A goal against the rights of women

The women who came alone to the field might be mixed among the public during the Supercopa. The stadium King Abdullah, in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), was mixed in th

A goal against the rights of women

The women who came alone to the field might be mixed among the public during the Supercopa. The stadium King Abdullah, in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), was mixed in those three games. They came out in the photos, smiling, with painted faces and scarves in the head. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, came down to the field without the veil for the closing ceremony after the final of the championship, sponsored by the Spanish Football Federation and attended by between days 8 and 12, four first-class teams (Valencia, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid). After the event, they held another party. Them, that allows you to enter the stadiums from just a year ago, they had returned to the restricted areas. There is No official confirmation of whether these images represent a change of criteria or not, or for how long. In Saudi Arabia there is no freedom of the press, governing the death penalty and the torture and violation of human rights and, in particular, those of women. They have restricted movement, they must have the permission of a male of the family to marry and in most cases they lose custody of their children if they divorce. During the championship there were women in prison for trying to defend equality.

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human rights are not for sale, “I Hope that the Spanish women to buy tickets and enjoy the Super cup”

there were No declarations of footballers or politicians moved to Jeddah to ask for the release of these women. The media, in Spain, debated whether the gesture of the Diaz Ayuso was a challenge to the regime, or simply a stamp of normality because the restrictions to citizens, local not operate to the west. The sport newspaper Marca published the day 12 on the cover the image of a marriage arabia. He, smiling, with the shirt of Atletico; she, holding the shirt of Real Madrid with a niqab that only left his eyes uncovered. Did not include any headline allusive to the situation of women. After the open debate in the social networks, the journal did an editorial on the Internet: “The image is so powerful that it not needed or the holder”, and collected. “We have limited it to show what current. The common thing. The reality. The stark reality.”

The transfer of the Spanish Super cup to Saudi Arabia, which will report to the federation of 120 million euros for three years, returns to put a question on the table: what should be the football neutral to the countries that do not respect human rights? How can you ask to sport it is not claimed to diplomats, politicians or companies?

The controversy is not new or unique to this sport. For almost a century since the 1934 World Cup in Italy, which led to Benito Mussolini, who first used the football for political propaganda. Since then there have been from forums to discuss education in countries that segregate male and female students up to the university to macroconciertos in places where you are sentenced to death. Qatar will host the World cup in 2022, the country of petrodollars that violates human rights and whose candidacy was imposed on the Australian, united States or Japan. The NGOS are asking, with little success, the democracies will avoid to participate in these events. Complain that they are a whitening of the reality, that things do not improve (or even worsen) when removed the bulbs. Call it sport washing (whitening sports).

The Spanish Football Federation defends his visit. “We're going to work with the football arabia to serve as a tool of social change and will benefit men and women,” he explained before matches its president, Luis Rubiales. A spokesman adds that, in addition to ask mixed zones, have signed on to advise to create a league of female football in the country, a project for which there is still no closed dates.

Amnesty International Activists protesting against the detention of feminist saudi arabia in march to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Paris. Benoit Tessier REUTERS

The enclave of the Super cup, all in all, it opened cracks in the federation. The vice-president of Integrity of the institution, Ana Muñoz, resigned in mid-December. Sources close to Muñoz point out that this competition was one of the reasons that precipitated their march, to be held in a country that does not guarantee, nor human rights, nor specifically of women. The already exvicepresidenta had shown her objections and communicated his decision not to travel with the cortege. Depending on your environment, when he was director general of Sports was not in the events in countries where human rights are respected.

A petition "surface"

“I Think that to focus on where they feel women and men in the field is very superficial”, said Madawi Al - Rasheed, a visiting professor of the London School of Economics. Al - Rasheed, a saudi, has restricted access to its country by publishing books critical of the regime. “The federation has gone to a country where they put people in jail just for a tweet. Should not be there in order to legitimize a repressive regime. Their justifications are trying to meet possibly your audience in Spain, but it is not served in Saudi Arabia” rejects. “Sports organizations should ask for the freedom of women activists or boycott events, but don't do it, neither now nor before.”

The great precedent of that pressure that calls for Al - Rasheed was the Rugby World Cup of 1995 in south Africa. Nelson Mandela, as president, transformed it into an item of reconciliation between blacks and whites. “During apartheid, there was a boycott total teams with south africans in all of sports. It was a measure supported internationally that had a political impact real censorship of the regime. They launched the message of ‘you are the pariahs of the world and you're going to punish you, but if you have just with this injustice, I give you the caramel which I now refuse,” he stated in 2013 the writer and journalist John Carlin to this newspaper about that episode, which portrayed in the book Invictus.

The next event in Saudi Arabia is the celebration of the G20. Three NGOS to the country to veto the entry to do their research —Amnesty International, Transparency International and Civicus— will not participate in the summit. “We don't want our name to be associated with that country,” explains in Johannesburg Masana Ndinga-Kanga, a spokesman of Civicus for the Middle East and Africa. “It's a distraction for the international community to not see all this violence”. “If you do not allow us to investigate, nor will acts that bleach their terrible history,” adds Carlos de las Heras, head of the area of Saudi Arabia in Amnesty. They seek, in short, prevent them sneaks a goal.

“Just help my sister denouncing the abuses,”

 Loujain Alhathloul is in prison since April of 2018 for defending the rights of women in Saudi Arabia. At age 30, is an activist best known of the represaliadas for protesting the rights violations and ask for changes in the country. The number of people incarcerated totals are unknown. Alhathloul was accused of traitor and spy, “undermining the security, the stability of the kingdom and its social peace and damage its national unity”. It was one of those who led the movement to allow women to drive, allowed by the regime from 2018. His family claimed to have been tortured and sexually harassed since she is prey. “The electrocuted and forced to kiss other women,” explains from Belgium, one of five siblings, Lina Alhathloul, 24 years of age. Parents can visit and speak with her once a week. The younger sister criticises the fact that events such as the Super cup are dangerous because “is that the only thing that people see, a whitening, concealing the torture and the police state in which people live. Makes it easier to continue their violations of human rights without being questioned”. Asked about how they could help her sister and other repressed these events, claiming that those involved “know what is going on and ask for the release of jailed”. Lina Alhathloul does not advocate a boycott closed: “it's Not always good for the people of my country, sedientes of cultural and sporting events for years. But the only good way to participate is to take all of these human rights violations to light. The only thing that would help my sister is to denounce the abuses.”

Updated Date: 20 January 2020, 13:00

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