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Humanity on display

  • 05 December 2022
Welcome to 'Stray Thoughts', where the Eureka Street editorial team muses on ethical and social challenges we've noted throughout the week.  There’s a World Cup on at the moment. You’d be forgiven for not paying attention. One of the bonuses of living here in Australia it’s much easier to ignore events that are taking place while you’re sleeping. You could also be forgiven for boycotting it. There are plenty of reasons for doing so: The FIFA corruption in the awarding the competition to Qatar in the first place; the poor and unsafe conditions imposed on migrant workers in building the facilities required to run the competition; the enormous cost and environmental impact of those facilities; the terrible record of the Qatari Government on LGBTQI+ and other human rights issues issues; and FIFA caving at the last minute to prevent players showing their support for LGBTQI+ people with ‘One Love’ armbands.

I had no intention of watching the event after Australia’s bid to host was rejected in favour of hosting the tournament in a desert in the middle of summer (as it was proposed to be at that stage). All of the stories that emerged in the lead-up to the event were just further evidence of how disastrous the decision was.

And yet, here I am, cheering on Australia as we make the round of 16 after winning two of the three games in our group — our best group stage result ever.

This team wasn’t expected to do anything in the competition. Our big name players are too old or too young. Many of our players are plying their trade away from European competitions — our game-winning scorer against Tunisia, Mitchell Duke, is playing in the Japanese second division. Denmark this week our team was against players from Manchester United, Barcelona, AC Milan, Leeds, Tottenham and Sevilla — and we won. It’s been an amazing story so far.

There have also been other beautiful moments. Some stunning goals on the pitch, and fans showing the best of humanity off the pitch. I particularly liked the footage of the Japanese fans cleaning up their rubbish in the stands following their country’s 2-0 win against Germany. It’s the sort of example that might inspire global concern for our impact on the world around us, as nations struggle to act together to prevent environmental catastrophe.


'It seems that, despite efforts of people behind the scenes to focus attention solely on the pitch, humanity is on full display at this World Cup.'