Friday, December 18, 2015

Thirty Years Of Star Wars And Here We Go Again

This will give you an idea how old you had to be to go to the original Cinema showings of the first Star Wars. I was looking for pictures of the Forum Cinema, in Dun Laoghaire, now closed down, and most of the returned images in Google were in black and white. I am not kidding. Look for yourself.

It didn't look like much from the outside, but the Forum Cinema was gorgeous on the inside.
Understanding why Star Wars means to much to people my age is simple really. We just didn’t stand a chance. There was nothing like it back then, it blew the lid off for my age group, starting with Star Wars, all the way through Empire and on to Return. It is no exaggeration to say that Star Wars, and the subsequent sequels, acted as a background narrative to many of my peers and I in the 70s and 80s. The simple tale of good versus evil resonated for a variety of reasons and dragged us with it through the years, through the mixed-bag second batch of movies and all the way through to today and the JJ Abrams re-boot.

There’s was just nothing like it.

I want to talk a little about actually physically going to see the trilogy, but first, how it manifested itself through my life. I know many of you my age will nod and hopefully smile at some of the references.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember much about Star Wars before actually going to it. I don’t remember the hype. However, I do remember the day I went, as clear as if it was yesterday. Well, two weeks ago, maybe. I also remember various little moments through my youth that all came from the Star Wars experience.

The vociferous argument with my parents around my communion name. I wanted Luke. For obvious enough reasons. I was vetoed. I remember where I was standing as I moaned ‘You never let me do anything!’. 

''Mum, Dad, I'm going to school''

I remember coming down the stairs at home, dressed up as a Rebel soldier on Hoth for a school Halloween party. The outfit was lovingly put together using anything and everything I could get my hands on, but as I stood in front of the mirror in my room, about to go down stairs, I steeled myself for the inevitable ribbing from my family, or, worse, apathy. To this day I remember which step of the stairs I was on when my Dad looked at me, shrugged, and said, ‘’You know what, I actually know what look you’re going for, and that’s not bad.’’

The action figures. Who my age hasn’t thought to themselves ‘Why didn’t I leave just one or two of them in their box?! Why?!’ If you had the foresight to keep a few of those figures in their original packaging, I salute you. You are most likely either very rich, or about to be very rich. Those things go for thousands, each!

Why?! Why didn't I buy ten of them and leave them unwrapped?!

I got one pound pocket money, and I saved basically only for Star Wars figures. I can picture myself as clear as day standing in front of the packages in one of the few stores that sold them in Dun Laoghaire, 2-3 weeks’ pocket money saved in my clammy hand, trying to figure out what figure to get this time. Princess Lea on Hoth? Chewie? Han Solo, in any number of cool outfits (if you don’t think Han Solo is cool, you may as well stop reading now, in fact I am astonished you got this far).



I remember one day after school standing beside my poor mother as she made dinner, giving her a long, detailed explanation of why X-Wings, and all the other craft in the Star Wars galaxy, look so old, worn and beaten up. Realism. Yes, I was evangelizing the merits of realism in the craft design of Star Wars, to my mother, as she made dinner. She gave me some money to go buy something she didn’t need, but I bounded down the street happy that I had clearly recruited another believer.

Have I ever tried to move something using The Force? Yes, I have, and no doubt a few of you have also. Pencils, rulers, that kind of thing, while day dreaming in class Yes, I did that. Sure.



Star Wars formed a background to much of what my friends and I did way back when. Aaron Wilson (I wonder where he is now…) had pretty much all the toys, including a majestic, enormous AT-AT, and if you were invited to his house you got there early to make sure you got in on the action early. The figures, any other merchandise, they were all high value currency. We occasionally traded figures and other bits but generally you just horded what you had and treasured it as if it were solid gold.

The Star Wars universe found its way into everything else, for us, back then. I remember when we first started playing Dungeons and Dragons, my first few characters were all based on someone you might hear about in the Star Wars world. Jed Jorfu was one of my favourite creations. Used that one a few times.

