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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

World Cup sparks human rights controversies

Julia Fusco

The FIFA World Cup in Qatar has sparked an abundance of controversial conversations all over the world, from human rights violations to LGBTQ+ rights.

Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, and it is now the country’s first time hosting the event. While the games usually take place in the summer, Qatar’s brutally hot summer temperatures caused the event to get pushed to November, according to the Washington Post.

Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, which has created growing concern for those in the LGBTQ+ community who are going to watch or attend the World Cup. Any fans who have shown up wearing rainbow apparel, in support of the LGBTQ+ community, have gotten it confiscated or have been asked to leave, according to NPR.

The Post also reported that FIFA and Qatari officials had assured the public before the games they would be allowed to express themselves freely during the World Cup.

Protesting with rainbows and bracelets is obviously acceptable and shouldn’t have generated this kind of reaction. We mustn’t forget, though, that we also face violations of human rights, such as reproductive rights and the anti LGBTQ+ legislation, here at home and need to address these issues as well,” said Dr. Shoshana Madmoni-Gerber, an associate professor of communication, journalism and media at Suffolk University.

The controversy continued when the U.S. soccer team posted an image on Twitter of the Group B opponents who would be playing each other on Nov. 29. The graphic had a picture of the Iran flag with the Islamic Republic symbol edited out of it. 

“I think the World Cup is a great platform for human rights violations to be brought to light in a peacefully protested manner,” said Stephen Hudak, a junior at Suffolk. “With our current tense relationship with the country I think this was the perfect opportunity to make a statement to the whole world.” 

The edited graphic has since been deleted and was replaced by an unedited version. They stated the reason was to show “support for the women in Iran fighting for basic human rights,” according to NBC News.

“I support actions for solidarity with my Iranian sisters, but not in the way it was done by manipulating the Iranian flag. There is no point in landing support for Iranian women by insulting the faith/symbol of nationality of other people in Iran and around the world; there are better ways to express our support,” said Madmoni-Gerber.

The Journal previously reported that the protests in Iran began after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, who was killed by morality police after being arrested for not wearing her hijab properly.

Following Amini’s death, there have been more protests in support of human rights in Iran, and hundreds of people have been killed while attending.

“I think that the U.S. didn’t really have a place to do that, it wasn’t politically correct. I think if they had a problem with it they shouldn’t have posted anything at all,” said Suffolk sophomore Hannah Gordon.

Following the tweet, the Iranian team called for the U.S. to be suspended from the World Cup for 10 matches. 

The U.S. and Iran had their matchup a couple days after the edited flag was posted, which the U.S. won and moved onto the knockout round. The U.S. then lost to the Netherlands in the Round of 16 and have since returned back to the States.

Another controversy surrounding the games comes from the way the venues were built. When construction was occurring for the 2022 World Cup, Qatar was facing many human rights violations regarding the conditions the workers were being forced to work under. 

“FIFA needs to seriously reconsider their ethics committee. The amount of foreign workers who were subjected to horrible conditions, and died as a result, is staggering. I hope there will be U.N. investigations following this event,” said Hudak. 

According to an article published by Bleacher Report in 2013, Qatar was taking advantage of migrant workers. These workers were being forced to work extremely long hours through inhumane conditions and sometimes against their will. 

“Billions of people around the world are watching these games; boycotting something of this magnitude is never easy. In the future, it would be much easier to make sure that building efforts in preparation for the games are done by following proper labor laws and maintaining workers’ rights,” said Madmoni-Gerber.

The article also stated the workers were being paid far less than they were promised, they were also reported to have been taking passports from workers who were looking to quit and leave Qatar.

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About the Contributors
Sarah Roberts, News Editor | she/her
Sarah is a senior from Taunton, Mass. majoring in print and web journalism. She’s on the cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams. When she’s not running along the Charles or doing laps on the track in Eastie, you will probably find her in a coffee shop. Sarah is a coffee connoisseur and enjoys trying new coffee places frequently. In her free time if she isn’t reading, she’s watching some true crime shows or rewatching Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time. After college, she hopes to work in investigative journalism.
Julia Fusco, Graphics Editor | she/her
Julia is a senior from South Hamilton, Mass. majoring in media & film at Suffolk University. Julia is part of four student organizations and counting and is on the E-Board for three of them. When she isn't working at the Suffolk gym or in class, you can often find her taking time to engage in her hobbies, which includes photoshoots with her friends, graphic designing, dancing and grabbing some boba to go!

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World Cup sparks human rights controversies