Al-Ahram Weekly Online   9 - 15 December 2010
Issue No. 1026
Reader's corner
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Readers' corner

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Obama misspeaks

Sir-- I thought I misheard President Obama's response to FIFA's decision selecting Qatar over an American bid to host the 2022 World Cup. But it's true. For the world's superpower to say the decision was the wrong one is laden with potentially harmful repercussions for the US.

What's wrong with awarding the World Cup 2022 to Qatar, Mr President? The last time I checked, this tiny island in the Arabian Gulf was a close ally of the United States with a large US military base and where Americans are considered honoured guests. What message are you sending Mr President to the leaders of this country, to the Arab and Muslim worlds? Is FIFA's decision wrong because the games will be held in an Arab Muslim country?

Accusations of bribery and anti-Americanism are the pathetic weapons of sore losers. Casting doubt on the world body's decision demonstrates our hypocrisy in promoting the democratic choices of other peoples and governments. Had FIFA chosen the US, would we remain silent to and accepting of the baseless allegations of bribery and favouritism?

Qatar ranked first in all the prequalifying stages. Being an Arab Muslim nation is a plus to hosting a game in a country and a region where the sport is supremely loved. And Qatar will set world records in providing world class infrastructure and sports venues. In fact, Qatar will and for the second time host the Asia Cup and it has declared that all nations including Israel may participate in the Games.

Thank God, you have a secretary of state who has tried to massage your insult by sending her congratulations to Qatar. I hope the people of Qatar will extend their usually gracious and forgiving hand.

I give our president a big F for flunking the diplomatic test. You may be an amateur baseball player but football (soccer) and world diplomacy seem to be not within your reach, Mr President.

Aref Assaf
President, American Arab Forum
New Jersey


Sir-- It seems to me that the voting system for the World Cup would have been perfectly acceptable if the results had gone the way certain people wanted them to. But since it didn't, now the losers want to cry bribe, foul, and anything else they can think of. Nobody asked them to go to Russia or Qatar. If they want to stay home and throw their little tantrum because they didn't get picked, I say go right ahead. They're only going to make themselves look like the petulant children they are.

Abdullah Al-Maeena

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