Qatar kickstarted the FIFA World Cup 2022 yesterday with a message of inclusivity in the words of Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman and an electrifying performance by the much-loved K-Pop band BTS, among other things. Keep reading to get a glimpse of the opening ceremony.
1. Morgan Freeman & His Message Of Inclusivity
Morgan Freeman was accompanied by Ghanim al-Muftah in an opening act that spread a message of inclusivity. Ghanim is a Qatari social media influencer with a rare condition that stops the development of the lower spine. He is a also Qari, who recited Quranic verses as Freeman sat beside him and talked about bridging distances and unity.
“How can so many countries, languages, & cultures come together if only one way is accepted? Freeman asked. “We were raised to believe that we were scattered on this Earth as nations and tribes so we can learn from each other and find beauty in our differences,” Ghanim responded.
“What unites us in this moment is so much greater than what divides us. How can we make it last longer than just today?” Freeman asked. “With tolerance and respect, we can live together under one big home,” answered Ghanim.
2. BTS’ Performance
The South-Korean boy band became the first Korean band to perform at a FIFA World Cup opening ceremony. BTS treated their fans to an exclusive performance on their song ‘Dreamers’ which many are arguing stole the show! Catch a glimpse of the performance below.
3. Amazing Fireworks
The Al-Bayt Stadium lit up as attendees witnessed a grand fireworks show. Watch below.
4. Several World Leaders Attended
FIFA’s opening ceremony was graced by many world leaders. To name a few, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Indian Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, among others.
5. Musks Distribution In The Stadium
In a heartening gesture, little pouches of musk were distributed among the thousands of fans present in the stadium. A Twitter user shared a picture too, take a look below!
While this tournament has many firsts ( click here for more details), it is also engulfed by controversies. Qatar’s stance on LGBTQ rights and its alleged exploitation of migrant workers who built the infrastructure for the tournament has been in the limelight of late. It is said that around 6500 migrant workers have lost their lives during the process. In addition to this, European teams might wear rainbow armbands during the tournament to show their support for LGBTQ rights. BBC did not cover the opening ceremony as a protest. Share your thoughts with us.
What was your favourite part about the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony?