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Should England fans support Iran? Their football team has the power to topple a regime

Don't let the French win. (Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images)

Don't let the French win. (Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images)


November 21, 2022   6 mins

Neymar smirks down at me from a billboard. Nearby, Ronaldo and MbappĂ© gaze off in the direction of the sea. A few streets down, Lionel Messi holds a ball in the crook of his arm, looking sweet. Here in Dubai, the 2022 World Cup is very much in evidence. Neighbouring Qatar is where the tournament is being held, but it is less forgiving about things like booze and partying; in Dubai, they’re part of the brand. Foreign fans are arriving this week to watch the games in more relaxed surroundings.

Football remains a global business, which is why it came to Qatar. But if the sport is about cash, it’s also about a lot of other stuff, too. “Football isn’t a game, nor a sport; it’s a religion,” said Maradona. The former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was hardly more stoic. “Some people think football is a matter of life and death,” he said. “I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.”

After all, as Amy Chua has written, humans are tribal creatures: “We need to belong to groups, which is why we love clubs and teams. Once people connect with a group, their identities can become powerfully bound to it
. They will sacrifice, and even kill and die, for their group.” This explains, in part, why football has always been associated with violence. While the problem has lessened in the past 20 years or so, groups of (almost exclusively) men from around the world still get together on weekends to merrily beat each other senseless.

My time in Dubai will coincide with a match that I have been looking forward to ever since it was announced. On Monday, England, the country of my birth and nationality, will play Iran, the country of my mother and of my childhood imagination.

To anyone who properly follows football, there are generally two teams in your life: the national team and the domestic club you support — the latter being almost invariably the one that truly matters. This speaks to a further sociological truth: the smaller the tribe, the more intense the feeling it arouses. This is one reason why all politics is local. I support England; I love (or possibly hate, I remain unsure) Tottenham.

Supporting England is tricky. We’re not very good but, then again, we’re not terrible either. This breeds the most dangerous of things: hope. And it is the type of hope doomed to be continually dashed. Penalty exits and absurd losses; the endless premature tumbling out of tournaments. Graham Taylor. That is the life of an England fan.

Many years ago, in a bar in central London, a Brazilian explained to me how his national football team (the most successful in footballing history) came, in all its remorseless reliability, to fill the emotional space left by both the failing state and his absent father. Omnipresent and consistent, it became the solid, dependable force needed by a growing child.

If Brazil is the benign parent, reading you bedtime stories and scooping you playfully up onto his shoulders, England is the dad who got drunk constantly, banged the au pair, and never showed up to sports day. He said he would be there. He promised; swore, even. You told all your friends he was coming. But there you stood outside the sports pavilion, in ballooning shorts and an oversized T-shirt, looking up and down the street for the unfeasibly expensive car that never came. Brazil is the father you never had; England is the father that never was. But still, you probably can’t live without him.

The point of all of this is to say that national teams end up being, in large part, a reflection of at least one aspect of ourselves. And nowhere is this truism more apt than for Iran. There are several things to understand about Iran and football. Most immediate is that the national team is better than you think. As of October 2022, they are ranked 20th in the world. They first made the World Cup in 1978, six months before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and have since qualified in 1998, 2006, 2014, 2018, and in 2022. They haven’t yet made it out of the group stage; this time they are in a group with England, Wales and, thrillingly, the United States. What drama indeed.

The second is that, more broadly, Iranians adore football. Team Melli (as they call the national side) enjoys fanatical support: 100,000 fans regularly attend national games at the Azadi stadium (which only legally holds just under 80,000). Domestically, the Tehran derby, in which Esteghlal faces off against Persepolis, is a national event.

The third is that football in Iran has always been political. Back in the Eighties, Iranian football stars Hassan Nayebagha and Bahram Mavaddat became prominent in the anti-Islamic Republic group the Mojahedin-e-Khalq (MEK). Former national captain Habib Khabiri was duly tortured and executed in 1984 for supporting the group.

In one sense, this is unsurprising. As Franklin Foer observes in How Soccer Explains the World, “there’s a long history of resistance movements igniting in the soccer stadium”. In Belgrade, football hooligans helped topple Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. What began as celebrations for Romania’s 1990 World Cup qualification eventually ended in a firing squad for the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife.

Public spaces are always dangerous for dictatorships because they are arenas where opposition movements can coalesce and challenge. The Islamic Republic, a revolutionary regime born from its own street protests, understands this better than perhaps any other contemporary autocracy. For the Mullahs, football matches are the worst type of public spaces: secular ones. At football, Iranians are not Muslims or men and women: their one and inescapable tribe is Iran. That’s dangerous for an Islamic Republic. In the country’s football stadiums, the national is about as local as you can get. If football was about religion for Maradona, for Iranians it is avowedly not — and that is the point.

And it is where the people can gather and, on occasion, rebel. Women have been unable to watch a match in stadiums since the 1979 Islamic Revolution; not that it stopped crowds of them from breaking into the Azadi to celebrate Iran’s qualification for the last World Cup. In 2017, former Iran captain, Masoud Shojaei, observed: “Many, many women in Iran love to watch football matches played by men
 if it is agreed to allow women in, a stadium should be built with the capacity of 200,000 because just as many women as men will be there.” A year later, the police arrested 35 women for trying to get into the Tehran derby.

As protests erupted across Iran in recent months following the brutal murder of Mahsa Amini, Iran’s footballers have — to the degree they can — made their feelings known. The team recently refused to sing the national anthem in protest. In September, three players, Sardar Azmoun, Alireza Beyranvand, and Majid Hosseini, posted Instagram stories in support of the demonstrations. And when Ali Karimi, a legendary ex-player, recently called for the players to be “on the right side of history”, everyone knew what he meant. Only a few weeks before, Iran’s record goal-scorer and greatest ever player, Ali Daei, had his passport confiscated for criticising the regime’s repression of protests.