Star Wars was always there, hovering over us, binding my friends and I together. We were not what you would class as super obsessed, we didn’t join any of the uniform groups (at least not that I know of), there were no Rebel Alliance tattoos (yet) and none of us successfully had our names changed to Luke, Han or Lando (kudos to my friend Paul for naming one of his sons Luke). However, Star Wars was an incredibly profound constant in our lives.



In our minds we were always on Tatooine, staring up at the moons (yes, plural), dreaming of fighting the evil Empire, and falling in love with Princess Lea. Apart from Barry Colleary, he wanted to fight for the Empire. I guess the uniforms got to him.

It all started and ended though, with those first viewings. The first time we snuck off to the cinema and saw the original three movies. In my case it was literally snuck, as my parents barred me from seeing it, fearing it was violent escapism. I remember the walk to the cinema, with Barry, who was about to be sucked into the glory of the Empire and their fancy outfits, and Roghan Kinlay, a free spirit about as close to a real life Luke Skywalker as I would ever meet. We walked down from Barry’s house, with Barry clutching a 5 pound note that his Dad had given him to buy our snacks with. This 5 pounds ensured we could buy anything we wanted. I had two sodas, a bag of popcorn and a big red box of malteesers. The guys got similar, and we still got change. Maybe it is a statement of how bad other movies were at the time, but when the big red velvet curtains pulled back and the music blared and that opening, shining, golden text rolled down the screen, we sat with our jaws dropped down to our knees, having never seen or heard anything like this before.

The movie itself was a rolling, pounding, thrilling and indeed romantic ride. We were hooked and we wanted more. The wait for Empire was painful, but I remember sitting back in the seat in the same cinema, a couple of years later, thinking, ‘’Well, here we go again, God I hope Luke and Lea get together properly, enough with this messing around!’’

You can imagine my face after that was over.

Empire led to Return, at which point I was finally growing up and building a pretty strong sense of skepticism. Return still resonated, and the ending, although a little clumsy, let’s face it, still felt like closure. I even excused Return for those stupid Ewoks. Who cares, Speeder Bikes!

Is there any point in mentioning the second batch of movies? Let’s just forget those, other than, I enjoyed the second two, and saw the third one a couple of times, including one time after a morning Irish World cup match where I’d had a couple of drinks, and went to a 2 pm showing. I fell asleep in the cinema and was woken by an attendant, cycled home, found out I was locked out, and fell asleep in the front garden, until my roommate came home, woke me up and brought me inside. That’s probably my strongest memory of that batch.

And with that, here we go again.

Look, I know, it’s probably best not to get too attached to a Science Fiction movie. I get that. And, I do draw the line. Like I said, I haven’t enlisted in a fake Rebel Alliance costume group (although I did research them, a few years ago). That said, going to see the Force Awakens is a pretty damn big deal for my peers and I.

Having read the above, it should be pretty clear why.

May the Force be with you.



Thursday, October 08, 2015

A Day In The Life Of Atlanta Radio Host Mike Bell

Mike Bell is the Atlanta area radio jock who, last night, made several derogatory comments on Twitter about 2 time Olympic Medalist and ESPN baseball commentator, Jessica Mendoza. He has since been suspended from his job for 2 weeks, and has issued an apologetic statement.

Why do we bring this up? Well, this blog is delighted to exclusively reveal a page from his daily diary, just for you!

The greatest country in the World - unless you consider how deeply embedded sexism is in its sports. But hey, whatever.

Whilst the timing of this diary excerpt is perhaps manufactured somewhat, the content is 100% accurate. The details are all actual things. In many cases, I wish I was making them up, however, they are all real.

7:00 am - What you got, Thursday?! Start the day with some Lucky Charms and the highlights from last night's game. By game I mean, last night's Lingerie football. That's right, Im'ma start my day with some women in lingerie playing football. Depressing? Bite your tongue no! This is America, this is wonderful. I am eating cereal in my boxers watching scantily clad women embarrass themselves on National TV because I can.

