Christina/ December 22, 2010/ Culture

“I love my Germans” Qatar’s ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Chalifa Al Thani was quoted to have said on the phone when talking to the German architect Albert Speer right after he received the good news that Qatar will be home of the World Cup in 2022 (cf. Spiegel magazine 50/2010:136).

The label “Made in Germany” has a good reputation in the Arabic World and especially in the Gulf region where people can afford German engineering art. Not only due to that reason Qatar might have decided to invest in such renowned German companies such as Porsche, Hochtief or Volkswagen. With its LPG-deposits Qatar owns one of the biggest sovereign wealth funds of the world and wants to invest it appropriately.

Esteem or exchange on eye-level between the West-Eastern divan does not seem to be existing yet. A glance at the media coverage that ranges from astonishment to lack of understanding makes it clear: Qatar was hardly on anybodys schedule.

The whole world has been scared off

The German renowned magazine “Der Spiegel” expects the whole world to be scared off by the Fifa’s decision (cf. Spiegel, 50/2010:135). Who is meant by the “whole” world? Is that not rather the western hemisphere which claims the world domination at least since its colonial rule?

Consequently the article states that “it is a scandal for all who think that soccer belongs to Europe and its former colonies”.

The arab, or shall I say the muslim, seem not to be able to please the “christian” Europeans. If he appears in Europe he is supposed to be the non-integrable man who forces his sister or daugther to accept a forced marriage. And even in his own country, if he symbolizes progress and poaches in western entitled territories than it is a scandal and the region equals “geopolitical darkness”.

Portrayal within the media and in school books essential

In fact one of the strongest concerns seems to be the lack of beer and Bratwurst during the tournament. So, it is not about soccer itself but just like in Wimbledon about earthly pleasures such as strawberrys and cream, in the case of the Wimbledon tournament?

But where is the problem? Is it that the World Cup takes place in a country of a different cultural area? Did that hamper anybody to enjoy soccer in 2002 when South Korea was hosting the games or in 1982 in Mexiko? Plus, how about all the big deals for German construction companies which will profit from the games in Qatar?

In an interview with the German “Focus” magazine (50/2010:48-50) Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan stated that terrorism in the region could be prevented by information in the media within the region, in school books and through integration programms in Europe. Does that also hold truth for the intercultural dialogue between peoples and more openess towards a initially alien culture which is unfortunately often communicated through stereotypes?

According to the scientist Ramadan Tariq from Oxford the appearance of the alien is decisive for the European fears towards Islam. It is about the visibility of a religion which wants to be part of the whole. So let’s deal with it – globalisation has reached the cities not only the pockets of big companies.

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