Not long ago, I wrote that the protestors had little chance of supplanting the regime while they remained leaderless. If a potential opposition figure is to emerge, he could well do so from the world of football. Someone like Daei has the profile, charisma and esteem to carry the people with him. As Roham Alvandi, Associate Professor of International History at the London School of Economics, tells me: “Football creates national heroes. Daei, Karimi — these are household names and they have used that fame to push back against the Islamic Republic. What makes football so powerful is that it’s a team game. It’s a collective effort, and that is crucial to the emotion it elicits. It’s a group of young Iranians working together, supporting each other, to achieve a national victory. They are our boys.” In other words, it’s the tribe in action.

If you’re English, the team is an unserious reminder of who we are: prominent but fallen, vaguely disappointing but fundamentally decent; and still prone to bouts of hubris and extreme violence. For Iranians, it is a symbol of who they might be: a country that is, if not exactly secular, then at least not held hostage by aged religious fanatics, and where men and women might one day watch their country’s national sport next to each other without medieval morality police trying to prise them apart.

When the two teams battle it out, I will of course support England. But if Iran wins, I will still smile. After all, if we win, we’ll likely just progress to the next round. If Iran does, if it puts together a decent run, then the collective emotion that would spark — at a time of national protest — might be the start of something much larger. And that, in the end, is worth more than England lasting another week or so until we lose in the quarter finals — to the French of all people.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

dpatrikarakos

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polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death,” he said. “I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.” I think you’ll find that he was joking.
In my long ago youth, the players in my team were born within a bus ride of The Boleyn ground, with the exception of the goalie who was an exotic foreigner – a Sottish lad.
Modern football is just a business, with players having no connection with local people and with the clubs being owned by hedge funds and other, even less salubrious, folk. You have to go down a few divisions to find real football clubs.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Absolutely right, but even lower down the leagues, smaller clubs are targeted by unscrupulous shysters who promise the world but then asset-strip, leaving the threat of bankruptcy and extinction after their departure. A case in point, Bury FC. The EFL as a governing body are useless, just has-beens on a gravy train. The Tracey Crouch review into football governance which recommends an independent regulator to prevent further financial mismanagement (and worse) seems to have been kicked into the long grass.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

My sympathy re Bury – Your team?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

No, but Bury were one of my team’s main rivals. We feel their loss, but it was partly the fault of their fanbase for buying into the promises in a very naive way – we warned them.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

No, but Bury were one of my team’s main rivals. We feel their loss, but it was partly the fault of their fanbase for buying into the promises in a very naive way – we warned them.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

My sympathy re Bury – Your team?

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Despite the changes, up and down the country every (extended!) weekend, thousands of fans from all walks of life still flock to Premiership grounds to support their clubs with the same passion I saw when I attended my first Leicester City match in 1964.
Fans don’t really care that much about their owners as long as they do a good job. We are fortunate here in Leicester to have owners who treat the club as a business and still manage to engender tremendous goodwill from the fans. It does help that they do a huge amount of work in the community via their Foundation and the players are out and about in Leicester supporting that work. That goes for most Premiership clubs.
As for the football, thanks to rule changes, pitch improvements, better fitness and diets, influx of foreign players, proper training facilities etc, the standard of football played at the top level has improved hugely. It is without doubt a better game to watch than 50 years ago.
Not everything about the modern game is good but the spectacle on offer still engenders massive support and passion from local fans up and down the country. Watch a live match on TV and you will see that.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Oh for the days when Old Etonians XI won the FA Cup twice…

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

“It is without doubt a better game to watch than 50 years ago.”
I dispute that part of an otherwise reasonable response!
Can you imagine George Best rolling around in apparent agony because Chopper Harris had given him a “look”? We are watching pansies waving handbags at each other. The English girls play better football, and put their menfolk to shame (I’d marry any of ’em).

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Don’t most of the Lionesses ‘play for the other side’? 🙂

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

My declared gender identity can be adapted to suit my needs and desires.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Inkpen

My declared gender identity can be adapted to suit my needs and desires.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Don’t most of the Lionesses ‘play for the other side’? 🙂

George Bruce
George Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

With the same passion as in 1964?
I doubt it. It`s a lifestyle choice for a lot of people now, such as the people who supported Man U under Ferguson who had no Manchester connection whatsoever.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Oh for the days when Old Etonians XI won the FA Cup twice…

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

“It is without doubt a better game to watch than 50 years ago.”
I dispute that part of an otherwise reasonable response!
Can you imagine George Best rolling around in apparent agony because Chopper Harris had given him a “look”? We are watching pansies waving handbags at each other. The English girls play better football, and put their menfolk to shame (I’d marry any of ’em).

George Bruce
George Bruce
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

With the same passion as in 1964?
I doubt it. It`s a lifestyle choice for a lot of people now, such as the people who supported Man U under Ferguson who had no Manchester connection whatsoever.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Absolutely right, but even lower down the leagues, smaller clubs are targeted by unscrupulous shysters who promise the world but then asset-strip, leaving the threat of bankruptcy and extinction after their departure. A case in point, Bury FC. The EFL as a governing body are useless, just has-beens on a gravy train. The Tracey Crouch review into football governance which recommends an independent regulator to prevent further financial mismanagement (and worse) seems to have been kicked into the long grass.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Despite the changes, up and down the country every (extended!) weekend, thousands of fans from all walks of life still flock to Premiership grounds to support their clubs with the same passion I saw when I attended my first Leicester City match in 1964.
Fans don’t really care that much about their owners as long as they do a good job. We are fortunate here in Leicester to have owners who treat the club as a business and still manage to engender tremendous goodwill from the fans. It does help that they do a huge amount of work in the community via their Foundation and the players are out and about in Leicester supporting that work. That goes for most Premiership clubs.
As for the football, thanks to rule changes, pitch improvements, better fitness and diets, influx of foreign players, proper training facilities etc, the standard of football played at the top level has improved hugely. It is without doubt a better game to watch than 50 years ago.
Not everything about the modern game is good but the spectacle on offer still engenders massive support and passion from local fans up and down the country. Watch a live match on TV and you will see that.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death,” he said. “I don’t like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that.” I think you’ll find that he was joking.
In my long ago youth, the players in my team were born within a bus ride of The Boleyn ground, with the exception of the goalie who was an exotic foreigner – a Sottish lad.
Modern football is just a business, with players having no connection with local people and with the clubs being owned by hedge funds and other, even less salubrious, folk. You have to go down a few divisions to find real football clubs.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

It’s true that football can nurture emotional-political group localities independent of government. A crowd of committed supporters of a team develops its own sub-culture, with its own memes, in-jokes, and intra-group rivalries and it’s all bottom-up. That’s why football fans sometimes say irreverent or, to some ears, downright offensive things that clash with the broader socio-political culture. In the anonymity of the crowd one can say what one likes. That’s why it’s such a threat to naked emperors.

