The Egyptians dispensed with the life of their slaves in the construction of the pyramids as if they were nothing but throw-away products before that had even been invented in the modern day and age in which we live. Today, Qatar is doing the self-same thing. There are 1.2 million migrant workers (the vast majority of them are in the construction industry) in Qatar and they are working flat out under the pressure of the Qataris to get the country ready to host the 2022 World Cup. But, those modern-day slaves are set to die at the rate of a dozen every week before the projects get finalized. That means there will be 600 deaths every year related to the construction of stadiums and infrastructure for a leather ball that will be kicked around a field for the pleasure of the millions that will be ready to watch the matches played in 9 years.
Not only has Qatar hit the headlines in recent months for keeping westerners hostage in the country under the strange laws of maintaining workers under almost hostage-like conditions because they are refused their passports and cannot leave the country unless their sponsors give the green light and allow them to do so.
Now, the richest country in the world is also getting itself into hot water because the workers that are from Nepal and India and that have been brought in to do the dirty work in 50°C-temperatures are dropping like flies. But, the Qatari government seems as if it has very little concern over the poor people dying. Is it money that means that life can be dispensed with a will? Or is it that the Qatari government really only lends any importance to their own infrastructure rather than life of the Nepalese and Indian migrant workers?
Half a million extra workers will be needed in the next few years in order for the whistle to be blown around the world for the games to begin on time. Those workers will be primarily from India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Investigations have shown by the International Trade Union Confederation that autopsies are rarely performed and that deaths are almost systematically put down to heart failure. The majority of the twelve deaths per week in the country on construction sites for migrant workers are due to heart failure? Is that catching?
1. Cramped accommodation in which the migrants are housed and the squalid living conditions are part of the reason why the migrants are dying.
2. They have been forced into labor and to work in temperatures that would boil your brain.
3. As with all migrant workers, salaries are retained by the sponsors that are necessary in order to find work in the country and passports are confiscated to stop them leaving the country.
4. Reports have shown that between June and August there were 44 deaths of Nepalese migrants working in the construction industry on the building sites of the World Cup.
5. Perhaps the fact that the government of Qatar has been withholding free drinking water to the workers might have something to do with it.
6. How do they expect workers to pay for water when their salaries have been withheld too?
Recently there were 30 Nepalese migrant workers that demanded to be granted a safe haven in their country’s embassy and to be helped to return home. They left and were not paid.
82 Indian workers lost their lives in the first half of this year and there have been nearly 1, 500 complaints that have been lodged with the Indian Embassy in Doha. In 2010 and over a two-year period there were over 700 deaths recorded for Indian workers alone.
While the migrant workers are dying the Qatari government is spending the princely sum of over $99.67 billion on the building of infrastructure to host the World Cup. Why isn’t the governing body of football (FIFA) doing anything to stop this modern form of slavery when it has been informed of the situation already? The Qatari government is doing very little to rectify anything.
A spokesman issued a statement on behalf of the Qatar 2022 organizing committee which said: “The health, safety, wellbeing and dignity of every worker that contributes to staging the 2022 FIFA World Cup is of the utmost importance to our committee and we are committed to ensuring that the event serves as a catalyst toward creating sustainable improvements to the lives of all workers in Qatar”.
There is one thing being appalled by the deaths that are occurring at an average rate of one every day at the moment and actually doing something about it.
Some experts believe that if the Qatar government doesn’t react to change the situation in the very near future, then the migrant workers will revolt and the heavy reliance on that workforce will mean that construction will come to a halt.
In 2013 the Qatari government needs to change its attitude towards migrant workers that make up the staple component of their economy, without which they would not be able to function. However, those workers are considered as invisible and disposable components that are simply to be replaced like spare parts. Any economy that doesn’t believe that workers are equally as important as the capital that is spent on investment will fail. The Qataris are living in a prehistoric age in which they consider the working masses to be exploited, used, abused and replaced all free of charge.
When the Qatar 2022 committee was asked why so many Nepalese died from heart-attacks the answer provided was: “This question would be better suited for the relevant health authorities or the government of Nepal.”
The spokesman for the government stated that “The Ministry of Labour is committed to ensuring that all workers are treated in a fair and just manner.”
The World Cup is nothing or at least has very little to do with kicking a ball about the field these days. It has everything to do with revamping a derelict site in a city or showcasing the wonders of modern technology to show the world just how wealthy you are. It has everything to do with regenerating sites and cities. Football’s governing body holds nobody to account, not even itself. After all, how could it? That would be impossible especially when it too demands that South Africa tear down a football stadium and have it rebuilt elsewhere because the view of Table Mountain in Cape Town isn’t good enough for them.
As the world sits back in the recliner chairs, with the crates of beers at the ready, the pretzels and the popcorn to gorge themselves on, I wonder how many people will actually imagine just how many migrant workers have been lowered into the ground or incinerated after dying from supposed heart-attacks, not even granted the dignity of an autopsy by the Qataris. That would have cost too much and they can be replaced anyhow, can’t they?
Source: To The Tick at http://www.tothetick.com/qatars-slave-trade-death-toll