Saturday, June 26, 2010


Potential Racist Remarks Abroad Envisaged by American Journalist

"Nobody has said anything openly racist, yet," said sociologist Jacques Tarnero, who studies racism. However, the risk of tipping into xenophobia comes up when the French team is associated with the problems of the French ghettoes. It could confuse the public, he said.

So whence the title "French insults of World Cup team seen through racial prism", from which the paragraph above is taken? Ask Devorah Lauter, Los Angeles Times special correspondent.

Find something real to report instead of something you hope to see, Ms. Lauter. It isn't about race, it's about incompetence at high levels.

On the eve of the third and last game, Yade's boss, Sports and Youth Minister R. Bachelot gave the team a "motivational speech" that supposedly moved them to tears. Her motivational message? Francze deserves better, you are a disappointment, unworthy to wear the national team uniform, a poor example for France's youth. She really does belong in the Sarkozy government: wrong message, poor anticipation, and using a crisis to be visible "taking action." For perspective, Sarkozy has a long track record of poor anticipation and prevention of crises, arrogant and dismissive messages, and attending every possible crisis.

Naturally, President Sarkozy needed his share of this crisis, too. He summoned Prime Minister F. Fillon along with Bachelot and Yade to start a task force. He interviewed star player Thierry Henri. He stated that the players will not receive their bonuses (football players, not financial players); this last is probably illegal, by the way, since FIFA rules require independance of team organizations from national government. The President of France has time for this? As E. Petit, player on the 1998 WC Champion team and commentator on the current WC put it, surely the President has more important things to do, it is ridiculous to behave is if this were the only problem the country faces.

Dr. Bachelot told the players this fiasco damages the French image abroad; yes, but is it the players' fault, or are she and the President doing the more serious damage? Maybe it is a problem to do with the suburbs, or a suburb: Neuilly-sur-Seine. Would you investigate that story, Ms. Lauter?

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