And that’s why, looking back on it, the Tony Blairs of this world in the 1990s went so hard to colonise British football culture, imposing their corporatist “values” on a culture that they couldn’t otherwise control. This was a continuation of Thatcher’s defeat of the miners: an attempt, conscious or not, to destroy working class sub-cultures and sources of independent community strength. The hideous way the authorities demonised blameless working class football fans for Hillsborough, and used that disaster as an excuse to bring in all-seater stadiums so that the masses could be corralled, monitored and controlled was a case in point. The courageous families who persisted in their fight for truth and justice against a denialist, inhuman, cowardly media-judicial-political system that couldn’t bear to admit its own errors offer a shining example of hope for all of those harmed by recent government-sponsored interventions.

For the first time, I personally won’t be taking any interest in this World Cup, an artificial, sanitised corporate event played out in a repressive, intolerant, authoritarian fiefdom riven by inequality and suppression of minorities by millionaire young men “taking the knee” in supposed defence of “social justice”. Which is very sad as I used to love the World Cup and would try to watch almost every game live. It’s just one more thing the global monoculture has taken away from us: but it’s better to let go and move on than to hold on to something that has lost its soul and meaning.

In any case, if Iran’s footballers do well and stir up some bottom-up liberal feeling in their home country, all power to their elbow. But bet your bottom dollar that the Ayatollahs are wise to it and will try to exploit and divert the nationalistic emotions it might arouse in their own favour. It’s what truthless power-mongers of all descriptions do.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Corporate sanitised. Exactly. I don’t watch football but you are describing a toxic culture that now underpins all our pastimes, and more besides. They have even taken over our local shows and museums. We are now presented with an anodyne, anonymous experience and lost the intimacy, idiosyncraticy and soulfulness of our local efforts. Added to that they want everything online which convenient as it maybe also chips away at our autonomy and privacy. The power and wealth of big business whose only denomination is money is so morally bankrupt it is willing to enable Qatar. Shameful doesn’t begin to describe it.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Vici C

I don’t think it is all that bad. Yes big business has captured football. But I do think that this is ultimately a spiritual battle. They, whoever they may be, *want* you to feel hopeless and despondent. Don’t let them. The black fungus of corporatist wokist faux-progressivism that appears to be covering some earnest folk down at your local museum, library or theatre is as wafer thin as cheap wallpaper. Peel it off and you will find good people beneath.

So don’t let *them* win! Instead of watching the World Cup, try going down to your local park and cheering on your local Sunday League side. I’m sure they’d very much appreciate the support.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Vici C

I don’t think it is all that bad. Yes big business has captured football. But I do think that this is ultimately a spiritual battle. They, whoever they may be, *want* you to feel hopeless and despondent. Don’t let them. The black fungus of corporatist wokist faux-progressivism that appears to be covering some earnest folk down at your local museum, library or theatre is as wafer thin as cheap wallpaper. Peel it off and you will find good people beneath.

So don’t let *them* win! Instead of watching the World Cup, try going down to your local park and cheering on your local Sunday League side. I’m sure they’d very much appreciate the support.

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Corporate sanitised. Exactly. I don’t watch football but you are describing a toxic culture that now underpins all our pastimes, and more besides. They have even taken over our local shows and museums. We are now presented with an anodyne, anonymous experience and lost the intimacy, idiosyncraticy and soulfulness of our local efforts. Added to that they want everything online which convenient as it maybe also chips away at our autonomy and privacy. The power and wealth of big business whose only denomination is money is so morally bankrupt it is willing to enable Qatar. Shameful doesn’t begin to describe it.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

It’s true that football can nurture emotional-political group localities independent of government. A crowd of committed supporters of a team develops its own sub-culture, with its own memes, in-jokes, and intra-group rivalries and it’s all bottom-up. That’s why football fans sometimes say irreverent or, to some ears, downright offensive things that clash with the broader socio-political culture. In the anonymity of the crowd one can say what one likes. That’s why it’s such a threat to naked emperors.

And that’s why, looking back on it, the Tony Blairs of this world in the 1990s went so hard to colonise British football culture, imposing their corporatist “values” on a culture that they couldn’t otherwise control. This was a continuation of Thatcher’s defeat of the miners: an attempt, conscious or not, to destroy working class sub-cultures and sources of independent community strength. The hideous way the authorities demonised blameless working class football fans for Hillsborough, and used that disaster as an excuse to bring in all-seater stadiums so that the masses could be corralled, monitored and controlled was a case in point. The courageous families who persisted in their fight for truth and justice against a denialist, inhuman, cowardly media-judicial-political system that couldn’t bear to admit its own errors offer a shining example of hope for all of those harmed by recent government-sponsored interventions.

For the first time, I personally won’t be taking any interest in this World Cup, an artificial, sanitised corporate event played out in a repressive, intolerant, authoritarian fiefdom riven by inequality and suppression of minorities by millionaire young men “taking the knee” in supposed defence of “social justice”. Which is very sad as I used to love the World Cup and would try to watch almost every game live. It’s just one more thing the global monoculture has taken away from us: but it’s better to let go and move on than to hold on to something that has lost its soul and meaning.

In any case, if Iran’s footballers do well and stir up some bottom-up liberal feeling in their home country, all power to their elbow. But bet your bottom dollar that the Ayatollahs are wise to it and will try to exploit and divert the nationalistic emotions it might arouse in their own favour. It’s what truthless power-mongers of all descriptions do.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Thanks for this David, and especially for referencing those courageous Iranian souls who stood up to the mullahs and lost their lives. As a Scot I was pretty upset when Scotland drew with Iran in 1978, effectively knocking out Scotland. As an Anglo Scot of 40 years I support England now, even against Scotland.