7:27 am - So this is great, I'm reading some article about something serious on the CBS website, and, you know those little click-bait 'articles' down at the bottom of the page, well there's a picture of a babe in a bikini and the article is titled;  Most NFL Players have Hot Wives - Here are the top 27. It's a slideshow! Bingo! This is going to be a great 7 minutes.

7:34 am - Better do some research for today's show. Where to start. How about one of the most popular sports sites in the USA, Barstool Sports? The great thing about BS is that they have sports, sure, but they also have a quick-link to their 'Girls' area. This is home to 'Smokeshow of the day', basically a daily woman, normally in little or no clothing. 'Guess that underboob' is a fun recurring article but my favorite is 'Guess that ass'. You just aren't living if you're not staring at a part of a woman's body trying to figure out who owns it. On a sports website. That's advertised on many mainstream sites, and is very popular among young American men. BS is just the best! Actual 'articles' about women use any picture of that woman in next to nothing. The comments section on these 'articles' are the really great part. If you want to take a little peek into the empty, darkest areas of the human race, checkout the comments section on a Barstool 'article'. Barstool Sports, molding the minds of our brightest and finest!

10:00 am - Slow day at work. We're running a competition where the prize is an NFL jersey of a prominent player. We talked about it for a while in the office and came up with the following list of awesome NFL players, being paid to play football right now as we speak.

Ray McDonald and Chris Cook, Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams, Brandon Marshall and Santonio Holmes, Greg Hardy, Dez Bryant, Erik Walden , Donte Whitner, Randy Starks and Frostee Rucker (oddly enough, these guys have all been arrested for domestic violence or related charges since 2005).

I have the deciding vote, and I select Greg Hardy. You might remember Hardy from the 2 month long NFL investigation that found that there was "sufficient credible evidence" that Hardy had engaged in conduct which "violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances." The league's investigation had concluded that Hardy used physical force in at least four instances, including placing his hands around the victim's neck with enough pressure to leave visible marks.

He's playing for the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. He's being paid by them to play football, and represent them on National TV.

12:00 pm - Lunch time! Where better to have my lunch than your local Hooters. The same Hooters that's advertised on prime time shows, complete with those ladies walking around in skin-tight outfits. America truly is the greatest country in the World, where else can you drool over your chicken wings while you simultaneously drool over a college student in extremely sexist clothing who has to be nice to you so you give her a decent tip, as she's only being paid minimum wage by the restaurant, who are making millions annually because cretins like you enjoy the demeaning act of being waited on by women in idiotic costumes. Makes you feel like a Big Man. Yeah, gimme those chicken wings, baby, and make sure you smile at me while you do it. Hooters!! It's a real thing! I'm not making it up. It's a real thing.

2:00 pm - Back to work. Well, when I say work, I mean Googling the words 'NFL Cheerleader'. By accident I press 'web' instead of 'images' after typing those words in, and I end up wanting to scratch my own eye out after reading this overly PC article by some stuffy clown!

NFL cheerleading? Nothing short of sexist.

The constant battering ram of 'Hottest cheerleader!' slide shows on the openly sexist, rape-cajoling 'sports' websites aimed at American youth is mind bendingly disturbing. If you are in doubt that NFL cheerleading is sexist, just do yourself a favour. Do some due-diligence and have a little look at how NFL cheerleaders are presented to us by sports websites. Sports Illustrated take the stoic approach, their Hugh Heffner like styling is pathetic but, mostly, at least not overtly pornographic or aggressive. 

Onto the 'harder' stuff. Have a look at the following if you think NFL cheerleading isn't a pursuit hijacked by sexism in the USA. Websites cajole us to marvel at their own slideshow of the NFL's 'hottest' cheerleader. It's absolute stone cold sexism and it has become so embedded in US society that we don't even see it for what it is any more.

I hate myself and I want to die! I wanted to see NFL cheerleaders in demeaning costumes, I didn't want a lecture! 

4:00 pm - Like I said, slow day. Some chick at work accuses the sports sites in America of being sexist. She challenges us that we can't get 10 clicks into any of the top 10 US sports websites without seeing something sexist. No way! Just to shut Tits McGee up we accept the challenge.

