Reading the German newspapers last week on a train from Berlin to Leipzig, I was startled to read the name of the firm that is designing the stadium for the 2022 World Cup – a tournament clouded by imputations of bribery and corruption on a colossal scale.
The firm of architects is called AS&P. That’s short for Albert Speer & Partner.
The original Albert Speer, as Hitler’s architect, tried to rebuild Europe on slave labour and fooled the Nuremburg judges with fake contrition.
Qatar is a state built on slave labour, many of the victims supplied by gangmasters. Qatar imports tens of thousands of workers from Asia, herding them in camps and depriving them of all human rights as they work in heat of up to 50 degrees. According to the US State Department, Qatar “does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so.”
The firm of AS&P has no connection whatsoever with the Nazi past or with slave labour, let that be absolutely clear. Albert Speer’s son, born 1934, founded the firm in 1964 and has an impeccable record in public service on the German Academy for Urban and Regional Spatial Planning. AS&P, based in Frankfurt-am-Main, has been active in Arab government projects since 1977 and in China since 1997.
AS&P will, however, be under scrutiny in Qatar. It will be expexted that any work Speer contracts on the 2022 World Cup site will be done by properly paid labourers whose rights are fully protected under international law and who are housed in humane conditions. It should also assure the rest of the world that the labour camps will be open to independent international inspection, as they are not today.