But given the import you explain above of football for the Iranian people, and it’s possible political impact if they are successful, I think I may be supporting Iran against England – and not because I’m Scottish!

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Thanks for this David, and especially for referencing those courageous Iranian souls who stood up to the mullahs and lost their lives. As a Scot I was pretty upset when Scotland drew with Iran in 1978, effectively knocking out Scotland. As an Anglo Scot of 40 years I support England now, even against Scotland.

But given the import you explain above of football for the Iranian people, and it’s possible political impact if they are successful, I think I may be supporting Iran against England – and not because I’m Scottish!

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

Since The Big Match and the FA Cup final was the only soccer we could watch on TV in Australia growing up, and the fact that Australia is a minnow and virtually never featured in the World Cup, I always used to barrack for England. To a lesser degree I still follow England, but now that Australia, despite being pretty pox bar 2006, is a regular attendee, I naturally follow the green & gold. I expect us to get punted in the group stage, but you never know. Hope springs, etc. I do of course dream about the day when we beat England in the WC, but I can’t see that happening this year.
Australian soccer internationals are a big deal here now. And that’s in spite of our fanatical attachment to Rugby x 2 (NSW & Queensland) and Aussie Rules (Victoria, SA, WA and Tasmania), as well as a borderline disdain and general ignorance for our local soccer league. I have friends who went to the 2006 WC who reckon our wins in that cup were the biggest sporting moments of their lives.
Anyhoo, good luck England.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Taylor
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

In 1998, I was working in UAE with an Iranian when Australia played Iran in Melbourne in a playoff that would decide qualification. My Iranian colleague swore that Iran would win and Azizi would score. Australia was 2-0 up at half time, manager Terry Venables seemed to think the job was done.
Of course, Iran came from behind thanks to Azizi, to get the away draw that they needed and that was that. My colleague was insufferable for weeks afterwards.

In 2006 I took my boys to Kaiserslautern to see Australia play Italy in the knockout stages.
We wuz robbed. Seriously – we were sitting closer to the “penalty” incident than the ref who was way behind the game and unsighted. Totti scored, the ref blew the whistle to end the game, no restart, and that was that. Italy went on to win the final.

Last edited 1 year ago by nadnadnerb
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

In 1998, I was working in UAE with an Iranian when Australia played Iran in Melbourne in a playoff that would decide qualification. My Iranian colleague swore that Iran would win and Azizi would score. Australia was 2-0 up at half time, manager Terry Venables seemed to think the job was done.
Of course, Iran came from behind thanks to Azizi, to get the away draw that they needed and that was that. My colleague was insufferable for weeks afterwards.

In 2006 I took my boys to Kaiserslautern to see Australia play Italy in the knockout stages.
We wuz robbed. Seriously – we were sitting closer to the “penalty” incident than the ref who was way behind the game and unsighted. Totti scored, the ref blew the whistle to end the game, no restart, and that was that. Italy went on to win the final.

Last edited 1 year ago by nadnadnerb
Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

Since The Big Match and the FA Cup final was the only soccer we could watch on TV in Australia growing up, and the fact that Australia is a minnow and virtually never featured in the World Cup, I always used to barrack for England. To a lesser degree I still follow England, but now that Australia, despite being pretty pox bar 2006, is a regular attendee, I naturally follow the green & gold. I expect us to get punted in the group stage, but you never know. Hope springs, etc. I do of course dream about the day when we beat England in the WC, but I can’t see that happening this year.
Australian soccer internationals are a big deal here now. And that’s in spite of our fanatical attachment to Rugby x 2 (NSW & Queensland) and Aussie Rules (Victoria, SA, WA and Tasmania), as well as a borderline disdain and general ignorance for our local soccer league. I have friends who went to the 2006 WC who reckon our wins in that cup were the biggest sporting moments of their lives.
Anyhoo, good luck England.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tony Taylor
Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago

Why are soccer supporters ignoring the deaths of those who died building the Qatar stadium? And the exploitation of migrant workers?
What a disgusting World Cup this is.

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Why should football fans care when their own government clearly doesn’t?
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-agrees-two-deals-with-major-gulf-trading-partner-qatar#:~:text=Qatar%20is%20an%20important%20trade%20and%20investment%20partner%20for%20Britain.
Actually I think many of them do care and are not ignoring the deaths, just like many Newcastle United supporters are uneasy about their owners. However if it is acceptable to trade with Qatar and Saudi Arabia and send an England team to a World Cup in Qatar, then of course fans will go to the matches.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Up to a point.
Football fans are amongst those who elect governments.
And people like Lineker and Neville, so quick to condemn others, are happy to go.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Burrell

Up to a point.
Football fans are amongst those who elect governments.
And people like Lineker and Neville, so quick to condemn others, are happy to go.

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Sponge
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Do you happen to know how many killed?
I wonder if it exceeds those killed building the Olympic facilities for Athens a few years ago?

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago

A number of reports say 6,500. Qatar Government says 37.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Thanks!
That far exceeds the reported figure and of 400 for Athens.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Thanks!
That far exceeds the reported figure and of 400 for Athens.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago

A number of reports say 6,500. Qatar Government says 37.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

The Qatar air force has bought 24 Rafales, 36 Eurofighters, 36 F-15S.

Each of these deals worth several billions, and worth far more than what was needed to ensure worker safety and compensation for world cup constructions.

But thanks to those deals, Western governments and media will not do a thing for those migrant workers. Besides, those workers were Indians and other South Asians, not victim ethnicities.

And therefore there is no point for ordinary fans to make a big show out of protests etc about the world cup. Doesn’t make any difference.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samir Iker
Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Why should football fans care when their own government clearly doesn’t?
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-agrees-two-deals-with-major-gulf-trading-partner-qatar#:~:text=Qatar%20is%20an%20important%20trade%20and%20investment%20partner%20for%20Britain.
Actually I think many of them do care and are not ignoring the deaths, just like many Newcastle United supporters are uneasy about their owners. However if it is acceptable to trade with Qatar and Saudi Arabia and send an England team to a World Cup in Qatar, then of course fans will go to the matches.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

Do you happen to know how many killed?
I wonder if it exceeds those killed building the Olympic facilities for Athens a few years ago?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

The Qatar air force has bought 24 Rafales, 36 Eurofighters, 36 F-15S.

