Wednesday, 3 June 2015

FIFA, shm-IFA

To those of us lucky enough to live in free countries, the word ‘elections’ is full of positive connotations; it brings to mind democracy and freedom of choice.  But for that majority of the world population straining under totalitarian rule, ‘election’ means worse than an exercise in futility: it adds insult to injury by throwing the mockery of freedom in the face of those who have none.  The recent FIFA ‘elections’ fell precisely in that category.  More than 200 national football associations were represented and could vote in those elections; but, with the exception of a minority – those originating from the Free World – those associations are nothing but branches of totalitarian regimes.  They do not care about sport, about football; they are there to defend the political interests and boost the stature of the ruling regimes.

Little wonder, therefore, that FIFA is corrupt to the bone – so are the regimes themselves.  Little wonder that, despite the recurring, grotesque, enormous scandals, the same President has been re-elected over and over again with the votes of the unfree, heading FIFA’s ruling junta for almost two decades; after all, isn’t this precisely how things are done in dictatorships??

But if you think that FIFA is the most scandalous case – think again.  This is not an exception – it is the norm in ‘international bodies’ in which democracies and dictatorships are ‘represented’ and vote on equal footing.  It is the norm, for instance, in each and every one of United Nations’ many assemblies, councils, commissions and committees.  If you think that it is ridiculous for FIFA to re-elect a President on whose watch corruption has reached gargantuan proportions, then have a look at these ludicrous (nay, tragic!) facts: the current membership of the ‘United’ Nations Human Rights Council (yes, Human Rights!) includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, China, Russia, Morocco, Algeria, Vietnam, Cuba...  These ‘human rights luminaries’ far outnumber democracies like UK, France and Netherlands and practically drive the agenda of the Council.  In 2014, the ‘Islamic Republic’ of Iran was elected (by fellow tyrannical regimes) to sit on the UN Commission for the Status of Women!  I mean Iran – where women are harassed on the streets by the ‘morality police’ and where the ‘law’ prescribes 70 lashes or 60 days in prison for women ‘revealing in public’ more than their hands and faces!

When at the ‘United’ Nations abhorrent oppressors are in charge of ‘human rights’ and male supremacists hold sway on the status of women, are you still surprised that they set the tone at FIFA??

Blatter has now resigned; there’s at least a chance that FIFA will be cleaned up.  But the much more influential ‘United’ Nations will remain un-purged, mired in deeply entrenched, cynical, disgusting immorality.

And why is this happening?  Needless to say, the fault lies with the dictators, with the tyrants themselves; but they could not do it alone – not without accomplices.  Those accomplices are the ‘leaders’ of democratic nations, who – rudderless in the ocean of moral relativism – keep ‘engaging' with the despots, in effect collaborating with them to the point of handing them control over international institutions.  'Engaging'???  We would never contemplate thieves acting as judges and murderers sitting on a jury; we wouldn’t even countenance crooks on the Board of a commercial company.  Yet we allow them to call the shots not just at FIFA, but – appallingly – at the ‘United’ Nations.  And it is not that we can’t do anything about it, no: we actually hold the power!  In fact, it is the democratic, free world that typically provides the funds that allow those institutions – whether FIFA or the UN – to function.

Between 2011 and 2014, FIFA received revenues of $5.7 billion – more than the annual economic output of the African nation of Togo.  But, trust me, it did not come from Togo!  FIFA says that it got the money by selling television rights (43%), marketing rights (29%) and ‘other revenue’ (28%).  And who pays for television and marketing rights?  I doubt that Togo’s national broadcaster Télévision Togolaise can pay for a minute of Sepp Blatter’s time, let alone a minute of a World Cup match.  No, friends, it is us, the inhabitants of the Free World, who are – indirectly but very, very dearly – paying the lion’s share of FIFA’s money.  It is we who fund the broadcasters that pay for television rights; it is to us that World Cup sponsors sell their goods.

The situation is not much different at the ‘United’ Nations.  In 2014, the ‘United’ Nations voted itself an annual budget of $5.5 billion.  This is the so-called ‘core budget’, as it does not include non-core business such as peace-keeping ($7 billion), as well as a host of other expenses separately funded by member states.

Some Nations are more 'United' than others...
And who coughs up the dosh?  You got it, friends: it’s us!  USA alone supplies 22% of UN’s money.  And by the time one adds Japan, Canada, Australia, South Korea and the top 6 European countries, the Free World’s bill easily exceeds two-thirds of the ‘United’ budget.

And what does all that mean?  Well, I hate to break it to you, folks: it means we’re all in the dock; we’re in cahoots with criminals, we are their enablers.  Whether we like it or not, we did not just provide the money that allowed Sepp Blatter to run his MaFI(F)A; shockingly, we pay for the mockery that is the ‘United’ Nations.

Revolting as you may find it, we share the guilt.  Whenever another Saudi citizen is denied his/her rights, tortured or executed (90 have been ‘legally’ beheaded so far in 2015), a bit of that sweat and blood is on our heads; after all, it is with our money that the Saudi ‘representative’ (some ‘Prince’ or other – no princesses allowed) was enthroned at the ‘United’ Nations Human Rights Council, there to shield his medieval monarchy from well-deserved opprobrium.

Sorry, folks: I know it is not us ordinary Joes; it’s the bloody politicians who choose to cavort with tyrants.  But we elected the politicians; and we allow them to do it.  And as long as we do that, as long as we remain silent while our hard-earned money enables the crimes, we shoulder a portion of their guilt.  Can you feel it, my brothers, my fellow men?  Can you feel the humiliation of the Iranian woman harangued in the middle of the road and told to dress as a black walking coffin – or else?  Can you sense the desperation of the Tibetan monk who immolates himself to protest Chinese oppression?  Can you hear the silent scream of the emaciated immigrant worked to death in Qatar?


If you do – if, like me, you are sick of seeing your money misused and your goodwill abused, your conscience soiled and your intelligence mocked – then tell your politicians how you feel about it.  Let them know that if they keep robbing us of what we most cherish – our integrity – we’ll deprive them of what they most desire: their power.

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