BTS Jungkook’s Upcoming Performance At The Qatar World Cup Sparks Mixed Feelings

The whole event has received mixed reactions from ARMY, K-Pop fans, sports fans, politicians, and human right activists.

It was recently announced that BTS‘s Jungkook will be part of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Soundtrack and will perform at the opening ceremony.

BTS’s Jungkook | @bts_bighit/Twitter

For many, it wasn’t a surprising announcement as Jungkook recently traveled to Qatar. BTS also signed a promotional deal with Hyundai back in 2018, and the company is one of the official sponsors for the event.

BTS’s collaboration for “Yet To Come” with Hyundai | Hyundai/YouTube 

Yet, although there was a lot of excitement following the announcement, both ARMYs and K-Pop fans have raised their concerns about the appearance following the controversy surrounding Qatar’s laws and stance on human rights.

The BBC recently published a graphic of life in Qatar, including the population, government, and aspects of society. Amongst some of the laws, Qatar follows the Islamic Sharia law that says homosexuality is illegal.

BBC graphic showing the “Life in Qatar,” including that same-sex relationships are illegal | BBC

Following criticisms about the country’s laws on same-sex relationships, Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser al Khater explained that LGBTQIA+ fans would be allowed to show affection and not be penalized for it. He also emphasized that everyone would be able to feel safe when they arrived.

We’ve always said that everyone is welcome here. All we ask is for people to be respectful of the culture. We ask for people to understand that different cultures are different people. At the end of the day, as long as you don’t do anything that harms other people, like destroying public property, then everyone is welcome and you have nothing to worry about. Everybody is welcome and everyone will feel safe.

— Nasser al Khater

| Sky News/YouTube 

However, many human rights activists have still raised concerns as the country’s lenience during the event is not something that will continue. According to a Human Rights Watch report, forces in Qatar are still arresting those in the LGBTQIA+ community, with many even being forced to undergo conversion therapy.

Yet, it isn’t just the views on homosexuality that have raised concerns.

There have also been concerns from human rights activists and broadcasters about the treatment of international and domestic workers, as many workers have allegedly died while working on constructing the stadium.

This comes alongside Qatar’s policies and laws when it comes ton the role of women and freedom of speech.

For example, In a 2021 report, Human Rights Watch documented that Qatari laws impose discriminatory male guardianship rules, which deny women the right to make key decisions about their lives.

In a report done by Human Rights Watch, the organization shared its own information on various laws within Qatar that are seen as breaking the rules on the freedom of speech.

Qatar’s 2014 cybercrimes law provides up to 3 years in prison and a fine of 500,000 Qatari riyal (US$137,000) for anyone convicted of spreading undefined “false news” on the internet or for posting online content that “violates social values or principles,” or “insults or slanders others.” Some international journalists have been detained while reporting in Qatar, forced to confess, and their work has been destroyed.

— Human Rights Watch

Amidst the global challenge to tackle climate change, FIFA has also come under scrutiny about the current climate crisis. After comments that it would be carbon neutral, scientists have said that it’s “misleading,” with the belief that the tournament could have a carbon footprint three times higher than stated.

We did a little digging into FIFA’s carbon footprint estimate and we think it’s way over 10 million tonnes – so three times that, at least.

 — Mike Berners-Lee of Lancaster University.

| BBC Sport 

From Qatar’s stance on LGBTQIA+ issues to FIFA’s potentially problematic carbon footprint, many are concerned that Jungkook’s involvement feels at odds with BTS’s image. As a group, they have, among other things, been working on a campaign with Samsung to fight climate change and have always fought for the freedom of expression and love.

BTS’s campaign with Samsung to help sustainability | Samsung

After the announcement, K-Pop fans and ARMYs shared their own views on the issue on social media platforms. In one tweet, an ARMY shared their thoughts on the issue, explaining that although it’s a huge achievement, they cannot ignore the issues going on in Qatar.

Others also pointed out that although they understand that Jungkook is probably obliged by contract, as BTS has a partnership with Hyundai, which is sponsoring the event, it is understandable to share criticisms.

The controversy surrounding the event is something that has been evident for many years. Many public and political figures have shared their stances on the event, with Labour politicians in the UK boycotting World Cup and refusing to travel to the country.

No, I wouldn’t [go to the final if England made it.] I think the human rights record is such that I wouldn’t go and that’s the position of the labour party.

— Leader of UK opposition party Keir Starmer

| LBC 

Dua Lipa was among the names announced to make an appearance. Following the news that she was due to perform at the opening ceremony, the singer responded and shut down the rumors.

In an Instagram post, she explained that although she would be cheering on the team from home, she would only be visiting Qatar once they had fulfilled the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the event.

Dua Lipa’s statement about the opening ceremony | @dualipa/Instagram

You can read the original announcement below.

BTS’s Jungkook Has Been Confirmed To Perform In The FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony

Source: BBC, BBC Sports, Amnesty International, Human Right's Watch and Reddit

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

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