The True Religion
Hooray! It is the World Cup again. The excitement, joy, happiness, sadness, surprise, disappointment, and even heart attacks all come together. There would be pure adrenaline all around the world and people who are waiting for miracles in the form of dramatic comebacks. Thirty-two nations send their chosen ones to the world’s biggest modern battleground under the scrutinizing eyes of 5 billion expected viewers. Some of the most legendary figures in football history will experience their last World Cup in Qatar, and we never see them again in such a great competition.
So far so good, let’s sit back and enjoy the game. Just there might be some minor irritation from on-and-off noises complaining about the extremely high death toll during the preparation (Guardian), confiscated passports and forced labour, LGBTQ rights or generally human rights (Amnesty), huge controversy over bribery (New York Times), and so on. One might say many participating countries have had the same problems for years, and FIFA and no one else has ever paid attention, so do not lecture us and let the people enjoy their true religion. It is interesting logic! Apparently, because FIFA has closed its eyes in decades, or better to say, was the biggest problem itself, now everyone needs to shut up. The fact that some truth is so hard to handle that we are not willing to be bothered by them shows something is going terribly wrong.
Without giving any lecture, urge you to recall some of these annoying facts about just one of the involved countries. On 29th March 2022, when 2000 Iranian women tried to attend the Imam Reza Stadium in Mashhad to support their national team in a World Cup qualifier, they were pepper sprayed because some religious leaders found it against their interpretation of the Sharia Law (Iran-Women). Currently, thousands of people are protesting against Iran’s regime; hundreds have been killed, including many children (Human Rights), plus an increasing rate of blood-shedding. Iranian missiles and drones are hitting Ukraine (CNN) and northern Iraq (Erbil). Now, you might guess the reaction of FIFA to all of these facts, surprise surprise, nothing! even did not bother considering the issue in their assembly.
Anyway, the world cup started and will end in a couple of weeks. Some people will be happy for some reason, and some get mad or sad about whatever is important to them. For the people in Iran and countries like today’s Iran, football and the World Cup are the least of their priorities. Freedom, peace, security, and a normal life are more important and any support would be extremely encouraging and heart-warming. Iranians expected more from their national team, not about the match and on the pitch but to be supported in the nation's holy battle for freedom. Sadly, they chose to stay silent and enjoy their little game like FIFA which is enjoying its big profit.
If this blog was so effective that you decided not to watch football ever again (it is me to keep dreaming stupidly), do not worry, I have a suggestion for you. Last month, I accidentally discovered something new. It is very popular in some places, and I have to confess, despite my first reluctance, I found it quite rewarding. French call it Cricket, the same as us, and the rest of the world, and I am still working on the rules and the counting system. We can enjoy it for now until someone decides to spoil it by mentioning some deliberately forgotten facts and reminding us of some dark sides of our new religion.
God Bless You