Monday, June 05, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 15, 1444 H
clear sky
39°C / 39°C

Happy holidays to the whole world

This Argentinian celebration with Messi wearing the black bisht robe received is mixed, and is definitely about work analysis and discussion

No matter what gift you will receive in any upcoming holiday, chances are it is not going to receive the same global attention as the gift received by Lionel Messi.

Christmas came early for Messi, the Argentinian world’s top football player, and for Argentina, as they did not only rightfully earn with his team Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup, the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad al Thani gifted him a black bisht robe and helped him wear it, as he was celebrating and lifting up the World Cup trophy as hundreds of millions around watched.

Holidays are the times of celebrations and giving each other much needed positive attention.

Yet, this Argentinian celebration with Messi wearing the black bisht robe received is mixed, and is definitely about work analysis and discussion.

What is a bisht?

Bisht is an Arabised word from Farsi language that carries the same meaning - a rope that covers the back and is open from the front.

I believe its roots come from texts documenting ancient mythology of Mesopotamian civilisations. These civilisations wrote that their deities of nature and water wore a similar robe, so that they could swim like fish under water.

Later, many cultures, especially spiritual figures to enhance their authority, around the world adopted wearing robes as a sign of status, prestige, and authority. Many historians believe that the religious style and attire of Pope has its roots in this ancient tradition.

Regional context and controversy

For hundreds of millions of people who are familiar with Arabic culture, bestowing upon someone your bisht is one of the greatest, extraordinary signs of hospitality and honour.

For over a millennia, records show that generous hosts, from ordinary people to rulers, gifted their guests bishts to welcome them and share with them a symbol that is always near and dear to them.

When Messi celebrated wearing the bisht gifted by the Emir of Qatar a number of commentators in Europe criticised the Qatari gesture, and viewed it an unnecessary move that undermined the winning occasion.

These views added fuel to the fire to conversations that have been taken part involving people familiar with the Arabic and western cultures.

Many people in the Arab world found the constant negative views about Qatar World Cup inconsistent with the values of fairness in judging other cultures.

Since the first industrial revolution in 1860s, many parts around the world started adopting many cultural symbols promoted by the world’s top economic and military powers.

These symbols became a soft power, and include the English language, the western history, clothing, food along with ideals promoted as universal rights. I see the signs of a slowly brewing global backlash against these symbols because influential voices in the west are taking the rest of the non-western world for granted.

Events such as World Cup finals are investments that bring us together to celebrate our part of our talents and cultures. I pray that the lesson learned from these times is that gifts and holidays spread togetherness and love, when we open our hearts and minds to learn about each other. Happy holidays to the whole world.

arrow up
home icon