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Should Australian soccer have boycotted the Asian Cup Final?

RoosTah

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I read this the other day and I have to say that I agree:

Where's the outrage over Saudi treatment of women?

Imagine a nation that treats a huge section of its population as little more than slaves. A nation where many are not allowed access to a full education or a professional career. Picture a place where some citizens can count themselves lucky if they are allowed to show their faces in public, let alone attend a sporting event.

Now imagine this: a football stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this Sunday. A sweltering cauldron of sound. The Western Sydney Wanderers run on to the pitch to play the second leg of the final of the Asian Champions League against Al-Hilal.
Then, at the opening kick-off, the Wanderers all sit down and decline to play until Saudi Arabia agrees to recognise women as equals.

Our apologies. We'll now interrupt this broadcast and return to normal programming.

You can safely assume this Sunday's final will pass without a mention of women's rights in Saudi Arabia. There may be only one woman in the crowd of 65,000 - devout Wanderers fan Kate Durnell. And she has only been given permission to attend because she will be accompanied by her father and will wear a hijab.


Where is the anger, much less the outrage? Whatever happened to that generation in the 1970s who helped change the world? Did they all grow fat and old and decide sport was no longer a worthy weapon in the battle for human rights?


Say what you like about the 1970s. The naff idealism. The quaint notions of peace amid the threat of nuclear holocaust. At least it was a time when the world belatedly woke up to the evils of the apartheid system in South Africa and decided to do something about it. Australian sport caught up with public opinion as Sir Donald Bradman directed that a cricket tour of South Africa be cancelled.

When the Springboks arrived in 1971 for a series of Tests, more than 700 Australians were arrested for disrupting the tour.
Such was the public outcry that games were played behind barbed wire. Unions banded together, forcing the tourists to travel around the country on air force planes.

These strident public protests eventually led to a stiffening in the resolve of politicians. By the late 1970s, the world was condemning South Africa. And, little more than a decade later, the practice of measuring a person by the colour of their skin in that country was peeled away.

So where is the outcry as the Western Sydney Wanderers head to Saudi Arabia? This is a nation that has long suppressed its women. They are not allowed to drive a car. In fact women under the age of 45 require a male guardian's permission to open a bank account, to seek a job, to undergo elective surgery and even to travel. Enforcement is often swift and brutal and carried out by the Mutaween – a select group of religious police with the powers to detain Saudis and foreigners for whatever they deem "immoral".

Where's the moral outrage? Have we had to look the other way because of the diplomatic nuances required to live in a post 9/11 world? Does our reliance on the Middle East oil pipeline preclude the West from speaking out against clear and present human injustices?

Or maybe we've just lost the zeal, the passion and the desire to make the world a better place. Maybe we decided that soccer superiority beats civil rights hands down.

Garry Linnell co-presents the Breakfast show with John Stanley on 2UE
Source: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/wheres-the-outrage-over-saudi-treatment-of-women-20141029-11dijm.html

What do you guys reckon? Saudi Arabia is run by f##king monster despot kleptocrats that think it's the 11th century and are far worse than the white supremacists of South Africa ever were, yet we're happy to ignore there awful attitude of gender apartheid to their own people.
 
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goodNumber10

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They are rich though and that goes a long way to turning the worlds eyes.

I dunno what to say, as awful as it is, a lot of it is based on religion, which i don't think was the case in SA, so how do you boycott something that si so fundamentally part of their religious culture.
 

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Well, there are quite a couple of reasons why they didn't do it.

1. The match took place in Saudi Arabia, not in Australia, which is the difference in the comparison the writer made with the Apartheid regime.

2. They are 11 players on the pitch, with the subs and management on the side of the field, surrounded by a stadium of 60 000 Saudi men, who support their country's religion and ways. What did the writer want to happen? An article with a heading "Australian Football team stoned and stampeded inside Stadium due to protest of women's rights"??

3. Religion, as GN10 has stated, is the biggest difference. In South Africa where religion is rather freely practised, no matter what it is, there are still fundamental things in place. For instance, in Cape Town 2 months ago, they opened their very first unisex temple for muslims where men and women can pray together, in the same room, next to each other.
 

nickdnz

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It's a tough nut.

Personally I think Wahhabism is a backwards form of Islam, that makes life difficult for Muslims who are unfairly associated with it. The problem is that most of the women in Saudi Arabia are in fact Wahhabi, so it's difficult to push for rights that they themselves don't believe they should have. If Saudi Arabia weren't so oil rich and generally in a continuously prosperous relationship with the US, there is no doubt they would be received worse. The issue for the Australian soccer team, it's not as if they can boycott Saudi Arabia, while remaining in trade with Saudi Arabia. It would by hypocritical.
 

