Hosting the World Cup is a highly coveted honor that, when you break it down, means all kinds of things like nation-building, construction, jobs, renewed patriotism, and lasting change.
When Qatar was chosen to host the 2022 Olympic Games, they realized that it would be challenging but also rewarding. If they do things right, they will create a priceless legacy. But if they don’t plan well, it might become an example many Arab countries use as evidence against ever hosting the games.
Since then, Qatar has been building stadiums and developing its metro system, new roads, high-rises, and Lusail – a city resembling the Emerald City of Oz – in preparation for the tournament. Billions of dollars have been spent on developing venues for the country’s World Cup with carbon-neutral architecture and green-friendly practices. This commitment is a bow to the nation’s promise that its World Cup will be carbon neutral.
Of course, if the results are not precisely carbon neutral, we would expect overwhelming and far-reaching scrutiny for this nation of 2.9 million people.
And let’s not forget that the country’s reputation already got damaged following the publication of various reports about the horrific conditions that migrant workers were living in. Minority communities also are asking for more tolerance, and their protests echo worldwide.
But in spite of this criticism, the country is on the rise and is no longer just a small country to pass through on the way to somewhere else.
Qatar has transformed itself not only economically, becoming an international transit hub and a major exporter of oil and gas, but also in its way of thinking, promoting Arab inclusivity and agreeing to follow globally recognized norms as long as it also has access to a global spotlight for its culture and heritage.
A lot of people find it easy to condemn and decry a lack of tolerance but show no tolerance for cultures that are trying to change their ways in order to become better actors on the world stage.
The World Cup is often a spectacle, but this year feels different. This World Cup needs to go well in order to be good for both the host country and the world.
Read more on: https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-opinion-world-cup-qatar-controversy-change-20221109-xwtvwjqsy5fgvf7anpemqevy7i-story.html