Reaction to Lionel Messi in bisht during World Cup trophy lifting shows cultural rifts in 2022 Qatar

Reaction to Lionel Messi in bisht during World Cup trophy lifting shows cultural rifts in 2022 Qatar


After 28 days, 64 games and 172 goals in Qatar 2022, Lionel Messi climbed the podium at Lusail Stadium to finally get his hands on the World Cup trophy that had eluded him throughout his career.

Before joining his teammates who were waiting for their captain in a hive of excitement on a nearby stage, Messi first shook hands with FIFA President Gianni Infantino and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Tamim then donned a black and gold bisht, a traditional piece of clothing worn in the region for special events and celebrations, on the Argentine captain before the 35-year-old was presented with a trophy.

Wearing his new suit, which concealed his pale blue and white jersey, Messi danced in front of his teammates before lifting the trophy over his head.

For some, it was the perfect ending to what many consider to be the best World Cup in history.

However, for others it ruined the moment.

“It seems a shame that Messi was covered by the Argentine shirt,” former England international and presenter Gary Lineker said in a live broadcast of the final on the BBC.

For others, it was Qatar’s latest attempt to make its mark on the tournament – the “sports laundering” criticism (where critics accused Qatar of using the occasion to hide its human rights record) that formed the basis of much of the tournament’s coverage. tournament.

“Something a little odd about Messi wearing Bisht, that black cloak that the Emir of Qatar put on before lifting the World Cup,” New York Times journalist Tariq Panja. tweeted.

“Qatar wants this to be their moment just like Messi and Argentina.”

There was more criticism from other media, with the British newspaper The Telegraph initially writing the headline “Strange act that ruined the greatest moment in World Cup history” in reference to Messi wearing a bisht.

The headline of the article was later changed to “Lionel Messi forced to wear traditional Arabic bisht to lift World Cup trophy”.

Messi briefly wore this piece of clothing, taking it off shortly after the trophy was presented and celebrating with his teammates in the distinctive Argentine jersey.

Amid criticism, Hassan Al Thawady, secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Heritage (SC), the organization in charge of organizing the World Cup, attempted to explain the reasons behind the bisht.

“This is a dress for a formal occasion and for celebrations. It was a celebration of Messi,” Al Tawady told BBC Sport.

“The World Cup was an opportunity to showcase our Arab and Muslim culture to the world. It wasn’t Qatar, it was a regional holiday.

“People from all walks of life were able to come and see what’s going on here and understand that we may not be the same, but we can still celebrate together.”

Others on social media were outraged by the bisht’s criticism, saying it was steeped in ignorance and lack of understanding of Qatar’s culture.

According to them, this was another example of the constant criticism that the country received after winning the right to host the tournament.

“Some are angry because Messi wore a bisht (it was given to him; a symbol of appreciation and respect in Arab culture),” writer and columnist Reem Al-Harmy. tweeted.

“However, I have not seen the same level of anger and outrage when racism, Islamophobia and Orientalism were constantly used against the World Cup in Qatar.

“Instead of prejudiced opinions and evaluative views, turning this beautiful and meaningful photo into something that is not there, read about the Arabic bisht; its importance and why/when it is worn.

“To give someone a bisht, to show how significant/respectful they are, that’s Messi today.”

CNN has reached out to FIFA for comment on the decision to use bisht at the launch ceremony.

Messi has not publicly commented on the bisht.

Written by khirou

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