TRF_stormer2010

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I read this the other day and I have to say that I agree:


Source: http://www.smh.com.au/comment/wheres-the-outrage-over-saudi-treatment-of-women-20141029-11dijm.html

What do you guys reckon? Saudi Arabia is run by f##king monster despot kleptocrats that think it's the 11th century and are far worse than the white supremacists of South Africa ever were, yet we're happy to ignore there awful attitude of gender apartheid to their own people.

I think you don't have a full realisation of what Apartheid was. That said it was always a failed system based on a fundamentally flawed ideal and not helped by corruption, racism and greed in it's implementation.
 

squirrel

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Hasn't Saudi Arabia beheaded more people than Isis in the last 3 months or so?
 

RoosTah

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They are rich though and that goes a long way to turning the worlds eyes.

I dunno what to say, as awful as it is, a lot of it is based on religion, which i don't think was the case in SA, so how do you boycott something that si so fundamentally part of their religious culture.

They treat women like glorified baby incubators and f##k toys with less rights than dogs have in most countries and it's got more to do with "culture" than Islam itself. This is a simple case of fundamental human rights, and it's in the same category as slavery in terms of abuse of fundamental rights - that is f##k your culture if you're stripping half your population of their humanity.

Well, there are quite a couple of reasons why they didn't do it.

1. The match took place in Saudi Arabia, not in Australia, which is the difference in the comparison the writer made with the Apartheid regime.

2. They are 11 players on the pitch, with the subs and management on the side of the field, surrounded by a stadium of 60 000 Saudi men, who support their country's religion and ways. What did the writer want to happen? An article with a heading "Australian Football team stoned and stampeded inside Stadium due to protest of women's rights"??

3. Religion, as GN10 has stated, is the biggest difference. In South Africa where religion is rather freely practised, no matter what it is, there are still fundamental things in place. For instance, in Cape Town 2 months ago, they opened their very first unisex temple for muslims where men and women can pray together, in the same room, next to each other.

Actually, on those:

1. They played it home and away, so the first match was in Sydney
2. The writer wanted the team to not play either match because they're barbaric medieval despots that have no place in the modern world
3. Yes South Africa has progressed.
 
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TRF_heineken

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They treat women like glorified baby incubators and f##k toys with less rights than dogs have in most countries and it's got more to do with "culture" than Islam itself. This is a simple case of fundamental human rights, and it's in the same category as slavery in terms of abuse of fundamental rights - that is f##k your culture if you're stripping half your population of their humanity.

Fundamental rights are different for each country who has them. South Africa's Fundamental rights was developed after the Apartheid regime, and is now one of the pillars of our Constitution. It's actually chapter 2 of our Constitution.

I have to be honest, I don't know a lot about the Saudi Arabian laws, and if they even have fundamental laws, and if they recognise International laws.

But when it comes to religion, then it's a whole other can of worms. If the women are all of the same religion, and they live by their religion, then how do you want it to be stopped? Religion is a choice (well mostly) and if you as a person conform to that religion's ideologies and values, then why should someone else stop you from living that way?? Even if they think it's wrong??
 

RoosTah

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Heineken,

I see where you're coming from, but I'm not suggesting we invade them, just boycott them in sporting and political arenas because their values aren't just backward, but downright cruel and dehumanising. I mean this is a country where if a women gets raped she goes to jail and gets flogged unless there are 5 male witnesses willing to testify that it wasn't actually her f##king fault. F##k culture - that is just wrong no matter how you look at it unless you think women are sub-human spoilers of man's "innate better nature" (as one Arab once explained it).
 

William18

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I'm not much of a fan of boycotts. I generally think they don't work. How far do you want to take things though? Do you boycott the World Cup because Russia is there? Just to qualify Australia had to play a lot of teams from countries which have some backwards values. I think we need to have more dialogue with people from the Middle East. I think there is a worrying trend of people not being able to do things because of their values. Should someone who doesn't support gay marriage be precluded from having certain jobs? Should someone who criticises Islam not be allowed to speak at a commencement? A Saudi probably would think we are intolerant if we boycotted them.

It also seems bizarre to do a boycott over a club game. Al Hilal doesn't set the policy of Saudi Arabia and do not necessarily represent that country or its government.

Heineken is correct I think. Apartheid is something which could be changed. If people believe in Sharia then I don't think you can change their beliefs.

For me to be in favour of a boycott I would feel that the reason for boycotting would have to have something to do with sport. I would be strongly supportive of boycotting any World Cup in Qatar because they are using slave labour to build football stadiums. I think there is a difference between that and boycotting over non sporting measures.
 

TRF_heineken

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Heineken,

I see where you're coming from, but I'm not suggesting we invade them, just boycott them in sporting and political arenas because their values aren't just backward, but downright cruel and dehumanising. I mean this is a country where if a women gets raped she goes to jail and gets flogged unless there are 5 male witnesses willing to testify that it wasn't actually her f##king fault. F##k culture - that is just wrong no matter how you look at it unless you think women are sub-human spoilers of man's "innate better nature" (as one Arab once explained it).

