Qatar World Cup Underbelly: The Worker’s Cup, poem by Bev Muendel-Atherstone at
Rhett Lewis

Qatar World Cup Underbelly: The Worker’s Cup

Qatar World Cup Underbelly: The Worker’s Cup

written by: Bev Muendel-Atherstone


Like fish to baited hooks they took the lure,
And fled poor job prospects in Ghana, Kenya,
And Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and India,
For tales of better lives and playing soccer in Qatar.

Aboard work buses with faces layered in kafias,
Hoodwinked, they peer out from tiny slits,
Thus braced against the desert’s angry blasts,
Where toil in heat and dust await in endless days.

Needless deaths from tower falls make plain,
Migrant workers are as replaceable as ants.
Duped, yet still they recruit friends to this barren land,
Enticing them with myths they have begun to doubt.

Hoped for promised trips to visit wives at home,
And plans to save and build a house dissolve in meagre pay.
Imprisoned in their dreams, with lives on hold,
They ask each other, “Is this really living?’

One homesick worker, stabs another!
Desperate, and feigning mental illness!
He hopes to be declared unfit to work,
To be sent home to poverty familiar.

The promised Workers’ Cup games at last arrive.
With selection of company workers’ teams, hopes rise.
Soccer players’ chosen outrank the other workers,
Although scoring players reap only mean rewards.

Players gawk in disbelief as opposing teammates arrive.
They argue with officials that those paunchy bodies prove,
That team is made of coaches not fellow workers!
Their screams of fraud are eaten by the Harmattan.

The vaunted World Cup proves a mirage,
Built on a rotting scaffolding of eviscerated truths,
To lure migrants to reject their impoverished freedom,
And instead embrace lives of slavitude.

The World Cup tournament proves only a mirage,
Built on broken promises by hired cheats and liars,
Who lure workers to reject their wretched freedom,
And replaced it with lives of slavitude.

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