Monika lives in Qatar. It lists what fans need to watch out for

Monika lives in Qatar.  It lists what fans need to watch out for

Monika lives in Qatar. It lists what fans need to watch out for

Monika moved to Qatar two years ago. Her husband had to give her permission to start working and to drive a car. In an interview with us, he tells us what the Qatari reality looks like and what the fans can expect.

Klaudia Stabach: You have been living in Qatar for two years. Why this particular country?

Monika Łoboz: My husband got a job offer in a gas transportation company. The offer was good, so we started to wonder if it was worth flying to Qatar. I had previously lived in Denmark and Belgium – my husband’s home country – so the decision to move was quite easy.

However, Qatar is a completely different world than the European one.

Reading articles in the Western media, I found only descriptions of the dark side of Qatar, so I had a lot of concerns. It turned out that it wasn’t so bad after all. My life in Qatar is surprisingly pleasant, easy and safe. If there is a fault in the apartment, a short phone call is enough and a specialist assigned to our block appears. When going to the toilet in the restaurant, you can safely leave your phone and purse on the table. People smile at each other, they are kind.

At the same time, women are deprived of basic rights.

The topic is wide and difficult. On the one hand, it is true that women must respect their husband’s opinion and ask him for permission on issues that may seem absurd in Europe. I myself had to obtain official permission from my spouse to take up professional work and to drive a car, and my profession is entered in my ID: housewife.

On the other hand, women are treated like princesses here. Men let them pass in lines, help with everything. Women don’t really need to work or worry about money, and very often this life suits them. However, many of them still fulfill themselves professionally. He runs his own business and travels the world. Their lifestyle is usually their choice, so the dress and covering of hair is not imposed in Qatar. Usually, women decide for themselves. My impression is that the West is more concerned about the rights of Qatari women than about Qatari women.

And you, an immigrant and a Christian, how are you perceived?

Fortunately, I have not encountered overt discrimination. Perhaps because I work in a team with dozens of different nationalities. When I say that I am from Poland, everyone reacts very positively, they say that it is a beautiful country, they ask about our culture. I felt completely different in Western Europe and that’s where I felt a slight discrimination. As if I was being labeled Eastern Europe.

You work at FIFA. What exactly do you do?

I am in a government organization dealing with the preparation of the World Cup, specifically in the logistics coordination center. Our responsibilities include preparing the stadium infrastructure facilities, i.e. planning where to place medical points, umbrellas, chairs for security, workstations for journalists.

Polish fans have many fears about the trip to Qatar. What do you really need to watch out for and what is a rumor?

Certainly there is an absolute ban on alcohol, pork, pornography and drugs. If someone forgets and buys a bottle of whiskey at the airport, the customs officers will confiscate it, but I don’t think the situation will end in an arrest. Needless to say, you didn’t know about this ban. But drugs are no joke. The detainee may even be sentenced to death.

The availability of alcohol in Qatar is a hot topic among football fans.

Unfortunately, there are strict laws here. Even my non-Muslim husband had to ask his employer for permission to shop at the liquor store. Fans must remember that the consumption of alcohol in public places is prohibited here. During the World Cup, it will only be possible to do so in fan zones and in some hotels. Therefore, you also have to be prepared for high prices. A small bottle of beer can cost up to PLN 50.

I also sensitize to the observance of the rules of appropriate attire. Shoulders and knees must be covered. For men, knee-length shorts will work, but a t-shirt with cut-out shoulders will not.

The attitude towards homosexual people is disturbing. The ambassador of the World Cup in Qatar stated publicly in an interview that homosexuality is a mental illness.

I watched the interview and yes, Mr. Salman’s words are appalling, but please take into account that he is an older man whose views do not necessarily reflect the views of the rest of society. In addition, even in Poland there is no shortage of equally scandalous words that fall from the lips of leading politicians.

Gay fans are just as welcome in Qatar as straight fans. They are only expected to comply with the law.

That is?

Don’t show affection in public. Holding hands is fine, but kisses and tender hugs can be taken the wrong way. This rule also applies to heterosexual couples.

The Guardian estimated that more than 6,000 people had died. people employed in the construction of stadium infrastructure. Has disclosure of this information improved conditions?

The first work started a decade ago, and I moved only two years ago, so I don’t have much knowledge. I have a feeling that the conditions are correct now. Employers make sure that the teams eat lunch at the appointed time and rest during the greatest heat, i.e. between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

In early November, I saw videos from Doha, where crowds of people, mainly of Indian descent, took part in a parade of fans. The men were wearing German or Portuguese shirts, which looked quite comical.

Perhaps someone arranged it in advancebut I don’t know the details. However, I know that there are many emigrants in Qatar who do not have their own team at the World Cup and choose countries with which they want to sympathize. My colleague from work comes from India and is in a group of several dozen that support Portugal. Indians bought most of the tickets, so please don’t be surprised when you see Indians in white and blue, and maybe even Polish, at the match between Poland and Argentina.

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