Each of these deals worth several billions, and worth far more than what was needed to ensure worker safety and compensation for world cup constructions.

But thanks to those deals, Western governments and media will not do a thing for those migrant workers. Besides, those workers were Indians and other South Asians, not victim ethnicities.

And therefore there is no point for ordinary fans to make a big show out of protests etc about the world cup. Doesn’t make any difference.

Last edited 1 year ago by Samir Iker
Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
1 year ago

Why are soccer supporters ignoring the deaths of those who died building the Qatar stadium? And the exploitation of migrant workers?
What a disgusting World Cup this is.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

Perhaps England fans, and England as a whole, should stop poking it’s nose into other people’s affairs.
After all, it was US / UK interference thats at the root of the current horrible regime in Iran. The overthrow of Mossadeq, the support for the awful regime of the Shah (“dictators are absolutely fine as long as they are on our side”), and the tacit support for Iraq when they were clearly the aggressor, and which helped the Ayatollahs to entrench their power .

In fact, is there any region in the middle East where Western involvement – whether support or aggression – result in a positive outcome?
Iraq, Libya, Saudi, Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan….the region wasn’t great to begin with in human rights terms, and it wasn’t exactly the West’s fault, but every action served to mess up the region far more than it was to begin with.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Duplication due to slow censorship.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

If there is any good left in Qatar or its institutions, it comes from the Trucial era.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

When ‘we’ were the paramount power.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I was at Sandhurst with an Al Thani: possibly the most unattractive, disgreeable, idle, shifty, lazy, entitled, indolent member of the human race I have ever encountered: he backhanded one Colour ‘ sarnt Codd, Grenadier Guards with a ” Rolex” for letting him come back one night after the midnight limit… A week later Colour Sarn’t Codd, on the parade ground made Al Thani stamp on and smash with his rifle, said horologe… as Codd had taken it down to the Pawn shop in Camberley only to discover it was a fake! Al Thani’s life was, enjoyably for the rest of us, made hell from then on!!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I was at Sandhurst with an Al Thani: possibly the most unattractive, disgreeable, idle, shifty, lazy, entitled, indolent member of the human race I have ever encountered: he backhanded one Colour ‘ sarnt Codd, Grenadier Guards with a ” Rolex” for letting him come back one night after the midnight limit… A week later Colour Sarn’t Codd, on the parade ground made Al Thani stamp on and smash with his rifle, said horologe… as Codd had taken it down to the Pawn shop in Camberley only to discover it was a fake! Al Thani’s life was, enjoyably for the rest of us, made hell from then on!!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

When ‘we’ were the paramount power.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Haven’t you forgotten Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Israel?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

The pity is, there were lots of places in the middle East that were relatively modern and westernised, Syria and Lebanon, among others.

It is a genuine catastrophe what has happened to the region, not just for them but for the West as well, ironically.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I agree the the Saudi attempt to destabilise Syria with the tacit approval of US was particularly despicable.
Fortunately it seems to have failed.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

I agree the the Saudi attempt to destabilise Syria with the tacit approval of US was particularly despicable.
Fortunately it seems to have failed.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

The pity is, there were lots of places in the middle East that were relatively modern and westernised, Syria and Lebanon, among others.

It is a genuine catastrophe what has happened to the region, not just for them but for the West as well, ironically.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Duplication due to slow censorship.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

If there is any good left in Qatar or its institutions, it comes from the Trucial era.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Haven’t you forgotten Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Israel?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago

Perhaps England fans, and England as a whole, should stop poking it’s nose into other people’s affairs.
After all, it was US / UK interference thats at the root of the current horrible regime in Iran. The overthrow of Mossadeq, the support for the awful regime of the Shah (“dictators are absolutely fine as long as they are on our side”), and the tacit support for Iraq when they were clearly the aggressor, and which helped the Ayatollahs to entrench their power .

In fact, is there any region in the middle East where Western involvement – whether support or aggression – result in a positive outcome?
Iraq, Libya, Saudi, Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan….the region wasn’t great to begin with in human rights terms, and it wasn’t exactly the West’s fault, but every action served to mess up the region far more than it was to begin with.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Surely the best solution would be for both teams to qualify from the group and progress to the next stage. David neglects to mention England’s more recent progressions to the semis (last World Cup) and the final itself (Euros, just last year). Not sure we’re likely to do as well in Qatar, where the regime disgraces the tournament.

But if the Iranian team is as good as its world ranking suggests, it has every chance of progression too, and if that aids the ignition of freedom which Iranians crave from their evil state actors, i’ll be supporting them as David suggests. After Monday.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Agreed. The worse Wales’s football team can do, the better it’ll be for rugby retaining its rightful place as #1 sport there.

And as for the US – well, Iran beating the USA would just be banter at this point.

Tom Watson
Tom Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Agreed. The worse Wales’s football team can do, the better it’ll be for rugby retaining its rightful place as #1 sport there.

And as for the US – well, Iran beating the USA would just be banter at this point.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

Surely the best solution would be for both teams to qualify from the group and progress to the next stage. David neglects to mention England’s more recent progressions to the semis (last World Cup) and the final itself (Euros, just last year). Not sure we’re likely to do as well in Qatar, where the regime disgraces the tournament.

