HomeNewsMorocco’s ladies soccer stars are successful towards Western bias too Receive US

Morocco’s ladies soccer stars are successful towards Western bias too Receive US

It’s a historic second for Morocco and, particularly, for the nation’s ladies.

Eight months after their male counterparts made historical past in reaching the semi-finals of the lads’s World Cup, the Moroccan ladies’s soccer crew have shaken up the game’s conventional hierarchy.

The primary Arab and Muslim-majority nation to qualify for the continuing Ladies’s World Cup, the Moroccan facet has shocked soccer pundits, defeating Colombia and South Korea to achieve the ultimate 16.

But, it’s not simply opposing soccer groups that the Atlas Lionesses, because the crew is known as, have needed to dribble previous to get the place they’ve.

One incident, particularly, has stood out.

Forward of the World Cup, one BBC journalist felt it acceptable to pose a query, wholly unrelated to soccer, to the Moroccan crew captain, Ghizlane Chebbak.

“In Morocco, it’s unlawful to have a homosexual relationship. Do you have got any homosexual gamers in your squad and what’s life like for them in Morocco?,” requested the BBC reporter in the course of the pre-match press convention in Melbourne earlier than Morocco’s conflict with Germany.

Chebbak seemed perplexed by the road of questioning and a FIFA official moderating the press convention instantly interjected: “Sorry, it is a very political query so we are going to simply keep on with questions referring to soccer.”

The BBC journalist, nonetheless, doubled down on his line of interrogation.

In Morocco, homosexuality can lead to three years imprisonment and for that cause alone, it was totally irresponsible to place stress on the Moroccan captain to out anybody who could also be homosexual. Nor was it the right platform for gamers to be pressured to come back out as homosexual (if there are any homosexual gamers on the crew) if that they had not chosen to take action themselves.

However the query additionally revealed problematic biases. The Moroccan males’s crew – additionally targets of racism – haven’t been requested this query. Did the BBC journalist fall into the lure of gender stereotyping that solely homosexual ladies play soccer, a problem which the BBC itself has previously campaigned against?

Hosted in Australia and New Zealand, the Ladies’s World Cup – like the lads’s version final yr – has witnessed a variety of firsts from Morocco, whose crew additionally contains the first-ever hijabi participant to compete within the match.

Questions surrounding these achievements would have been completely appropriate however to give attention to the one Arab nation within the occasion and try to shed a destructive gentle on the nation reeks of the sense of ethical superiority Western media additionally demonstrated when Qatar hosted the 2022 males’s World Cup.

No journalist has gone round asking Lindsey Horan or Alex Morgan, the US ladies’s nationwide crew co-captains, what life is like for the Black American gamers of their crew contemplating the racist police brutality that persists within the US.

They haven’t been requested questions on abortion rights being overturned within the US or the unlawful invasion of Iraq and its compounding penalties twenty years later.

These are essential political debates to have however to decide on whom to ask selectively, at a sporting occasion, particularly when the gamers haven’t campaigned on the problems themselves, suggests prejudice at finest and an agenda at worst.

Asking Colin Kaepernick, for instance, about police brutality is logical contemplating he fronted the ‘take a knee’ motion. However you’ll by no means go to a mechanic to ask a medical query.

It has change into a sample to indicate ethical superiority over Arab nations. When no different nation is receiving questions on LGBTQ rights or every other political problem, to single out Morocco signifies this tendency to implement Western views worldwide.

The Qatar World Cup final yr was equally bombarded with criticism, a lot of it laced with Orientalism and racism. Such issues are raised with different Arab nations trying to promote their very own sport sectors.

By some means, nonetheless, there was little backlash to the US, Canada and Mexico internet hosting the 2026 males’s World Cup. No questions on structural racism, ongoing pressured labour, immigration rights, devastating gun violence and extra have been posed to the US camp.

This sense of ethical superiority will not be restricted to soccer both. Motion pictures chosen for Oscar nominations which have storylines primarily based within the Center East have all, in recent times, been ones that present the area both by means of a lens of struggle, terrorism or oppression.

Movies like The Harm Locker and Zero Darkish Thirty, which each gained the Academy Awards, confirmed the area as violent, with out questioning the function of US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in fuelling that violence. It’s been the identical with the movies from the area nominated for Oscars, equivalent to Capernaum, Omar and Paradise Now.

They’re all glorious motion pictures in their very own proper however for less than them to be chosen for Academy Award nominations and different, non-violence-related tales to not be shortlisted, factors to the perpetuation of destructive stereotypes of the Arab world.

We needs to be celebrating the area’s achievements and progress. Let’s not neglect, this World Cup has been certainly one of many firsts for Moroccan ladies.

Among the many earliest universities on this planet was based by Fatima al-Fihriya, a Moroccan girl, over a millennium in the past.

Because the query on LGBTQ rights was posed to the Moroccan captain, the BBC has apologised after receiving widespread backlash. However it’s the Western media as an entire that should mirror.

Sport, and soccer particularly, is meant to be a unifying issue the world over. The World Cup is a superb event to ship on that promise. Through the use of that platform to reveal deep-rooted biases towards the Arab world, the Western media solely exposes itself.

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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