I'm not much of a fan of boycotts. I generally think they don't work. How far do you want to take things though? Do you boycott the World Cup because Russia is there? Just to qualify Australia had to play a lot of teams from countries which have some backwards values. I think we need to have more dialogue with people from the Middle East. I think there is a worrying trend of people not being able to do things because of their values. Should someone who doesn't support gay marriage be precluded from having certain jobs? Should someone who criticises Islam not be allowed to speak at a commencement? A Saudi probably would think we are intolerant if we boycotted them.

It also seems bizarre to do a boycott over a club game. Al Hilal doesn't set the policy of Saudi Arabia and do not necessarily represent that country or its government.

Heineken is correct I think. Apartheid is something which could be changed. If people believe in Sharia then I don't think you can change their beliefs.

For me to be in favour of a boycott I would feel that the reason for boycotting would have to have something to do with sport. I would be strongly supportive of boycotting any World Cup in Qatar because they are using slave labour to build football stadiums. I think there is a difference between that and boycotting over non sporting measures.
@William18 has nailed it on the head. A club team doing the boycotting won't do much good, let alone become much of a media hype. Also, the team will need to get the instructions from their contractors who pays them to play, not protest.

If it was the National teams playing then maybe it would start something, but then again, it would be unwise to do the boycotting while in Saudi Arabia. If I were in charge of the Aussie team, I would protest by not going to Saudi Arabia at all.
 
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squirrel

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One could argue that the All Blacks should have boycotted the US for its foreign policy:bomb:, so I agree with heiny and William on this subject.
 

RoosTah

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@William18 has nailed it on the head. A club team doing the boycotting won't do much good, let alone become much of a media hype. Also, the team will need to get the instructions from their contractors who pays them to play, not protest.

If it was the National teams playing then maybe it would start something, but then again, it would be unwise to do the boycotting while in Saudi Arabia. If I were in charge of the Aussie team, I would protest by not going to Saudi Arabia at all.

That's a fair point - it's something that needs to be occurring from the top down. But I still have massive issues with with this country and just reckon it's a bit off that our boys are on the some pitch as those f##king animals.
 

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That's a fair point - it's something that needs to be occurring from the top down. But I still have massive issues with with this country and just reckon it's a bit off that our boys are on the some pitch as those f##king animals.

Saudi Arabia isn't that bad a place, there are worse places than that.

I guess it's a matter of priorities for the countries.
 

goodNumber10

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That's a fair point - it's something that needs to be occurring from the top down. But I still have massive issues with with this country and just reckon it's a bit off that our boys are on the some pitch as those f##king animals.

hold on, it's a bit unfair to label the opposition players animals mate, they are doing their job they have no say int he politics and laws of their country.
 

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hold on, it's a bit unfair to label the opposition players animals mate, they are doing their job they have no say int he politics and laws of their country.

Or their faith for that matter!
 

RoosTah

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hold on, it's a bit unfair to label the opposition players animals mate, they are doing their job they have no say int he politics and laws of their country.

Yeah, some of them are from overseas and doing it for good pay I'll grant you. But you fellas said it yourself - the culture of this place; the people from there (the men at least) largely support this system of dehumanising oppression.

Again, I'm not suggesting we bomb the place - the yanks have too much equipment there for that - but the country has the same f##king views on how to run a society as ISIS and I reckon that's something that we ought to be a little uncomfortable with.
 

RoosTah

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Or their faith for that matter!

If you talk to Muslims they'll tell you that the sort of crap that goes on in places like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan dates back before Islam - which is why it's more about the basic history of the places than anything specifically codified in Sharia.
 

nickdnz

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Yeah, some of them are from overseas and doing it for good pay I'll grant you. But you fellas said it yourself - the culture of this place; the people from there (the men at least) largely support this system of dehumanising oppression.

Again, I'm not suggesting we bomb the place - the yanks have too much equipment there for that - but the country has the same f##king views on how to run a society as ISIS and I reckon that's something that we ought to be a little uncomfortable with.

Mate, this is a bit harsh. I personally wouldn't go to Saudi Arabia on the basis I disagree with their culture and the many instances of discrimination. But it's easy to feel more enlightened and look at Saudi Arabia through a orientalist view - without considering that these views are not produced with venom, but a belief that what they are doing is morally right, a belief which has been reproduced over hundred of years of conditioning. Saudi Arabia doesn't have quite the same degree of religious views as ISIS either. They are both Sunni Wahhabist Muslims - but ISIS is considerably more anti-Shi'ist (although there is still a huge amount of discrimination of all religions in Saudi Arabia...).

It is a difficult situation I have no answers to. Like I said, if something is to be done I think it has to be a national consented effort to boycott a country. The clubs don't have anything to do with it.
 

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