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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:48 pm
Posts: 7379
Pep Guardiola caught out by his double standards over human rights
David Conn

The Manchester City manager’s support for jailed Catalan leaders does not extend to political prisoners in Abu Dhabi, home of City’s owners

For followers of football who believe in the sport as a force for good the muddles of the Football Association chief executive, Martin Glenn, over Pep Guardiola’s yellow ribbon have made for a somewhat dispiriting fortnight. Glenn, having insisted through the FA’s self-righteous campaign to display the poppy on England shirts that he could negotiate fine distinctions between war remembrance and political symbols, has now revealed profound, brain-fading ignorance of the world outside Wembley.

Insisting that Guardiola’s ribbon in support of jailed Catalan independence leaders is political and therefore outlawed, then asked for more examples of divisive symbols, Glenn lumped together the Star of David, hammer and sickle and the swastika – thereby breaking what might be termed the Ken Livingstone rule that avoiding mentioning the Nazis is rarely a bad idea.

Guardiola’s demonstration of solidarity with people at home was itself undermined by his response to the question it prompted from the Associated Press reporter, Rob Harris, about human rights in Abu Dhabi, the Gulf country ruled by City’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his family. These plain issues have rarely been raised throughout Sheikh Mansour’s 10-year involvement and vast expenditure on City; the project’s power has led to a contradictory reluctance here, despite a huge media presence, to ask such questions. Guardiola responded by suggesting that somehow campaigning for freedom of speech is more valid in Spain because the country is already democratic, than in Abu Dhabi, where lonely voices call for more democracy itself.

“Every country decides the way they want to live for themselves,” Guardiola said, oddly. “If he decides to live in that [country], it is what it is. I am in a country with democracy installed since years ago, and try to protect that situation.”

The imprisoned person in Abu Dhabi for whose freedom Amnesty International is currently advocating most strongly is Ahmed Mansoor, a campaigner on social media for greater democracy and freedom of speech. Amnesty has named Mansoor a prisoner of conscience, meaning he was “peacefully exercising his human right to freedom of expression,” for which he has been charged – by the United Arab Emirates’ Public Prosecution for Cybercrimes – and is locked up in unknown locations, suffering cruel treatment possibly amounting to torture.

Mansoureh Mills, a former Amnesty researcher who worked closely with Mansoor, says she once asked him why he continued to speak out on human rights in Abu Dhabi, putting himself in danger of harassment by the security services.

“He said: ‘I love my country and I want my country to improve. That is why I do what I do,’” Mansoureh recalled. “Ahmed is a liberal, he campaigned for human rights, including for migrant workers who would come and ask him for help. He is a very kind man and the bravest person I know.”

Mansoor’s detention follows the heavy prison sentences imposed on 69 people accused of being Islamist plotters, which human rights groups heavily criticised as miscarriages of justice. One of those convicted, whom Amnesty also considers a prisoner of conscience, is Mohammed al-Roken, an internationally respected lawyer who worked on human rights cases, including with Amnesty itself, for 20 years before his arrest. After the Guardian highlighted his 10-year prison sentence in 2013 one of his friends, an English woman who had worked in Abu Dhabi – and had a deeply critical view of its hierarchical structures – contacted the paper to express her loyalty to Roken. She said he could have made a fortune working as a lawyer in the US or Europe but had chosen to stay at home and work determinedly for the betterment of human rights, now at terrible personal cost.

Sheikh Mansour and the City chairman, Khaldoon al-Mubarak, who is a senior political and business figure in Abu Dhabi, are about to be showered in worldwide praise for the £1.2bn transformation of City, brought to glorious fruition by Guardiola. Abu Dhabi’s rulers and their advocates argue that they strive to maintain a stable and relatively tolerant society but must be highly vigilant to avoid the catastrophes and divisions which have beset other countries in the Middle East. Human rights organisations fully acknowledge the need for security but argue that the crackdown in Abu Dhabi since the 2011 Arab Spring has been extreme and oppressive.

English football and Manchester City have become showcases in part to bring global credit to Abu Dhabi – although Mansour’s executives dispute this, saying it is not a state enterprise, despite the sponsorships by the state airline Etihad and the country’s tourist authority, whose billboards encourage worldwide viewers of City matches to visit Abu Dhabi. If Guardiola, paid around £12m a year by Sheikh Mansour to deliver wonders on the football field, insists on raising human rights issues, he should be consistent, not descend into false distinctions and fumbling excuses.

The FA’s stance, despite its own insistence on the poppy, is to banish absolutely all political symbols from the arena and to tell everybody to concentrate on the game alone, a policy to which Guardiola has now agreed to adhere. But his willingness to raise such issues and show solidarity should be applauded and followed by football people – and extended to human rights everywhere, including for those languishing in prison in the country of his employer. ... SApp_Other

metalalloy wrote:
Does the SE have Gray, Mahrez or Albrighton on our team or players of their caliber?

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:59 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2003 5:51 pm
Posts: 13091
Where have you been? The FA is in a fix as it is.

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