The Calling Qatar 2022

The Calling

Khalifa International Stadium.
Khalifa International Stadium

I have only, after the event, found out that the opening ceremony was not shown on television back home. I referred to the speech made, a copy of which I have now found.

"We sent out the call because everyone is welcome. This is an invitation to the whole world. I remember, even after hearing the call, instead of seeing another way, we dismissed it and demanded our own way. And now the world feels even more distant and divided. How can so many countries, languages and cultures come together, if only one way is accepted?"

Iran badge.

So today the first match I went to see was Iran against England at the Khalifa International Stadium in Group B. I managed to speak to two Iranian women one from Stockholm and the other from Shiraz, Iran. They were brave enough to speak to me, even though they were conscious they were being watched.

They spoke of the horrors going on right now in Iran. All they want is freedom and democracy and in this process people are being killed. One had "Islamic Republic" crossed out on her Iranian badge as a defiant symbol, pointing out that they no longer wanted to be the Islamic Republic.

Iranian female fan.

I had read that the Iranian government had sent some 8,000 supporters. They confirmed that this was true but explained they regarded these people as "mozdoor". I did not understand this phrase and they explained that it meant paid mercenaries. The women would be wearing the hijab and they carried flags with sticks as they were handed out en masse. These people are here to intimidate the free-speaking Iranians and support the current regime. It is clear to me from these women's defiance that they as a younger generation are demanding change, with the bravery they show I hope they get it quickly.

They asked me if I was unhappy about the ban on alcohol. They confirmed that they drank. They explained, like the rule of naughty children, that anything that they were not allowed to do, they did. I was surprised to hear this, and they explained that despite the strict crack-down that they had their ways.

Going back to "mozdoor" they explained it meant a traitor to the people oppressed by the regime thugs. I looked up the English translation and found it meant an unskilled labourer. Whilst they said that this was not the exact translation to me it all fits.

I thought holding hands was banned.
I thought holding hands was banned

Qatar 2022

Qatar 50/50

Qatar v Ecuador - Opening Match

Qatar is the World's Cup

Hotels in Doha

Images of Qatar

Knockouts

Offside Technology

Opening Ceremony

Open Stadiums in Iran

Round of 16 Matches

Super Sunday

Iranian fans at World Cup 2022.
Iranian fans at World Cup 2022.

© Ross Clegg & Soccerphile.com

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