If you are planning to attend the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar starting next week, you may find that you enjoy the games…but not much else. An official memo on the U.K. government’s Foreign Travel Advice website is warning fans traveling to watch the global soccer championship not to bring with them certain items that are banned in the predominantly Muslim country, lest they end up in prison. The memo states: “Importing drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material into Qatar is illegal.”
The memo also notes that “Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed and/or deported,” and adds, “Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.”
But that’s not all. The memo cautions potential World Cup attendees that "Any intimacy in public between men and women (including between teenagers) can lead to arrest."
But even that’s not all. The Foreign Travel Advice website warns: "You should dress modestly when in public, including while driving. Women must cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts. Both men and women are advised not to wear shorts or sleeveless tops when going to government buildings, health care facilities, or malls."
No alcohol, pornography, or pork? Are you kidding me? How could you make the event any less attractive? Alcohol, pornography, and pork (APP) should be a restaurant or convenience-store if not a government department. If I were president, I would eliminate both NEAs, the DHS, and the FBI if it meant making room for the APP.
To put things in the proper perspective, while you can’t bring booze or sexy things into Qatar, you are free to chant “Death to Israel” and make grossly disparaging remarks about Jews. Or to stone a homosexual.
What if the tables were turned? What if a Western nation, when next hosting the World Cup, were to ban fans from bringing keffiyehs, hijabs and falafels with them? What if, say, the Netherlands demanded that those attending soccer’s biggest event drink Heineken and take in a peepshow in the Red-Light District?
I guess the likes of England, France and Brazil won’t be bringing home the bacon, regardless of how well they play.
Oh well, f**ck it…and pass the vodka.
To paraphrase what Winston Churchill once said of British Labor politician Stafford Cripps, “Qatar has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”
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