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Two Norwegian journalists arrested after interviewing Qatar World Cup Manager (nrk.no)
151 points by eisa01 11 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 72 comments

I've spent time in Qatar. It was weird, as a western woman I felt completely alien. Not just because of the desert dust and the stark stark glassy steel city that suddenly rises from it. Mostly we shuttled between a compound and fancy hotels, malls and yacht clubs. And my friends I was visiting were not even rich, just working regular expat jobs (in petro or gas of course, helicopter to work some days..). Those I know who stay there are going just a little mad. But slowly rich. Is it worth it?

This describes my time with expats in Venezuela pretty well (~2000?). At some point, you realize every place you visit is surrounded by 12' walls topped with razor wire. I guess you wilfully ignore the strangeness if you have to live there, but it was really disquieting to visit.

I was born to an expat family in neighbouring Bahrain, it was a similar experience. Overall, I would say it is worth it if you are poorer or looking to make money. It's a place where you can grow rich but later on your family leaves for a better place.

Off topic but are expat and immigrant the same concept?

We would describe people by their packages:

1. Sent by company to work in another country with a full package: expat

2. Decided to work in another country doing white collar skilled or semi-skilled labor without a package but with no intention of (or ability to) staying: half pat

3. Poorer version of 2 doing less skilled or unskilled labor: migrant worker (not a lot of difference, actually)

4. Working in a foreign country on an actual visa that leads to at least permanent residency: immigrant

Note that China (where I was) doesn't really allow for 4, but there are definitely people who move there with the intention of staying (though their chance of ever getting a green card is very slim if they are not Han or a famous basketball star). I was in the 2 bucket, had a few lucky friends in the 1 bucket. The 3rd bucket was handled by migrant workers from out of province/city (so not technically migrant workers like we have in the states, but without residency via the hukou system they are exploited roughly the same).

Incidentally, the engineers China sends to Africa and south east Asia and other countries are definitely expats (though their packages aren't that big), the workers they send to do construction in the same areas are more like migrant workers. So it is not just a distinction made for westerners.

From what I understand (not native speaker) yes but from different points of view. You are an expat out of a country. You are an immigrant into a country.

So usually you are both.

You are confusing expat with emigrant.

expat has the implications that you're only there for a while and will return home.

The true concept for immigration would be emigrant (emigres) but this doesn't seem to have popular English usage nowadays.

Expat is a Western immigrant in non-Western country

Mad in which way? The people I've heard about (professionally) who went to continue their career in Dubai, I couldn't really respect anymore. It's hard to understand choosing to work in that place.

Mad in the way I imagine any colonialist ex-pat going mad, as empires threaten each other around you and you put on a white shirt and suffer through the heat. The same that happens and has happened since merchants and wealth-seekers have isolated themselves so much from reality (protected by the butlers and maids and drivers and security guards, never setting a foot in a local's house, neither a rich nor poor one) that finally they go all in and become regime apologetics.

Reminds me of Orwell's "Shooting An Elephant"

People I know who’ve done it:

• getting a drink (alcohol) is a major pain. Either underground, or some elite venue where rules don’t apply - and the jeopardy that goes with that. Really want to spill wine on a Prince? And there are a lot of princes.

• feeling of underlying state level threat if you mess up

• some workers are treated as literal slaves openly

• getting your money home can be troublesome. Check out Dubai airport and abandoned super cars

People who tend to fare better are very career focused and can ignore the above. Also if you or your partner are into the five star life.

Edit: formatting

To be fair, wasn’t the fancy-car abandonment thing just a result of people taking on crazy debt in a country that still has debtors prison, and then bailing out when they were predictably close to that jeopardy?

Seems like rational behavior from both sides in the end.

For sure. With a healthy percentage of “I have £100k and I can only bring £10k before I need to declare tax and my employer canned the project and my visa. Allow the car”

> getting a drink (alcohol) is a major pain. Either underground, or some elite venue where rules don’t apply - and the jeopardy that goes with that. Really want to spill wine on a Prince? And there are a lot of princes.

In Dubai you can get a drink just about anywhere.