  1. Yahoo sports - 1 click, Front page.  A link to the 'hottest female cosplay costumes'.
  2. ESPN - 10 clicks, nothing sexist! 
  3. Bleacher Report - I am as shocked as you are. 10 clicks, and, nothing! 
  4. CBS sports - 2 clicks. Extremely sexist click-bait articles in a major article.
  5. Sports Illustrated - 1 click. Front page. Lots of boobies here! Awesome!
  6. NBC Sports - 10 clicks, nothing at all. Clean as a whistle.
  7. SB Nation - 7 clicks, took a while, but we found some cheesecake after 7 clicks.
  8. Fox Sports - 10 clicks, and, what the hell, nothing?! I am as stunned as you.
  9. Rant Sports - 4 clicks, standard sexist click-bait articles. 
  10. Deadspin - 10 clicks, and nothing. Whatever.

5:00 pm - Yawn. Really, just a slow day here in the heart of the USA. Time to go home, but Im'ma gonna stop at Hooters and ogle some more women in tight clothing serving me beer, before hitting the sofa to watch some Lingerie Football, and I'll end my night surfing NFL cheerleader slide shows on any one of our great American sports websites. Because this is America. The greatest country in the World.

Not demeaning at all. Gosh, no.







Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Watch As Vegas Casinos Shut Down Daily Fantasy Games - It Will Happen

Let’s get this straight first, I love Fantasy sports, fantasy NFL in particular. I’ve been in a fantastic, 10 team, fantasy NFL league for over a decade now, and it’s a fantastic way to have a bit of fun with my guys. However, I will shed not one tear when this Daily Fantasy fad explodes in its own face.



The advertisements for Daily Fantasy sports games are nothing short of obnoxious on TV in the States. Obnoxious in terms of volume and indeed content. The repetition is nauseating, and the content is wildly misleading. They try to pawn themselves off as cash machines for the average punter, ‘Hey, Joe in Philly won a billion dollars sitting on his backside playing Fantasy sports, which means, so can you!’.

That’s just a gigantic lie. Big money has already completely ruined Daily Fantasy for the average player.

Detailed reports have shown that groups and big money players with heavy financial backing are producing automated teams and entering 500-1000 times a day on the popular sites, effectively flooding the games with super-well researched, technically almost perfect teams. Joe Punter signs up to a tournament, enters a team, these big-money backed guys flood the same tournament with 500-1000 teams, wildly pushing the odds in their favor to win the tournament and collect the cash.
Effectively, regular Joe Punter players have a 10% chance of winning the big money tournaments, while big money players and companies are raking in as much as 90% of the profits.

Translation: Stay away, unless you are going to enter big numbers of teams at a high cost.  Meanwhile, it’s not hard to envision Daily Fantasy ‘going away’ much like regular online sports gambling.

Daily Fantasy is big money, and big money attracts the attention of some of the biggest money in America, the Casino moguls in Vegas. The men who make gambling in the USA tick, and who control same at every point, will be noticing the incredible cash flow that currently pouring into Daily Fantasy portals. The major players, two of them who I’m not going to name, are worth over a billion dollars each already.

If Vegas decides they want in on this action, and start producing their own, highly profitable, Daily Fantasy games, perhaps packaging them with their ‘legitimate’ sports-book experiences, watch out current Daily Fantasy sites. All Vegas would have to do, to create a monopoly, would be throw huge amounts of cash into the campaign funds of a friendly senator, ask him (or her!) to get Daily Fantasy banned everywhere except Vegas, and sit back and enjoy the cash flow.

This is exactly what Vegas did with online sports betting in the USA. They stuffed Senator Bill Frist’s campaign coffers with hundreds of thousands of dollars (that we know about) and he in turn forced through a bill banning online sports gambling, pushing all sports betting to Vegas.  It was that simple.

From: Bill Frist, the downfall of online poker and jobs being lost in Dublin and the rest of the World.

