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England Players Ditch "OneLove" Armband, Supporters' Association Criticizes Qatar

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Debater Slayer, Nov 23, 2022.

  1. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    Two players in the English national soccer team took the knee after FIFA strictly warned players not to wear a "OneLove" armband in their first World Cup game. Taking the knee has been an anti-racism gesture the team has adopted for a long time, but the Football Supporters' Association had the following to say:

    England players take the knee vs Iran after Harry Kane ditches OneLove armband

    As someone who lived in Saudi Arabia for 19 years, including two as an atheist, and experienced the terrible human rights situation and lack of freedom first-hand, I find this extremely shallow, inconsistent, sanctimonious, and tone-deaf. The UK has a litany of human rights abuses on its hands overseas and has yet to even pay any substantial reparations to some of the countries it helped to destroy like Iraq, yet we're supposed to see a rainbow armband—worn by players who haven't publicly criticized their own country's human rights record—as a progressive gesture when wearing it won't even achieve anything beyond antagonizing the host nation for 28 days only to be forgotten later.

    Also, the next World Cup will be jointly held in the US, Canada, and Mexico. I wonder whether we will see similar statements from British soccer associations about LGBT or reproductive rights in the US, or cartel violence and government corruption in Mexico. Right now same-sex marriage is at risk of following Roe v. Wade to the reversal grave by a theocratically minded SCOTUS majority.

    History shows that this is not how social and cultural changes happen. I don't believe such changes in countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran will come from wealthy, protected foreign athletes wearing colored armbands during a 28-day tournament or posting moralizing tweets without any concrete activism; the change will have to come from within these countries and be led by progressive natives thereof like Raif Badawi, Loujain al-Hathloul, and Samar Badawi.
     
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  2. ImmortalFlame

    ImmortalFlame Woke gremlin

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    The problem with this attitude is that what it boils down to is not a stance against the particular protest in this instance; your position is essentially anti-protest in general.

    I mean, do I have to point out the issue with arguing that footballers from a certain country shouldn't try to make any kind of political statement about another country because there are a lot of unrelated issues relating to their own country that haven't been addressed? It's no different arguing that no affirmative action should be taken to address the ills of racial prejudice unless we take equal affirmative action to address wealth or gender disparity. If we lose the ability to protest one wrong unless all other wrongs are addressed, than we simply lose the ability to protest.

    I think it's short sighted and - if I may borrow your vernacular - sanctimonious to decry this kind of protest on the basis that you have. I, personally, am okay with "wealthy, entitled footballers" at least trying to raise global awareness and draw attention to a political issue; even if it isn't necessarily effective, and even if it does not amount to "concrete activism". It's still something, and that is still an improvement over... nothing.

    You say the change has to come from within, and that is certainly true, but that does nothing to diminish the legitimacy of international attention and people using what platform they have (yes, even overpaid professional athletes) to try and draw that attention and show solidarity with a political movement. If we lose the ability to address a problem until we address all problems, we simply lose the ability to address anything at all, and anything - yes, even just gestures - is still better than turning a blind eye or refusing to use your platform for some kind of social or political change.

    Rather than decrying the footballers and attacking them, maybe you should use some of international attention drawn to Qatar by their protests to make more people internationally aware of progressive movements within Qatar, so that they can assist them in whatever what they can rather than - as you rightly say - forgetting about it all 28 days later.
     
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  3. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue Twilight, not bright nor dark, good nor bad.

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    I don't think most have a problem with footballers voicing their concerns and views, I think it's just people want players to go out on the pitch and compete and forget about life for awhile without having politics and issues continually being thrown in one's face.
     
  4. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    My position is not that the footballers should stay silent altogether, so the above argument doesn't apply to it. Rather, what I'm saying is that for public figures who demonstrably haven't said anything about major abuses happening right in their backyard, it seems quite inconsistent and counterproductive to preach to another country while voluntarily visiting it for 28 days. If anything, it might make the work of local activists even harder by stirring up anger against the whole movement and associating it with shallow gestures from foreigners who only seem to care about human rights when doing so is convenient and suitable to their biases.

    The affirmative action comparison is different in two substantial ways: first, implementing a policy is different from merely speaking out in support of it, and the latter is what's happening here. We can support multiple policies but, due to any number of reasons, only manage to implement one or two at a time.

    Second, affirmative action isn't always needed equally for different groups, whereas speaking out is equally needed against the UK's human rights abuses and Qatar's draconian laws. When someone comes from either country to preach to the other without ever talking about their own country's issues in any real depth, they're not doing useful activism; they're engaging in unproductive moralizing.

    It's like an Islamist or evangelical Christian theocrat calling out Hindus about perceived sectarian prejudice from Hindus while staying silent about Islamist or evangelical violence. At that point, it looks less like consistent, principled activism and more like lopsided preaching.
     
