Last Sunday was the end of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, four weeks of a festive soccer global party that generated lots of attention and speculations. Excessive criticism of Qatar's human rights, migrants' workers, and gay rights. The Qatar world cup, however, was a great success, well organized, and well attended. No major troubles, fan riots, or heavy police or security present. As someone tweeted, this is the first world cup where no British fan was arrested. Finally, Qatar world cup gave Arabs the platform to tell their story and narrative for change. Arab commentators and announcers, with their poetic rhetoric, tell stories and cheerlead their teams. Arab analysts, with their historical knowledge of the game and cultural sensitivity. For one thing, they were the only ones who could pronounce Qatar correctly (Cutter).

Like any sport, there usually are winners and losers, and not necessarily on the soccer fields. Qatari team lost all games played but won the hearts and souls of everyone. They fought nobly a battle they knew they were going to lose. The Saudis beat the Argentinians, and Cameron beat Brazil, both former multiple world cup winners, and favorites. Tunisia beat France; Morocco beat Spain and Portugal, and all former colonists. Morocco was the first Arab/ African team to make it to the world cup quarter-final. German team protested on their first game, covering their mouths with their hands, and was out in the group stage, finding out soccer is a game where you use your feet, not your hands. British were out when their star Harry Kane missed a shootout penalty kick that ended up in neighboring Bahrain. US team was on another failed middle east mission.The fans were the biggest winner in the world cup, coming in grooves from all over the world in their colorful costumes, dancing, chanting, and turning it into a multicultural carnival without alcohol, sex, or kiss cams. This is the first Tik Tok World cup, where millions of fans told their stories without filtering or sponsorship. They support their teams when they play or support teams who look like them, speak their language or are from the same geographic regions. Saudis supported their team against Argentina, and when they were out of groups later, they supported the Argentina team throw-out the tournament. In the end, everybody -except the French- cheered for Messi and Argentina in a dramatic final. Western media coverage of the tournament shows a sense of arrogance, entitlement, and an orientalist attitude toward things that aren't western. They focused on the negatives and the unfamiliar, as too ethnic; a French journalist joked that there were too many Mosques in Qatar. Other Journalists painted the country "as a cartoonishly barbaric dystopia". So did politicians. UK's Labour leader Keir Starmer said the party will not be sending any member to attend the tournament in Qatar." MEE. Lots of coverage of the rainbow flag protest; nothing of the free Palestinian flags protest, which was seen almost throughout the tournaments, even from non-Arab fans. Israeli TV reporters flocked to Qatar in numbers under the banner, "let Arabs Speak to Israel". They tried desperately to interview Arab fans in vain, an Israel reporter disguised as a Polish TV, but all were rejected. As Emile Badarin wrote in the Middle East Eye, Thus, in refusing to speak, Arab citizens are sending a straightforward message to those in power in the Middle East and in the West that they are against normalization without justice - regardless of how many "peace" agreements Israel signs with Arab regimes.". With their crusader's gear, a few British fans stopped by the stadium gate, they were asked to change their politically charged costume before they can be let in; they refused, "bring them Saladin ( A Muslim hero who defeated the Crusaders in the 11th century), a bystander mussed. Finally, as Messi is walking to receive the coveted golden cup. Qatar's Amir, Sheikh Hamad al-Thani, gifted the thrilled star, Messi, with a Bisht; a traditional golden black cloak robe worn usually by officials and dignitaries, symbolizes honor and worrier brows; culminating what this world cup was all about. The first world cup in an Arab Muslim nation where cups were wearing the Bisht. This triggered some negative reactions on social media and racist western media coverage tweets that were later deleted. Mark Ogden, of ESPN was disgusted: "all the pics are ruined by somebody making [Messi] wear a cape that looks like he's about to have a haircut," now deleted tweet. Showing his untrained racist eyes. "Gary Lineker of BBC, calling the bisht a "little robe" Another British paper, described it as a "bizarre act that ruined the greatest moment in World Cup history".. Laurie Whitwell, of The Athletic, described Messi wearing it as a "weird, unnecessary look". These are from people who give their allegiance to a cartoonish monocracy wearing middle age costumes. 

 Craig Burley ranted on ESPN show, 'It was disgusting for the Qatari's Amir with his "Sandel" covering Messi with "that thing," denying Messi the chance to celebrate with his own Argentina shirt." Incidentally, Messi wasn't the first world cup winner to wear the traditional costume of the host nation; Pele and Maradona did it in Mexico. Sport is becoming a huge global business, where soccer players have become waking billboards of global brands like Nike, Adidas, Coke, Budweiser, and American Express. The bisht has now become an instant social media sensation. Many Argentina fans flocked to stores in Doha to buy them, celebrating by wearing them and declaring Messi the Amir (Prince) of Soccer. This FIFA world cup was the Bisht World Cup. Messi, in four years, has to return the 18 Karate gold cup to FIFA, but he can keep the bisht forever!!

Ahmed Tharwat

Dec. 21


Ahmed Tharwat …. in the middle AhMedia.... احا مديا A media critic, and a media consultant... A show with an accent for those without one! AhMedia احا مديا Ahmed Tharwat/ Host BelAhdan TV show Freelance Writer, Public Speaker, International Media Fixer


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