The publicly available breakdown of Frist’s campaign funding from previous years makes fascinating reading. It is all there in black and white. For the period 1997 to 2002, Harrah's Entertainment contributed $14,250 to the Frist campaign. What does Harrah's Entertainment do? Glad you asked. Caesars Entertainment Corporation (formerly Harrah's Entertainment from 1995 to 2010) is a private gaming corporation that owns and operates over 50 casinos, hotels, and seven golf courses under several brands. 
How about Mandalay Resort Group, which, in 2004, contributed $10,000, that was disclosed, to the Frist campaign. Mandalay Resort Group was, prior to its purchase by MGM, a hotel-casino operator based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Its major properties included Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur and Circus Circus, as well as half of the Monte Carlo. In terms of market capitalization, it was one of the largest land based casino operators in the world.

If you think Vegas are going to ignore thousands of millions of dollars pure profit, you are more naive than those who think online sports betting was banned in the USA for any moral reason.
It was all about the money. It always is.

Just bear this in mind in months to come when you spot  news report that a politician is eager to shut down the evil that is Daily Fantasy sports. A quick check of his or her freely accessible campaign funding reports will show a number of Vegas Casino names involved.

It’s not hard to tie this all together. Just follow the money.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spotting Frauds On Twitter

It would be great to talk about sports all the time and never have to delve into anything else but sometimes something comes up that is your duty as a citizen of the planet Earth to talk about. Yesterday's tragic events in Virginia have led to a lot of important discussion, and some touching memorials to the two souls lost, however they have also led to some pretty nasty fraud attempts.



Take for example this account, Alison&Adam Funds, which I am sincerely hoping is banned by the time you read this (if it's not, please report it!).

Let's dive right into the flags, the things that should help you spot frauds like this in future.

  1. First – the name @owinostephen3, clearly not affiliated with either family or any organization likely to help. 
  2. A quick check of that name on Google links to a Facebook account with 20 followers – instant flag right there
  3. Unfortunately it has to be said, that Facebook account is clearly African of origin. Ask yourself, why would a Facebook user in Africa with 20 followers care about funds for a tragedy like this?
  4. A very quick check to run is the followers of the account. In this case they are almost all fake accounts. You can tell quite simply from their makeup. In this case, a lot of soft-porn type accounts, a lot of African accounts and several clearly fake ones.
  5. Another check is of course followers-to-following ratio, in this case 60 approx to 350 approx, meaning they are following a lot of people, yet no one follows them proportionately, a big flag.
  6. The tweets they send are a quick check point, in this case this is clearly an account setup with the aim of defrauding people, as all 30 approx tweets are copy/pasted and repeated.

The more you dig, the more hateful and disgraceful this kind of behavior is. All you can do is be smart yourself and don't fall for it, educate those around you and of course, report, report, report. The Internet is our playground, pick up the litter and throw it in the trash, so everyone can enjoy it. This litter definitely needs to go in the trash,
.
I have to say, sadly Twitter do not make it easy to send a detailed report on accounts such as these, lots of other bad stuff, sure, but they need to make it simple to report this kind of rubbish as quickly as possible.

The Internet is both awesome and awful. Make sure you stay smart while on it, and never let fools like this trick you.




Sunday, August 09, 2015

An Open Letter To Wes Welker (Upon Reading Sydney Seau's HOF Speech)

Dear Wes,

I love you man. And I want you to live a long and fruitful life after football. With that said, I beg you; put your cleats away and put your helmet down.

You were a terrific player for my beloved Patriots, always answering the bell no matter how big the hit on the previous play. You made the Pats a better team, always clearly giving 100%. Tom Brady loved you, and that's a good enough endorsement for most of us New England fans.

Alas now, it's time for you to go do some fun stuff. You quite obviously have a pretty good idea of how to have a good time, go ahead and explore that space, just get out of football.

Let me really spell this out, I, and countless other of your fans, can't take watching you exposed to one more big hit. I bet the loved ones in your life feel the same.

Have you been following the Hall Of Fame inductions today? As I read the reports of Sydney Seau's lovely, touching speech that the NFL didn't allow, I thought about you actually. I thought, the NFL clearly doesn't care about player safety, not when they are so obviously and so cowardly hiding from a young daughter's honest, heart breaking speech.

