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DW: Lifting the Veil on Qatar: The Emirate’s hopes for World Cup glory

08/09/2019

In 2022, Qatar will become the first country in the Arab world to host the soccer World Cup. The small Gulf emirate, however, has seen its image tarnished since it was awarded the event, especially over working conditions on World Cup building sites.

Human rights activists equate conditions for the migrant workers with modern-day slavery. In June 2017, Qatar came under additional pressure as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt suspended diplomatic relations. They were intent on isolating the nation due to the Qatari government’s alleged support of al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups. With the evidence proving less than concrete, however, the blockade appeared to be more of a transparent campaign against an unloved neighbor.

Qatar has been investing billions in education, the arts and a healthcare system that promises free medical treatment – to guest workers as well. At the same time, the Gulf state has been taking action to prepare for when its oil and gas reserves run out. Qatar is a country of contrasts.

This documentary looks not only at soaring skyscrapers and camel races in the desert, but also at the state of preparations for the 2022 World Cup. This is a country fighting against both political prejudices and its own bad image. But is the progress in Qatar really tangible on the ground, or is it just a facade?

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