It’s certainly a curious time in the world of politics. The never-ending conflict between Israel and Palestine flared up again over the weekend – resulting in the worst bout of literal blood-letting since the last one. And the USA has a presidential election next year where a potential candidate faces an endless litany of charges that could see him imprisoned.
So what’s going on in Saudi Arabia at the moment? It seems a fair question to pose – after all, there are few better ways of avoiding scrutiny than doing things when everyone’s looking in the other direction. Well, it appears they’ve gone down the route of every other human rights abusing regime and bid for a sports tournament.
They want to host the 2034 World Cup and have an ambitious plan to do it. If this sounds familiar, that’s because it is – Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany hosted the 1936 Olympics and used the occasion to make favourable comparisons between sporting excellence and the ruling regime. The only difference is whom they are persecuting.
Whereas the Nazis primarily – although definitely not exclusively – went after the Jews, Saudi Arabia targets anyone at all who doesn’t like their regime. Only last month, a 54-year-old man called Muhammad al-Ghamdi was sentenced to death – and the reason? He used X, formerly Twitter, to post criticisms of the country’s human rights record.
One can only wonder what Chicago’s very own Jeff Mills has to say on the subject. Back in the tail end of 2021, he appeared on the bill at MDL Beast – a festival that took place in the neighbouring United Arab Emirates. Facing an onslaught of criticism from his own fans over the decision, he was one of very few DJs to come out and defend himself.
It didn’t go very well. Mills initially implied that those people who were complaining were actually jealous of the salary he was receiving – Ears To The House understands that he was paid $100,000 for his appearance. Then he tried to argue that the people in the crowd might be tempted to fight for change in their country’s politics after listening to his music – a more egotistical defence was harder to imagine.
In view of everything that’s going on in the Middle East right now, it doesn’t look like your set had the desired effect, Jeff…