The German TV pundit and former player Sandro Wagner has come under fire after a comment on TV in which he called the traditional dress of the Qatari men, the Thawb, a bathrobe. This was insensitive and he has acknowledged his mistake and duly apologized.
This is an example of cultural insensitivity not only by Wagner himself but also his employers, the ZDF, Germany’s second terrestrial broadcaster. To call this a racist remark or even outright racism would be a misappropriation of the term but it is insensitive and though the comment was made in the heat of the moment, i.e. during the match Germany against Spain, it should not have happened in the first place.
It is not surprising therefore that the reaction by the Qatari population and others from the region point at German double standards. On the one hand, the team were holding their hands over their mouths to protest the u-turn by FIFA about the one-love armband, while at the same time commentators and pundits in Germany appear not to have made their home work themselves!
At least the Germans are not alone in their insensitivity as this clip highlights. English football fans dressed up as Crusaders – on the Arab peninsula. They seem to be surprised to have run into trouble.
© image credit: the image used for this post originates from a journal article titled “Making moves: reading Saudi social change through commercial table top games” by Andrew Leber which was published in the Arabian Humanities.Good writing does not come by chance, so consider a little tip: