Even though Qatar’s 2022 World Cup arenas are being built on the backs of abused South Asian laborers (like everything else there and in other Gulf states), Justin Martin makes a counterintuitive case for letting Qatar keep the Cup:
Without its World Cup and the microscopes it attracts, Qatar would have less pressure over the next decade to improve civil liberties and basic human rights.
And what happens in Qatar doesn’t stay there. Other countries in the region pay close attention to Qatar’s domestic and diplomatic moves. The country is the wealthiest nation in the Arab Gulf and, by many metrics, the world. Doha is the Dubai of yesteryear, albeit with less hedonism, and Qatar has invested more proactively in its country’s education, healthcare, and publicly available research than other Gulf countries. Qatar’s English-language Doha News is one of the most independent and outspoken domestic news organizations in the Arab world. These positives are available for other nations in the region to see partly due to coverage of Qatar’s World Cup preparations. …
Human rights improvements in Qatar are afoot, but the country will not—cannot—become Sweden overnight. I am not saying that postponing civil liberties is ever acceptable, and yes, “justice delayed is justice denied,” but the paradox surrounding the push to relocate the Qatar World Cup is that doing so would both delay and deny the very progress critics claim to support.