> getting your money home can be troublesome. Check out Dubai airport and abandoned super cars

It’s really not difficult to transfer money out of Dubai.

Those cars are abandoned by people who couldn’t make their payments and fled the country.

those who left their supercars at the airport didnt have any money to send home - they were virtually bankrupt.

also, "there are a lot of princes" sure youre not mixing saudi with qatar here?

4000 Princes, over 10k members of the royal family, Saudi.

NRK also published a detailed timeline of the events in Norwegian (Google Translate should work just fine): https://www.nrk.no/sport/sendte-denne-sms-en-_-sa-startet-nr...

The Guardian's report gives more detail:

Two Norwegian journalists investigating conditions for migrant workers in Qatar ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup ... Hours earlier, during a live broadcast for the Sportsrevyen news show on conditions for labourers working on World Cup venues, Ekeland had told viewers there were “stark contrasts”, with some workers “doing awfully”. ... Ekeland and Ghorbani had been in Qatar since 14 November and were due to meet Abdullah Ibhais, the former communications director for the 2022 World Cup organisers, who has since publicly criticised the Qatari regime. However, Ibhais, who is appealing against a five-year prison sentence for corruption, was arrested hours before the planned interview.


Selection process driven by suitcases of money ...

... what could go wrong?

What a lovely place. We should let them host one of the most important international sporting events.

Next year we'll also see the winter Olympics being hosted by a regime currently torturing Uyghurs in concentration camps. Which will allow only spectators who live in Mainland China. Great for the CCP, no pesky protesters when they're not even allowed in.

The West is a joke. Germany and two other countries could easily team up and hold an alternative World Cup. We could just unilaterally do it, the original one would instantly lose the bit of legitimacy it has left. But we are not even doing that. How is the world supposed to take us serious, when we are not exercising power, where we actually have it?

Yeah, FIFA went so far this time. They went from ordinary everyday corruption to cartoonish super-corruption. If a few prominent teams held an alternative World Cup it could have broken FIFA forever. But instead, here we are...

>from ordinary everyday corruption to cartoonish super-corruption

Got that reference!

Well, just take a look at the Formula 1 calendar to see how the West is doing.

Last three countries are: Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. It's as if we're not even trying and just condoning the way human rights are treated.


If you have money and want to buy a better global reputation without internal changes, I can't think of a better way than international sports.

Not to disagree with you, but I'd like to note FIFA is based in Switzerland.

As are the bank accounts of many of its member-countries' representatives.

Well that explains how all decisions are made based on money and not morals then.

So you are saying, the swiss have no morals beside money?

Sounds strange to me, given their history. Sure, they are engaged in banking, but also not in invading other countries, unlike most of the rest of the world. In either case, nationalistic stereotypes are seldom helpful for any debate.

Invading other countries in WWII wasn't necessary when all of the Nazi gold from the fillings would just come to them anyway.

Then there is the "banking privacy" nonsense, which is just because they want to avoid disclosing the tax evasion and money laundering.

And the crypto nonsense in Zug.

It really goes on and on.

> Then there is the "banking privacy" nonsense, which is just because they want to avoid disclosing the tax evasion and money laundering.

Way to normalize mass surveillance.

Money talks.

Why is deciding what nation has the best ball kickers relevant to anything at all let alone be an exercise of power to hold said competition?

It is the most watched event of humankind. If you want to call the winner the world champion, it would really help, if there weren't some alternative tournament, which champion is better than yours.

The simple fact, that Qatar bothered to buy the whole thing shows, that it is important.

Organizing an event of such scale leads to corrupt goverments having a lot of spending to embezzle funds out of. Yes, it is important for some goverments. But not for the reasons you aspire it to be.

It's been used as an indicator species: can your society support the infrastructure necessary to gather, train, and support a team; it's read as a marker of the health of the rest of the system.

Brazil and Argentina is more successful than Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Norway, USA, Japan, Korea and Englad combined. What exactly is the takeaway here?

The parent said it was one marker for the health of the system. Not the sole marker. But I think you know that.

They perform better under heat?