  5. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I see the armbands less about trying to directly convince the people and government of Qatar to change its laws and more about trying to undermine its attempt at sportswashing as it's happening.

    I think their message is more directed at the countries that Qatar is seeking to strengthen ties with, not necessarily at Qatar itself.

    IMO, what they're doing is fine, and I can't think of anyone in a better position than an athlete to counteract the sportswashing that's going on.

    All that being said, I agree that all of the countries in the World Cup have their own problems that deserve attention and resources. For the next World Cup, I'd suggest orange armbands for the games in Canada.
     
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  6. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    I would have no issue with such gestures if they were consistent in all countries where the World Cup was being held, but they're not. Qatar is indeed a theocratic state with inhumane laws, but saying it shouldn't host the World Cup because of this is beyond bizarre for anyone who doesn't also oppose holding the competition in the US or UK given their own human rights record and, in the case of the US, its increasingly theocratic bent and failure to address the frequent mass shootings.

    I would love to see the players who are so fiercely protesting in Qatar do the same when the next tournament takes place in 2026. History doesn't have me holding my breath that many will do this, though. Some countries are simply easier and more popular to target than others.
     
  7. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I think the big difference is that when it comes to the World Cup, they're active participants.

    They can't help but make a statement; participating without objection would carry the implicit message that they have no objection.

    On other issues, inaction doesn't necessarily have the same meaning. Not speaking out on Issue A may only mean that they've personally prioritized Issue B, not that they think Issue A isn't a problem at all.
     
  8. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    It annoys me no end.
    If all the European teams showed a united front and ALL wore the arm bands, what would FIFA do, after a couple of games all the players would be banned.
     
  9. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    Players always have the option of refusing to participate altogether if they want to send an even stronger message. It would probably be harmful to their careers and public image in some ways, but that would be the cost of taking a stand.

    I don't know why an English player would prioritize Qatar's human rights abuses over those committed by their own country, but even if they did, I doubt they would do the same if the World Cup were held in, say, China, where wearing an anti-CCP armband could get them imprisoned for life or even killed. If they can't be consistent in how they stand for their professed principles, selectivity gives a poor image to the whole endeavor and renders it potentially more counterproductive than useful.
     
    #9 Debater Slayer, Nov 23, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2022
  10. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    And more importantly, what would wearing the armbands in unison achieve? Do you see Qatari laws or society changing their attitude toward LGBT rights because a bunch of teams displayed an armband? I don't. In fact, what I could see happening would be a storm of controversy and social media disputes for a few weeks until the players left the country, and then everyone would go back to their usual ways.
     
  11. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    If anything, it raises awareness about the issue and I don't see any negative consequence from doing it.
     
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  12. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    Qatar bought the World Cup to promote their country, FIFA took the back handers and bought into it.
    It is going wrong already but the adverse publicity of Qatar is not what they wanted.
    Promotion, in whatever way, of gay rights in this backward nation has to be good
     
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  13. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    Raises awareness in whom, though? It has generated antagonism and been viewed as disrespectful by many Arabs so far. On the other hand, those who already support LGBT rights are likely aware of Qatar's atrocious laws in that area, so there's nothing new.
     
  14. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    Do you see the same happening when the US jointly hosts the next edition? I hope so, but I think there's tangible selectivity and bias in this case. The Winter Olympics were in Beijing just months ago, and the last World Cup was in Russia. As I said, I definitely get the impression that it's more popular to attack some countries than others.
     
  15. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    I doubt there will be any 'gay' protests in US - maybe abortion protests.
    Yes, China and Russia should have been protested too.

    FIFA and the Olympic Committee need sorting too.
     
  16. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    Looking back at past World Cups, I see that there was quite a bit of protest when Russia hosted in 2018 over both the Russian occupation of Crimea as well as treatment of LGBTQ people. There was even a big movement to take the World Cup away from Russia in protest.

    ... so I don't think the criticism of Qatar is especially unique.
     
  17. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    I think the US, UK, and France would all be deserving of protests too. I doubt that would happen, but I'd love to be proven wrong.
     
  18. Koldo

    Koldo Incredible Member

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    You mean the bigots?
    What's the problem with antagonizing bigots?
    I still don't see the issue. If anything, an outsider and privileged athlete is under little risk, therefore in a perfect position to make the statement.

    Many people who support LGBT rights are not activists, often only possessing shallow knowledge of how the LGBT population is treated in other countries.
     
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  19. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    I'd protest the UK
     
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  20. Debater Slayer

    Debater Slayer Veteran Member
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    Russia has long positioned itself as a geopolitical rival to Europe and the US, so I think criticism of it isn't hard to resonate with many among a Western viewership. The US is in a different situation as far as public image goes, but I suppose we'll see what the reactions will be from the various competing teams when the 2026 edition takes place.
     
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