s judgement is not more sound than a woman’s. Why would anyone think that?


HRW.org reported that mistreatment of LGBTQ+ persons occurred as recently as September 2022.


“Qatar Preventive Security Department forces have arbitrarily arrested lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and subjected them to ill-treatment in detention, Human Rights Watch said today,” HRW reported in October.


Do we hear about the atrocities towards women and LGBTQ+ on a regular basis? No. We hear about beer.


According to WSJ.com, “after more than a decade of planning, the confusion and ambiguity over this issue spilled out into the open Friday, just two days before the opening match, as organizers scrapped their plans to sell beer within the perimeter of stadiums. The decision was a last-minute call engineered by the Qatari royal family, the Al Thanis, said people close to them.”


Because being able to drink beer is more important than how we treat each other?

I don’t think so.


Going forward, I don’t want to hear our government drone on and on about a nation’s treatment of its people.


It is clear by their actions that it is just words and not real emotion.


This was a moment where we could have made a stand and said no to the oppression of people. Instead we said sure, and then we only asked: where’s the beer?


Once again women lose at the hands of our government.


No surprises here.


Gina Rullo is the editor-in-chief of The Hammonton Gazette. In 2022, she was named an “Editor Extraordinaire” by Editor & Publisher Magazine and in 2021 won two awards for investigative journalism.




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