The cup made of blood

Image: Ömer Aydın


What you see in Qatar is a noble capitalist antiquity that has become modern and grows on the basis of slave labor and a great protagonist of prejudice.

The 2022 football world cup is being held in Qatar, an oil-rich middle eastern country that is also prosperous in tourism. Qatar is a country smaller than the smallest Brazilian state that is Sergipe, it is in the middle of the desert and in the middle of nowhere, but full of oil and tyrants.

The world is partially euphoric with the tournament that started on November 20 and ends on December 18, 2022. I say partially because the world cups are usually held in the middle of the year and this is already part of the world football culture. Another important fact is that the host country of the cup has no tradition in football, the country wants to appear in the world for the future development of more tourism and show its power as a great protagonist of science, technology and a great oil producer.

The big question to know is how was all this built and by whom? The vast majority of workers who built and built Qatar and especially the structure of the World Cup such as stadiums and other architectural structures in the country raised all this immense modern beauty based on slavery, low wages and persecution of those who did not behave according to the country's constituents.

By the way, a country with medieval ideas, which persecutes homosexuals and does not admit the LGBTQIA+ world. A country of absolute monarchy ruled by the house of Thani since the mid-1995th century. The most important positions in the country are held by members or close groups of the al-Thani family. In 1971, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani became emir after deposing his father, Khalifa bin Hamad al Thani, in a coup d'état. Qatar was a British protectorate until it gained independence in XNUMX. Since then it has become one of the richest states in the Middle East due to revenues from oil and natural gas, as well as tourism.

Qatar has an estimated population of 2,8 million inhabitants, only 313 are native Qataris. The rest are foreign workers, especially from other Arab nations, Indians, Nepalese, Bangladeshi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, mainly from the Philippines, and also workers from other poor parts of the world.

Although football is a worldwide passion, we have to see and analyze how this passion forgets the miserable poor people who made the cup possible in adverse weather conditions.

For all this to be possible, thousands of workers lost their lives without their families even knowing the reason for the loss. With a heat of around 50 degrees Celsius, these workers practically live in slavery in the host country of the 2022 World Cup. The deaths are not investigated, the families do not receive compensation and the reports of the dead always appear as cause of death, heart attack, not to mention that almost all those who die do not even return to the country of origin.

For these workers to arrive in Qatar to work and be able to help their families in the extreme poverty of their countries of origin, they take out loans and often go to Qatar with the promise of working in professions other than civil construction. Upon arriving in the country of financial “dreams”, they work 16 to 18 hours a day, have almost no time off and receive salaries of 200 dollars a month, which here in Brazil today would be around 1000 to 1200 reais a month.

The rulers promised the world lying labor reforms to hide the real nightmare that workers pass through there. In fact, the owners of Qatar, despite being capitalists in the medieval style, are modern capitalists superior even to those of Western Europe. Classic economic literature (mainly Karl Marx) teaches us that capitalism truly emerged only after its consolidation through the purchase of workers' labor power as Marx shows in The capital.

According to Max Weber, however, "capitalism and capitalistic enterprises, even with a considerable rationalization of calculation, existed in all civilized countries on the planet, as far as economic documentation allows us to assess". What Weber (2003) means is that capitalism has always existed, in China, India, Babylon, Egypt, Mediterranean antiquity and the Middle Ages, as much as in modern times.

What you see in Qatar is a noble capitalist antiquity that has become modern and grows on the basis of slave labor and a great protagonist of prejudice. The most recent event took place two days after the opening of the World Cup, when a Brazilian fan in one of the stadiums where a football match was taking place extended the flag of the State of Pernambuco, which contains two colored bands, where a Brazilian journalist filmed and was coercively obliged to deliver the footage to the local authorities because they thought the flag was an LBGTQIA+ symbol, a true show of barbarism in a country that claims to be modern, but does not accept homosexuality.

Even though the tournament is taking place, we have to think that every kick on the ball made by a player, every pass, every referee's whistle, etc. .

Paraphrasing Friedrich Nietzsche (2012), in the physiological sense of the pain of the exploited workers there in Qatar, we know a state of morbid irritability, in the tactile sense that makes the exploited invisibles who erected all the pharaonic works reflected in the immense buildings and stadiums of football, know a state of morbid irritability, which makes those who suffer from this affliction shrink from any touch, from any attempt to reach a solid object.

Ends Nietzsche (2012, p.57), “brought to its logical conclusion, as habitus physiological becomes an instinctive hatred of all reality, as a refuge in the “inapprehensible”, in the “incomprehensible”: as an aversion to all formulas, to all conceptions of time and space, for everything that is established – customs, institutions, churches –; the feeling of being at home in a world in which no kind of reality is touched”.

Theorists seem to have forgotten that Qatari construction workers are commodities, and cheap commodities, with no value, no feeling, no nothing. This demonstrates, in our view, the lack of “shame on the face of the world”, which makes spectacles like the 2022 cup, while a billion people live in extreme poverty and go hungry every day.

Perhaps, in our view, to conclude, the only positive thing that Qatar did in this World Cup, which is a tradition over there, was to ban the consumption of the bottled devil, alcohol, incidentally also invented by them, but they gave up investing in this business because saw the destructive effects of this liquid on their society.

*Miguel Angelo Lazzaretti Professor of Social Sciences at Unioeste.


NIETZSCHE, Friedrich. the antichrist. São Paulo, publisher Martin Claret, 2012.

WEBER, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. São Paulo, Publisher Martin Claret, 2012.


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