But if the Iranian team is as good as its world ranking suggests, it has every chance of progression too, and if that aids the ignition of freedom which Iranians crave from their evil state actors, i’ll be supporting them as David suggests. After Monday.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago

Fully agree with your excellent description of the excruciating frustration of being an England (and a Tottenham) fan. It’s a kind of sado-masochistic thing that we put ourselves through every four years, but frankly even hope has been snuffed out this time by the mediocrity of the team Southgate has produced and the lack of ambition in the style of football they play.
I hope that Messi at last gets the trophy that his career deserves, but on the way I’d like to see Iran do well. The North Korean team became heroes in 1966, although their successes were used for propaganda purposes by another despicable regime. Maybe this time Iranian success can be the catalyst for regime change as you suggest. The liberation of the people of this great civilisation would be a huge benefit for the world at large.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rocky Martiano
Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

I agree that in the build up it seems there has been none of the usual hyping up England’s chances, but I suspect a good result in the first match will send the ‘it’s coming home’ coverage into overdrive!
Messi has won everything he deserved – neither he or his country have deserved better results in recent world cups. But I still haven’t forgiven Argentina for its brutal invasion and occupation of a tiny bit of the South Atlantic, so can only wish them ill luck!
As for my support, I’d like to see Wales get through the group stage with England, but if not, yes, I’d like to see Iran do well, especially as the players are supporting the protests.

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

I agree that in the build up it seems there has been none of the usual hyping up England’s chances, but I suspect a good result in the first match will send the ‘it’s coming home’ coverage into overdrive!
Messi has won everything he deserved – neither he or his country have deserved better results in recent world cups. But I still haven’t forgiven Argentina for its brutal invasion and occupation of a tiny bit of the South Atlantic, so can only wish them ill luck!
As for my support, I’d like to see Wales get through the group stage with England, but if not, yes, I’d like to see Iran do well, especially as the players are supporting the protests.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
1 year ago

Fully agree with your excellent description of the excruciating frustration of being an England (and a Tottenham) fan. It’s a kind of sado-masochistic thing that we put ourselves through every four years, but frankly even hope has been snuffed out this time by the mediocrity of the team Southgate has produced and the lack of ambition in the style of football they play.
I hope that Messi at last gets the trophy that his career deserves, but on the way I’d like to see Iran do well. The North Korean team became heroes in 1966, although their successes were used for propaganda purposes by another despicable regime. Maybe this time Iranian success can be the catalyst for regime change as you suggest. The liberation of the people of this great civilisation would be a huge benefit for the world at large.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rocky Martiano
Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

I remember sitting by the coal fire at my uncle’s, listening to the results and wondering, by the inflexion of the presenter’s voice, if it was win lose or draw. In those days people playing for a club actually were born and raised there. Tribalism was rooted and pure and not attached to some arbitrary name. Did it go to the bad when it turned professional and players were bought and sold like slaves?

Vici C
Vici C
1 year ago

I remember sitting by the coal fire at my uncle’s, listening to the results and wondering, by the inflexion of the presenter’s voice, if it was win lose or draw. In those days people playing for a club actually were born and raised there. Tribalism was rooted and pure and not attached to some arbitrary name. Did it go to the bad when it turned professional and players were bought and sold like slaves?

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
1 year ago

This sport, this very male sport, this very male space so ferociously fought for, to the extent of banning women from playing, yes banned in this country, Britain, as recently as the 20th century is a bastion of masculinity in all its forms. Football is Testosterone on Stilts where all men, gay or otherwise, can be boys forever, at least while the game lasts. No use asking them to stand up for Iran, ‘What’s with those women fussing about a hijab? We have women here in the UK quite happy to wear them?’ So what’s the fuss? These football hypocrites would have burst happily into Qatar ignoring its misogyny if the male gay community hadn’t shouted about their image there.
This is about men, all kinds of men, and no, they are not interested in women’s rights. If men were interested in women’s rights they would not play cricket with Pakistan, a country that practices sexual terrorism, nor with India which excels in female infanticide and violent rape.
No the outrage around Qatar is about men, specifically about men.
And by the way, Mr Patrikarakos, the brave women’s fight for freedom in Iran is sadly likely to go the way of the Spring Uprising as it has no leader. If it should get a leader, then it’s most likely to be a male, and I fear like the one you’ve suggested. The consequence will be as always; when men seek freedom and get it, they expect the women to go back into the bedroom and the kitchen. Evidence? It’s here in the UK which is full of people who have fled from oppression and then when they settled down they maintain the oppression of their women.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Perhaps someone can inform me as to why homosexual acts by adults with boys, so long as they are under 12, is allowed in ” certain” muslim countries, as our Soldiers in Afghanistan discovered to their horror? and why this NEVER ever gets mentioned or discussed in or by ‘ the meeja” or indeed any politicians?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Perhaps someone can inform me as to why homosexual acts by adults with boys, so long as they are under 12, is allowed in ” certain” muslim countries, as our Soldiers in Afghanistan discovered to their horror? and why this NEVER ever gets mentioned or discussed in or by ‘ the meeja” or indeed any politicians?

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
1 year ago

This sport, this very male sport, this very male space so ferociously fought for, to the extent of banning women from playing, yes banned in this country, Britain, as recently as the 20th century is a bastion of masculinity in all its forms. Football is Testosterone on Stilts where all men, gay or otherwise, can be boys forever, at least while the game lasts. No use asking them to stand up for Iran, ‘What’s with those women fussing about a hijab? We have women here in the UK quite happy to wear them?’ So what’s the fuss? These football hypocrites would have burst happily into Qatar ignoring its misogyny if the male gay community hadn’t shouted about their image there.
This is about men, all kinds of men, and no, they are not interested in women’s rights. If men were interested in women’s rights they would not play cricket with Pakistan, a country that practices sexual terrorism, nor with India which excels in female infanticide and violent rape.
No the outrage around Qatar is about men, specifically about men.
And by the way, Mr Patrikarakos, the brave women’s fight for freedom in Iran is sadly likely to go the way of the Spring Uprising as it has no leader. If it should get a leader, then it’s most likely to be a male, and I fear like the one you’ve suggested. The consequence will be as always; when men seek freedom and get it, they expect the women to go back into the bedroom and the kitchen. Evidence? It’s here in the UK which is full of people who have fled from oppression and then when they settled down they maintain the oppression of their women.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

The Iranian people deserve a break from their evil theocratic regime. Let them enjoy their football in an international competition.
There is an uprising in Iran against the religious lunatics that run the country. An uprising against the people who hang 14 year old girls who have been raped and are therefore “impure”.
The Iranian people are the best educated and the most liberal people (liberal not left wing)
in the M E.
Most Iranians would welcome Western support. The evil theocratic regime needs to go, just as the CCP needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Western politicians are cowards.

