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Quiet in Qatar...?

Some artists refused to perform at the World Cup because of the lack of support for migrant workers and LGBTQ citizens.

By Abhiveer Singh

The World Cup grabs attention from countries all over the world, and many look forward to the intense competition. An event of such magnitude brings in requests for well-known celebrities, such as Shakira, Jenifer Lopez and The Black Eyed Peas, to perform for the opening ceremony. Performing in front of billions of people is an aspiration for many artists, but for the 2022 World Cup, some celebrities put their morals before their dreams.

Many singers turned down the opportunity to perform in Qatar, with one reason being the treatment of the migrant workers who built the infrastructure. Reports have emerged in recent months claiming that the World Cup has resulted in the deaths of over 6,000 workers. Most of them traveled to Qatar from South Asia in the hopes of making money and being able to support their families. However, these workers had their passports taken from them and had months of their salary withheld.

Singers refused to perform not only due to this treatment, but also because of Qatar’s lack of support for the LGBTQ community. Expression of homosexuality is not welcome in the country, and many felt it was not right to perform there because of this. Therefore, Rod Steward, Dua Lipa and Shakira declined appearing at the World Cup this year.

Artwork by Shadia Zayer

Many artists flip off the microphone switch in order to stand up for those suffering in Qatar.

"I think that there is no amount of entertainment worth a human life, and it would have been better to plan out the event ahead of time and source labels in more ethical ways," junior Matthew Roshan said.

"I believe it was the right decision because of how much suffering the workers had to go through and because of the many deaths of the workers who went there to work," junior Ileana Fernandez said.

Even though numerous musicians pulled out of the World Cup, there was still an opening ceremony. Jungkook from the K-Pop boy band, BTS, decided to perform and play his song "Dreamers." However, this created discourse and controversy amongst the media. Many believed that his decision to perform was ethically wrong due to the reasons the other artists refused. Others found it hypocritical because Jungkook spoke at the UN about inspiring young people to make a change, but he still chose to perform in a country that some report violates human rights.

"I like Jungkook and his music, but his decision to play at the World Cup puts him in a difficult spot because of how influential he is and the history of what it took for the World Cup to occur in Qatar," junior Vincent Jiang said.


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