Qatar kicks off the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Ecuador early Sunday morning Pacific time. If the Qatari ruling class can resist the urge to create an international incident for a few weeks after that — a tall order, given that it’s already threatening journalists and banning beer — then its decadelong bet will pay off. A country the size of Connecticut with a depraved human rights record will have bribed and enslaved its way into its long-sought and totally unearned air of legitimacy.
The Qatar World Cup is the most destructive, most indefensible sporting event in modern history. Before a single game has even been played, this is already a travesty of unparalleled proportions. Every awful trend of the 21st century is converging at once. Take global warming, for instance: We’re witnessing either a preview of the worst-case scenario of our impending climate apocalypse or just … the climate apocalypse realized.