Home ยป Minutes Silence

I love football and I love the world cup. I remember Maradona’s hand of god when I was six years old and Gazza’s tears when I was ten. I remember Baggio and Klinsmann and Ronaldo. The drama and excitement of the world cup is like nothing else, but this year’s Qatar world cup is tainted by the many lives lost during the twelve years prior to the tournament. Nobody will ever know exactly how many migrant workers died as a result of extreme heat and poor living conditions but many (including The Guardian) have reported the number to be 6500. To give each of these lives it’s own minutes silence would take longer than the entire tournament. Families in countries like Nepal have been offered the same amount in compensation for a life that Ronaldo earns in half an hour. The game that I love is tarnished almost beyond recovery by this avoidable human tragedy. In this poem I call for a minutes silence to take place before each world cup game so that the billions watching around the world can take a moment to remember the people who lost their lives so that the tournament could take place.

Just a minutes silence
I do not ask a lot
Football may be coming home
But 6000 men are not

Just a minutes silence
For each man who was lost
Working on grand stadia
Before a coin is tossed

Before a single whistle blows
And all the drama starts
Can we spare a single minute
Can we find it in our hearts

Before a single ball is kicked
By a preening millionaire
Before the golden globe is lifted
High into the air

In an air conditioned venue
Built with blood and toughened steel
Can we share some time to think
Just how those families must feel

Left behind in Kathmandu
To grieve a husband, son or brother
Who was sacrificed in Doha
For the glory of another

Toiling in the scorching heat
Poor men are so easily sold
Left to die of natural causes
At twenty seven years old

Just a minutes silence
To hear the tears cried
For those 6000 workers
Who did not have to die

Just a minutes silence
I do not ask a lot
Football may be coming home
But 6000 men are not


This short documentary investigates the impact of the deaths of Nepalese workers on their families and communities: https://www.voanews.com/a/cause-of-death-migrant-workers-and-the-2022-qatar-world-cup/6835545.html

Thank you to the following videographers whose work was used to make this video:

ArtHouse Studio: https://www.pexels.com/video/drone-footage-of-people-playing-football-4715600/

Teo Doulke: https://www.pexels.com/video/football-players-playing-on-the-field-10246153/

Kampus Production: https://www.pexels.com/video/a-group-of-boys-running-at-the-field-after-kicking-the-ball-8938336/

Tima Miroshnichenko: https://www.pexels.com/video/an-aerial-footage-of-a-soccer-field-4729194/

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