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This page is the English version of Almasirah Media Network website and it focuses on delivering all leading News and developments in Yemen, the Middle East and the world. In the eara of misinformation imposed by the main stream media in the Middle East and abroad, Almasirah Media Network strives towards promoting knowledge, principle values and justice, among all societies and cultures in the world

'Whitewashing Crimes': Messi Draws Flak for Accepting Saudi Tourism Offer

News - World: Argentinian football star Lionel Messi has drawn flak after he was officially unveiled as a brand ambassador for the Saudi Tourism Authority, despite earlier warnings by human rights groups against getting involved with the country known for its abhorrent human rights record.

The footballer arrived in Jeddah on Monday, confirming the report that he had taken on the controversial role, posting a “sponsored by Visit Saudi” message on his Instagram page from a yacht in the Red Sea along with a caption that read: “Discovering the Red Sea in Saudi. #VisitSaudi.”

In a Twitter post, Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said, he was "pleased to welcome" the soccer star who plays as a forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain and captains the Argentina national team.

"We are excited for you to explore the treasures of the Red Sea, the Jeddah Season, and our ancient history. This is not his first visit to the Kingdom and it will not be the last," he said, beaming with excitement.

That’s not a world concerned with human rights

South American football expert, Marcela Mora y Araujo, joined Joe Molloy on The Football Show to offer his take on the Argentinian star opting to tie up with a country that has created the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” in Yemen through a seven-year war on the impoverished country.

“In the pinnacle of elite sport that he’s in, that’s not a world that is concerned with human rights issues, and never has been,” he said, slamming his decision.

“Purely from a commercial and financial point of view, he’s raking it in. It’s a World Cup year, his last one, and he’s going to be the biggest star at the tournament," he hastened to add.

Saying yes to all human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia

Back in February 2021, after it emerged that Messi had been approached by Saudi Tourism, families of the prisoners of conscience wrote a letter to the seven-time Ballon d'Or winner, urging him not to get involved.

“You are an inspiration to millions and what you say and do really matters. To put it bluntly – you have enormous power, but with that power comes great responsibility,” read the letter, which was organized by human rights body Grant Liberty and was published via The Independent.

“The Saudi regime wants to use you to launder its reputation. Prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia have been tortured, sexually assaulted, and held in prolonged solitary confinement – often for months at a time – on an industrial scale.

“Women’s rights campaigners, reformist preachers, Shia activists, democracy campaigners, indeed anyone who criticizes or even questions the regime can face long-term imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty.

“If you say ‘yes’ to visiting Saudi you are in effect saying yes to all the human rights abuses that take place today in modern Saudi Arabia. But if you say ‘no’ you will send an equally powerful message – that human rights matter, that decency matters, that those who torture and murder do not do so with impunity.

“The world must stand up to those who trample on others.”

Take a good look in the mirror

The news has left Messi’s legions of fans dejected, who have rebuked him for “whitewashing” Riyadh’s human rights violations, including those against the Yemeni people, political dissidents, and the persecuted Shia minority living in the kingdom.

“This is even more disappointing than his first season at PSG,” a Reddit user said in reaction to the news, taking a jab at the football star.

A Twitter user, referring to the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents in Istanbul, asked Messi whether he would “get to attend beheadings or to watch journalists get murdered whilst holidaying” in Saudi Arabia or go on trips “to watch bombs land in Yemen.”

“These mega-rich sportsmen that not only support but enable sports washing by a brutal regime, bombing civilians/children in Yemen really need to take a good look at their greedy selves,” another user added.

Source: Press TV

#Saudi_Arabia #War Crimes 22-05-12
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This page is the English version of Almasirah Media Network website and it focuses on delivering all leading News and developments in Yemen, the Middle East and the world. In the eara of misinformation imposed by the main stream media in the Middle East and abroad, Almasirah Media Network strives towards promoting knowledge, principle values and justice, among all societies and cultures in the world

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