Too honest, obviously, for the NFL

The league clearly wants zero part of the concussion debate right now, instead they want us to argue about Deflate-Gate and fantasy football.

The league does not care about you, Wes. Get out now, while you're still healthy. Get out and enjoy the fruits of life, the rewards of your excellent career.

Don't put your future in the hands of this poorly run league front office. If you're on the fence about this at all just consider one thing amongst all the scandal and rubbish associated with the NFL lately.

Just consider their cowardly behavior this weekend, running scared from a young daughter who just misses her Dad.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Narrative Of UFC 189

First things first, I don’t care either way about the angry, noisy, flatulent (I just presume that) and violent Conor McGregor. Good for him, and I mean that seriously. I felt a twinge of Nationalistic pride when he vanquished his patsy opponent on Saturday night in Vegas, and his absolutely relentless act is actually growing on me a tiny bit. So, it would not be accurate to read this and file it under the much over used ‘hater’ tab.



I really couldn’t care about McGregor, either way. I don’t hate him, I don’t love him. I do think his angry, aggressive act is starting to have a detrimental effect on Irish male teens, who see themselves as his natural replacement once he finally gets his comeuppance, however that’s a story for another day.

My problem with Saturday night’s farce is that even a non-seasoned WWE UFC viewer, such as myself, could see clearly what happened. It was astonishing to see so many, blinded by Irish triumph, missing the overall context.

It’s pretty simply really. UFC knew that once Aldo pulled out they had to dash something together, and Chad Mendes was convinced to be the lamb to the slaughter. What would be interesting would be to find out what UFC promised Mendes to take this beating. Remember, he had a couple of weeks ramped up training, whilst McGregor was literally at the peak of his form. Mendes knew going into this he didn’t have a chance.

However, UFC managed to get him in the ring. At that point, what happened was clearly visible.

Mendes gave it a decent shot in the first, but his stamina, greatly curtailed by lack of training, started to give out. Once he realized he wasn’t going to be able to make an impression on the finely tuned Irish man, he literally dropped his gloves, waited for an excuse, and went down faster than you can say ‘dive’.

Did you see how fast that referee called the fight?

There’s no doubt in my mind that UFC told Mendes not to worry, they would ensure the referee called it the moment he got in trouble, thereby ensuring Mendes wasn’t exposed to too much of a beating.

The Irish media and fans have completely and utterly ignored the borderline WWE nature of the ‘fight’, but really, it was there for all to see. It was interesting to watch ESPN, shortly after the fight, basically say it straight out ‘Mendes went down very, very easily’.

Great, an Irish man is kicking butt and taking names at a high level in a sport. I am genuinely glad about that.

The problem is, the ‘sport’ would appear to be basically almost as scripted as WWE. Sure. There’s real blood, sweat and tears being spent, but don’t tell me there isn’t a narrative being constructed here behind the scenes.

It’s just too obvious.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

An Open Letter To The New York Times: Berkeley Balcony Collapse

Dear Sir, Madam,

I refer to the article 'Deaths of Irish Students in Berkeley Balcony Collapse
Casts Pall on Program'.


I was so disheartened to read this article when it first came out, and that emotion has turned to confusion as to why your paper insists on keeping that same article on-line.

The article itself was nothing short of insulting. I am a proud Irish-American dual-citizen who has spent several summers on the Cape and in Boston working with Irish people. I can tell you that our bosses found us to be loyal, hard working people, and your lazy, slanderous characterization couldn't be further off the mark. Further to that, the irony of an American newspaper taking shots at an entire race for partying is immense, considering the well documented, woeful behaviour of American students in Mexico and indeed Europe.

All of that apart, your timing could not have been more ugly and insensitive. You seem to have completely missed the point that 6 human beings, including one citizen of the Unites States, it should be noted, died that tragic night. Your opinion piece added nothing but pain and insult to the situation, and certainly didn't educate or report with any gravity.

