July 9, 2018 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1407

2018 World Cup In Arab Media Cartoons

July 9, 2018
Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1407

By: N. Licht

The 2018 World Cup, held this summer in Russia, is addressed in many cartoons in the global media, including in the Arab world. Many of the cartoons in the Arab media express disappointment and criticism over the poor performance of the Arab teams, especially since this year, for the first time in the history of the World Cup, four Arab teams – from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Morocco – qualified for the games. Other cartoons, published in Gulf papers that oppose the Assad regime, castigated Russia, which is enjoying positive media coverage as the host of the games while it is perpetrating massacres in Syria. Yet other cartoons addressed people's escapist preoccupation with the games, some of them also criticizing the simultaneous disregard of various crises around the world, especially the current disaster in Dar'a.

The following is a sampling of the cartoons on this topic published in the Arab media:     

Criticism Of The Arab Teams' Poor Performance

"The Arabs Are Out of the World Cup" (Al-Ghad, Jordan, June 24, 2018)

The Arabs crash in the World Cup (, June 16, 2018)

The Arab world reels from "the Arab results in the World Cup" (Al-Yawm Al-Sabi', Egypt, June 21, 2018)

"The Arab teams" leave the World Cup bruised and bleeding, with a "participation prize" in the form of an onion (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, June 20, 2018)

"The [Egyptian] Football Federation": "You think we'll learn from our mistakes ahead of the 2022 World Cup?! Of course we won't!" (Al-Masri Al-Yawm, Egypt, July 2, 2018)

Criticism Of Russia's Murderous Policy In Syria

"The World Cup!": "Putin" kicks the world around while holding up a trophy: a desperate "Syria" (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, June 13, 2018)

"Russia hosts the World Cup" (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, June 15, 2018)

(Al-Arab, London, June 21, 2018)

"Russia" plays football at home while showering Syria with missiles (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, July 1, 2018)

Syrian family terrified to see a football-shaped missile headed its way (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, June 29, 2018)

"The Russian finals in Syria!" (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, June 26, 2018)

The World, Preoccupied With World Cup, Is Ignoring Urgent Crises

"The international community" is preoccupied with the World Cup, ignoring the war in "Yemen" (Al-Arabi Al-Jadid, London, June 27, 2018)

The clueless international community needs the VAR (video assist referee) system to take a position on the situation in "Dar'a" (, June 29, 2018)

The world watches the games as Dar'a suffers (Al-Ghad, Jordan, June 30, 2018)

"The world's preoccupation with the World Cup" and "Russian missiles" are both responsible for "the dozens of fatalities in the Dar'a airstrikes" (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, June 30, 2018)

People's Preoccupation With World Cup

Amid Eid Al-Fitr celebrations, family tries to tear father away from the screen ('Okaz, Saudi Arabia, June 15, 2018)

"The World Cup" replaces men's heads with a football (Al-Madina, Saudi Arabia, June 22, 2018)

The Arab identity disappears during the World Cup (Al-Ghad, Jordan, June 26, 2018)

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