Stoater D
Stoater D
1 year ago

The Iranian people deserve a break from their evil theocratic regime. Let them enjoy their football in an international competition.
There is an uprising in Iran against the religious lunatics that run the country. An uprising against the people who hang 14 year old girls who have been raped and are therefore “impure”.
The Iranian people are the best educated and the most liberal people (liberal not left wing)
in the M E.
Most Iranians would welcome Western support. The evil theocratic regime needs to go, just as the CCP needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history.
Western politicians are cowards.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I hope the England fans have a few pints for me in the Aluak bar of the ” Severed Arms”… beer in there has a nice head in it…

james goater
james goater
1 year ago

Outrageous! (My congratulations).

james goater
james goater
1 year ago

Outrageous! (My congratulations).

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

I hope the England fans have a few pints for me in the Aluak bar of the ” Severed Arms”… beer in there has a nice head in it…

M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago

Would it be too much to ask for English people (and all the other Anglo-nations really) not to use every single facet of their culture to push for either regime change or cultural imperialism (today by way of wokeness, not too long ago by talking about “freedom and democracy”) in places they should have no interest in? Wouldn’t that be refreshing for a change?
I have nothing good to say about Iran, but honestly the Ayatollahs have the Amero-British war machine to thank for their stranglehold on the nation, so how about you don’t stick your fingers where they don’t belong for once? I recall people doing this with the Arab spring and that obviously turned out marvelously – Libya now has the worlds finest open air slave markets! I wonder why we don’t hear more about this roaring interventionist success…
Much like the author, I grew up between two worlds, since I come from one of the countries the US “saved” and I can tell you their intervention might have halted the bloodletting, but it hasn’t improved anything on the ground and chances are it won’t last once the “US-led world order” starts crumbling in earnest.
If the Iranian people topple the current regime then that’s great, but honestly doing it with anything approximating western support is not a price worth paying, because the Iranian people wouldn’t actually be free then, just trading religious zealot overlords for, well, “secular” quasi-religious zealot overlords. And besides, they’d probably be in the same situation they’re in now 50-100 years down the line, or even sooner, just look at Afghanistan.

Last edited 1 year ago by M Lux
elaine chambers
elaine chambers
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

Is it culturally imperialistic to want women to have human rights? I personally think it’s simply a moral imperative.

M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago

Ahh yes, moral imperatives and human rights, the things western governments say when they go in and destroy people, nations and regions for generations – again, just look at Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
I’m not saying these places are (or rather were) especially nice places to live, particularly when compared to what you might be used to, but it’s an act of incredible hubris to just assume that everything will get better once you topple a government that’s been in place for 40+ years. I mean, have you even looked at what American “nation-building” has accomplished in the region?
Iraq’s “government” is a jigsaw of sectarians, most of which you would very likely disapprove of. Syria is basically partitioned between Turkey, the US and Russia. I hope I don’t have to explain what happened in Afghanistan to you and in Libya they are SELLING PEOPLE like meat after the US came in with it’s support for “human rights”. Furthermore, these places had relatively progressive stances towards women (for the region), aside from Afghanistan, but of course then the US/UK axis of “human rights and democracy” came in and put all that to rights.
Why in the world would you think Iran would be different? Do you know how many ethnic groups they have? And how many of these overlap with their neighbors, which aren’t exactly the nicest or most stable places either and might consider this a good opportunity for a land grab?
Opinions like yours are exactly the problem. You say these things because in an abstract sense they are very nice and principled things to say and because it costs you nothing. But what you don’t realize is that people like you fuel interventionism and that in turn provokes reprisals (bombings, assassinations and extremism) and then people are somehow surprised and outraged that someone would dare lay a finger on your pretty cities and concert halls, because after all you just want what’s best for them (because apparently you all know better, which is why the UK is such a perfect place to live… OH NO WAIT).
And finally, when the terrorists do attack, you’ll be turning up to say how terrible these people are and that there should be a regime change, again…
So I say again, please stop talking about things you know nothing about and don’t pretend you’re doing this to help. If you want to do that, start a charity or women’s rescue operation or whatever soothes your ego, but please don’t talk about wanting to improve some theoretical woman’s life halfway across the world, by tweeting/commenting/talking about it, because you’re helping accomplish the exact opposite.

Phil Mack
Phil Mack
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

Game, set and match.

Phil Mack
Phil Mack
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

Game, set and match.

M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago

Ahh yes, moral imperatives and human rights, the things western governments say when they go in and destroy people, nations and regions for generations – again, just look at Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
I’m not saying these places are (or rather were) especially nice places to live, particularly when compared to what you might be used to, but it’s an act of incredible hubris to just assume that everything will get better once you topple a government that’s been in place for 40+ years. I mean, have you even looked at what American “nation-building” has accomplished in the region?
Iraq’s “government” is a jigsaw of sectarians, most of which you would very likely disapprove of. Syria is basically partitioned between Turkey, the US and Russia. I hope I don’t have to explain what happened in Afghanistan to you and in Libya they are SELLING PEOPLE like meat after the US came in with it’s support for “human rights”. Furthermore, these places had relatively progressive stances towards women (for the region), aside from Afghanistan, but of course then the US/UK axis of “human rights and democracy” came in and put all that to rights.
Why in the world would you think Iran would be different? Do you know how many ethnic groups they have? And how many of these overlap with their neighbors, which aren’t exactly the nicest or most stable places either and might consider this a good opportunity for a land grab?
Opinions like yours are exactly the problem. You say these things because in an abstract sense they are very nice and principled things to say and because it costs you nothing. But what you don’t realize is that people like you fuel interventionism and that in turn provokes reprisals (bombings, assassinations and extremism) and then people are somehow surprised and outraged that someone would dare lay a finger on your pretty cities and concert halls, because after all you just want what’s best for them (because apparently you all know better, which is why the UK is such a perfect place to live… OH NO WAIT).
And finally, when the terrorists do attack, you’ll be turning up to say how terrible these people are and that there should be a regime change, again…
So I say again, please stop talking about things you know nothing about and don’t pretend you’re doing this to help. If you want to do that, start a charity or women’s rescue operation or whatever soothes your ego, but please don’t talk about wanting to improve some theoretical woman’s life halfway across the world, by tweeting/commenting/talking about it, because you’re helping accomplish the exact opposite.

elaine chambers
elaine chambers
1 year ago
Reply to  M Lux

Is it culturally imperialistic to want women to have human rights? I personally think it’s simply a moral imperative.

M Lux
M Lux
1 year ago

Would it be too much to ask for English people (and all the other Anglo-nations really) not to use every single facet of their culture to push for either regime change or cultural imperialism (today by way of wokeness, not too long ago by talking about “freedom and democracy”) in places they should have no interest in? Wouldn’t that be refreshing for a change?
I have nothing good to say about Iran, but honestly the Ayatollahs have the Amero-British war machine to thank for their stranglehold on the nation, so how about you don’t stick your fingers where they don’t belong for once? I recall people doing this with the Arab spring and that obviously turned out marvelously – Libya now has the worlds finest open air slave markets! I wonder why we don’t hear more about this roaring interventionist success…
Much like the author, I grew up between two worlds, since I come from one of the countries the US “saved” and I can tell you their intervention might have halted the bloodletting, but it hasn’t improved anything on the ground and chances are it won’t last once the “US-led world order” starts crumbling in earnest.
If the Iranian people topple the current regime then that’s great, but honestly doing it with anything approximating western support is not a price worth paying, because the Iranian people wouldn’t actually be free then, just trading religious zealot overlords for, well, “secular” quasi-religious zealot overlords. And besides, they’d probably be in the same situation they’re in now 50-100 years down the line, or even sooner, just look at Afghanistan.

Last edited 1 year ago by M Lux
Sara Dylan
Sara Dylan
1 year ago

Who do you think will come into power if the current government in Iran is ‘toppled’? Some western-style democracy? More likely an even more extreme Islamic group like MEK which will result in more chaos and suffering for the people of Iran, especially women.

Ill-informed international interference is not helpful, and potentially harmful to the situation there. Let the Iranians sort it out for themselves. No need for this white-saviour-complex patronising narrative to be perpetuated.

Deli
Deli
1 year ago
Reply to  Sara Dylan

so we should live in misery in fear of MEK? no thank you. And his narrative is still completely wrong because the people of Iran no longer support their national team and have asked the world to help them. and by help i dont mean government interference but organizations such as UN penalizing Iran.

Deli
Deli
1 year ago
Reply to  Sara Dylan

so we should live in misery in fear of MEK? no thank you. And his narrative is still completely wrong because the people of Iran no longer support their national team and have asked the world to help them. and by help i dont mean government interference but organizations such as UN penalizing Iran.

Sara Dylan
Sara Dylan
1 year ago

Who do you think will come into power if the current government in Iran is ‘toppled’? Some western-style democracy? More likely an even more extreme Islamic group like MEK which will result in more chaos and suffering for the people of Iran, especially women.

Ill-informed international interference is not helpful, and potentially harmful to the situation there. Let the Iranians sort it out for themselves. No need for this white-saviour-complex patronising narrative to be perpetuated.

Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
1 year ago

Football results have got to be essentially random, for if the same teams kept winning people would eventually cry foul. However, if fans want to spend thousands to stay in a plastic tent in the desert, that’s a religion that neither prescribes nor proscribes. Tying your mast to the colours of a football team is an exercise of freedom par excellence (though fans may not always know what they are signing to). Richard Feynman said you cannot fool nature. In the long run, you cannot fool human nature either.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
1 year ago

Football results have got to be essentially random, for if the same teams kept winning people would eventually cry foul. However, if fans want to spend thousands to stay in a plastic tent in the desert, that’s a religion that neither prescribes nor proscribes. Tying your mast to the colours of a football team is an exercise of freedom par excellence (though fans may not always know what they are signing to). Richard Feynman said you cannot fool nature. In the long run, you cannot fool human nature either.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas Taylor
Tom Scott
Tom Scott
1 year ago

Sorry David.
An interesting idea, but I will be supporting England in every game.

Deli
Deli
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Scott

I think something that is grossly being ignored is, that while Iranians live and breathe football, We DONT want our national team to win. If you look at the fans this year compared to other years it’s horribly less than all time even tho it’s in a neighbouring country where we can easily go to. They have abandoned their people by normalizing the regime and shaking hands with murderers and no matter how many of them refuse to sing the anthem it won’t change the fact that Iranians were cheering every time England scored a goal. So by supporting England, for all intents and purposes you were supporting the people of Iran too. This guy doesn’t know a thing about Iran and how our people were begging for Iran to be eliminated.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

The irony is, of course that it is difficult to know whether the England fans dislike the LGBT mob or the Muslims more!!!… I forsee some street and stadium battles that will be beyond what the Quataris even imagined, and I do hope that they will be televised… without adverts or commentary?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I wonder if Quarar beheads malefactors like next door Saudi Arabia?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Duplication.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Phil white
Phil white
1 year ago

You have never been to a football match have you

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil white

Yes, including World Cup finals and semi finals.. What brought that comment on?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil white

Yes, including World Cup finals and semi finals.. What brought that comment on?

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago

The revolution will be televised?

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago

Southampton fans (OK, scum to Pompey fans) used to show their appreciation of their favourite striker by ‘praying to Mecca’. Would this be considered ‘cultural appropriation’ today?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I wonder if Quarar beheads malefactors like next door Saudi Arabia?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Duplication.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Phil white
Phil white
1 year ago

You have never been to a football match have you

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago

The revolution will be televised?

Roger Inkpen
Roger Inkpen
1 year ago

Southampton fans (OK, scum to Pompey fans) used to show their appreciation of their favourite striker by ‘praying to Mecca’. Would this be considered ‘cultural appropriation’ today?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

The irony is, of course that it is difficult to know whether the England fans dislike the LGBT mob or the Muslims more!!!… I forsee some street and stadium battles that will be beyond what the Quataris even imagined, and I do hope that they will be televised… without adverts or commentary?