One person commenting on my last post about Nepalese labourers in Qatar asked, “Who cares?” That question is relatively easy to answer; I care and a lot of other people do too. It is harder to explain why I care in a way that will make sense to the person that made that comment but I’m going to try.
I care because my upbringing and experiences have developed in me the ability to empathise. I feel that all other human beings, even those who don’t look like me or agree with me, can suffer physical and emotional pain in the same way that I do. I know that I’d hate to be a slave and I don’t want anyone else to be subject to modern-day slavery either.
Even if you completely ignore the working conditions of the Nepalese construction workers, there are other reasons for questioning the decision to stage the World Cup in Qatar in their summer. Playing in that heat would pose risks for the players. So now there are discussions about moving the tournament to a cooler time of year, which would mess up the league schedule in this and many other countries. It is blindingly obvious that those who voted for Qatar as the venue were not motivated by their love of football.
Some fans are prepared to accept anything that brings success to their team and willing to ignore ethical and other concerns. When Thaksin Shinawatra bought Manchester City in 2007 some fans were concerned about the allegations against him, of human rights abuses and corruption. But most fans “welcomed him as a man who had money and could bring success.”* A year later he and his wife had skipped bail in Thailand, fled to England, and his assets were frozen. Instead of bringing success he brought the club to the brink of insolvency. I wonder what the fans who had welcomed his investment made of that. I hope some of them now believe that money isn’t everything and that the character of the owner also counts.
The slogan on the scarves I had made, “All we care about is BCFC”, is just a slogan. It doesn’t sum up my whole philosophy; it just says how I feel during games when I desperately want Birmingham City to win. When the final whistle blows I remember the others things I care about. I really like the photoshopped image on the right (thanks, Russ, for permission to use it) but it doesn’t portray my usual state of mind. Whenever possible, I prefer to live in peace with everybody.
I’ve turned off comments for this post because I don’t have time to moderate them at the moment.
* Quote from page 282 Richer than God by David Conn