When FIFA permits cybernetic implants for players I'll be interested in the marker the competition will yeild.

Apparently it has something to do with sublimating the base human territorial-identity drive that would otherwise find expression in violent conflict, or some such. I don't get it either.

Tribalism is a huge factor in the popularity of course.

It's interesting, growing up, I had friends with a hobby for supporting particular footbal teams in my city. And of course rival team supporters couldn't really be friends, to the point of full out violence between rivals being an every day thing. I always asked them why is that, because except for the color of their scarf they fit the exact same personality pattern - they all would explain it from a mythological history of tribalism point of view that did not make much sense to me at the time.

And it's not even their own ball kickers anymore. How can you get pride out of it when you're just paying to import folks from other nations?

While a Bayern München can have players of all nationalities the German national team consists of players with a German citizenship. At least that's my understanding.

Do they give out German citizenship for the purpose?

To get a German citizenship, you either have to have lived there legally for 7 years and fulfill some criteria (language, no crime, job etc.) or have German ancestors. Unless you are European, you also have to prove, that you gave up your old citizenship.

Fifa also has rules preventing this. You cannot switch national teams, once you played for one.

It is actually the other way round: After the poor performances in the early 2000s, German clubs have agreed on a few rules regarding how many foreign players are allowed to play on each team and what each club has to do to train new young players. The richer clubs basically restricted what their own money could buy. These regulations are widely regarded as the reason for the dominant years during the 2010s.

Noted and upvoted thanks

> "How is the world supposed to take us serious" They should at least take them cereal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h05YfP_8UsU

West is no longer powerful. 21st century is the century of India, China and Asia.

Indo-China is an interesting choice of terminology here.

I didn't realise IndoChina refers to countries unrelated to India and China. Corrected it.

The west (to a lesser degree) is only not powerful because we really, really, really, don't like war anymore. If tomorrow Russia goes into Poland and The west is forced to act, we shall see just how powerful the west really is.

I would be more interested what the west would do when China goes to Taiwan.

The last World Cup winners are:

- 2018: France

- 2014: Germany

- 2010: Spain

- 2006: Italy

Now go and look at where does the sponsorship money of the top clubs of these countries come from.

The national teams usually from the tax payer. At the very least they manage the rights to the local tournaments, which has value in itself.

The issue is that they often also have the same corrupt officials who gain legitimacy through this tournament, they wouldn’t risk losing their status. Imagine they decide to have an alternative tournament, then FIFA owning many rights puts pressure on them, one draws back and the operation fails. Explain that to the fans.

Mostly from Adidas and Nike. But I get your point. Still you cannot fully buy the industry. It is tied to passports.

You think Nike and Adidas spent more money on European football in last 5 - 10 years than Qatar sports investments group and City Football Group?

I don't think OP was talking about Soccer ability

World cup is entertainment, not a power allocation

isnt there soft power of some sort in this though?

This is a thread about soccer politics

The title is inflammatory if the events in the article are true. They were arrested for willful trespassing and then released shortly after. Hardly news worthy.

They interviewed an important sports figure. They get arrested at the hotel questioned for 8 hours locked in different cells with 12 other inmates. They looked through all of their photos. Then they made up a trespassing charge but failed to mention where/when this happened.

Title is not inflammatory enough.

And forced to sign a paper in an idiom that they didn't understood to be released, it seems.

But the "we aren't interested in the event anymore" said by their bosses is very explanatory. There will be monetary consequences if the chains refuse to broadcast it or choose to put it in a worse hour. I bet that the offended channels are evaluating seriously this at this moment.

They were arrested and released without explanation. The police PR dept then came up with trespassing story without any details.

  "We interview the chairman at length after a ceremony, and return to our 
  hotel at noon to fetch our equipment. We are then approached by 5 or 6 men 
  who identify themselves as police and take us to the station," reporter 
  Halvor Ekeland says. "We are questioned for eight hours in separate rooms, 
  one at a time."
Questioned 8 hours for trespassing? Right after the interview?

Yes the Qataris absolutely deserve the benefit of the doubt here!

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