Sunday, 25 September 2016
In the Great Banquet Hall of the Imperial Hotel sat the leaders of the corporations and their partners.
They were dressed in pure silk suits and formal black evening dresses and the women wore real diamonds.
The Saudi Princes and European leaders dined together with the rich.
The banquet had been ordered to celebrate the opening of the World Cup.
But news had leaked out about the use of slave labor to build the new stadium and several unexplained deaths on the site.
There had been, outside the Hotel, among the flashing lights of the paparazzi, a small group of protesters as the black stretch limousines arrived with their guests. But the police had swiftly ushered them away with batons drawn and they were not heard of again.
The guests were free to enjoy their meal undisturbed.
Among those invited were celebrities and stars from the worlds of music, entertainment, and sports.
One of the singers got up and, moving the microphone to her lips, began to sing a strange song about the devil.
The guests were greatly amused and some laughed openly.
As the night went on and the champagne flowed they talked and danced beneath the great chandeliers until at last they were spent.
Many of the guests were staying the night at the hotel and they retired to their rooms where some were met by call girls and muscle jocks arranged to cater to their tastes.
The rest descended into golden slumbers until morning.....
Outside the hotel, in the cold streets and alleyways, slept homeless men and women, even young children. But there were none to be seen on the route to the Imperial Hotel, the police had been ordered to keep them out of sight.
The day of the Grand Opening arrived and all the guests traveled in their limousines to the newly built stadium.
There was much excitement as the Opening Ceremony began with its bright colors and nimble dancers.
But, towards the end, a huge black bird descended on their festivities. The light was blocked out and there was dancing in the dark.
But soon the light was restored and they saw a giant silk toy box with many puppets and clowns to amuse them.
Behind the glass, in the corporate boxes, they drank their champagne and ate their hors d'oeuvres high above the common crowd.
In that crowd there was a small boy who had spent the night on the streets. He had stolen his way in and had somehow eluded the security and body guards.
He stood in the standing room only section because all of the seats in the stadium had been sold at high prices to those who could afford them.
His father had been a penniless immigrant who had worked and died constructing the new stadium.
He wanted to see what it was that was important enough to die for.
But he was disappointed.
The entertainment was superficial and trivial. Even the black bird seemed devised to amuse the crowd.
He looked up at the people in the exclusive corporate boxes and wondered what it was that made them happy, if indeed they were happy.
He decided that they were superficial and trivial like the entertainment and he envied them no more. .
Photo Credit: indrarado via Compfight cc