To add insult to injury, I personally found great flaw in your apology. In same it was written that the article was “intended to explain in greater detail why these young Irish students were in the US”

That's nothing short of a lie I am afraid, as even after re-reading the article again today in a more calm mood, you can not make me believe that the context of the article was to explain in detail why students were in the US. It was a very targeted and very well aimed assassination piece, and to colour it as anything else after the fact is, I am sorry to say, cowardly.

You have really screwed up on this one, folks, and you deserve the people of Ireland, the people who read your newspaper Worldwide and, most importantly of all, the Irish and American families of the tragically departed a proper, heartfelt apology.

I previously visited the NY Times daily, as one of the few remaining trustworthy, quality newspapers of note. That relationship has been terminally severed for me, and I can guarantee you many thousands more Irish-Americans feel the same since the publishing of your insensitive piece.

Sincerely,
Cormac


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Do Something Meaningful Today: Contact A Qatar World Cup Sponsor About Worker Death Rates

By the time the 2022 World Cup comes around, as many as 4,000 workers will have died in terrible working conditions in Qatar. This needs to stop, now.

Qatar World Cup working conditions

Our World Cup is in danger. The beautiful game is going to be very ugly, in 2022. In fact, it is hideously ugly already, and one of the worst stains of all is developing in Qatar. The horrific statistics of worker deaths in Qatar, as they prepare for the 2022 World Cup, are both startling and disgusting.

Figures courtesy of PlayFair Qatar


Independent groups estimate that as many as 4,000 workers will die building the Qatar World Cup stadiums. I wrote about this a year ago;

Even FIFA are admitting that as many as 1,200 migrant workers have died horrible deaths in Qatar, building the stadiums that will probably now not even see any World Cup games. They are dying in droves from disease, hunger and workplace accidents. Amnesty international estimate that as many as 4,000 migrant workers will die if Qatar are allowed continue with their disgusting system.

In the space of a year more or less nothing has happened, the World Cup certainly hasn't been taken off of Qatar, in fact FIFA has managed to bury their heads firmly in the sand and stay relatively unscathed by this horrible human tragedy, as yet.

The scale of this disaster is terrifying. Let me spell it out very clearly, more human beings will die building the World Cup stadiums to be used by Qatar in 2022 than died in the World Trade Center attack of 2001.

Where's the outrage?

Thankfully, the required levels of said outrage are beginning to bubble to the top of mainstream media. Marina Hyde's brilliant article in the Guardian is one of the better tilts at exposing the terrible rates of death in Qatar.There are also several groups growing, for example Playfair Qatar, all trying to highlight this disaster, and all trying to end it now.

Why should we stand by and watch this happen? If you love football, if you love the World Cup, stand up and do something about this.

Forget that even, if you love people, you should be doing something about this tragedy.

Personally I am going to start with a campaign of Tweets to the major Qatar 2022 sponsors, asking them if they are aware of the human tragedy happening there right now. I will be asking them if they are prepared for their product's name to be associated with what will go down as FIFA's greatest tragedy, the approximately 4,000 deaths it will take to build the Qatar stadiums.

No doubt I am going to get blocked, a lot, but maybe one Tweet will get through to one human being, and that human being will talk to another, and so forth, and maybe somewhere down the line we might stop even one human being from dying of heat-stroke, malnutrition, exhaustion or other in the hot Qatar sun.

Read about it, learn about it, and ask yourself, are you okay with this? If you find yourself very much not okay with it, stand up and do something about it.

Extend a hand to a brother (or sister) on the far side of the World, sweating it out today under the baking sun for £6 a day.

Do it now, because when 2022 rolls around, if nothing has changed, that's going to be one depressing, sobering World Cup to watch. A tournament built on the back of human tragedy. We don't need that, and these guys below very much don't need that.

Do it.

Human beings: Could do with your help





Ireland Croatia

Ireland Croatia
The Irish Team in Croatia 2000

Heroes and villains on Fox Sports

Heroes and villains on Fox Sports

'I didn't know..' gets a mention on Fox Sports

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