Tenuous Politics Football World Cup 2018: Semi-final ! France v Belgium
he clash of two impressive that border each other should be a fascinating clash tonight. Although some of us are stick with the bombardment of the inaccurate slogan “Football’s coming home” over this week another slogan may be aired tonight: “France is Back”.
This has been used by technocratic capitalism’s dream politician Emmanuel Macron who despite his electoral victory in 2017 is now plunging new levels of unpopularity. He has faced protest from many sectors of society – public sector workers, students, farmers and pensioners have all taken to the streets in the last few weeks against his “reforms”. He is seeking some reflected glory from the football team and will attend the match tonight.
The French team need some redemption Euro 2016 was held there despite the permanent state of emergency. This has now been lifted but much of the police powers are still in place. France lost in the final in Paris against a fairly limited Portugal team.
They are now reliant on a band of young exciting players mainly from les banlieues – the poor suburbs of Paris where there are multi-cultural immigrant communities. The biggest star so far is M’Bappe who comes from the “Bondy” and is a local hero there where his Cameroon born Dad also used to play. The Premier League stars and key French players Pogba (whose brothers play for Guinea) and Kante (parents from Mali) also come from les banlieus.
This positivity only temporarily covers the racism which is still rife in many sections of French society though. There has been riots in Nantes (see above) after the police (armed in France) shot dead an unarmed young North African immigrant last week. One of the stars of France Griezmann had to apologise for posing in “blackface” make up last December ( an offensive image see below). A crassly insensitive move for a French player against his teammates and indeed the whole of France where the National Front polled over 10 million votes against Macron.
Hopefully if France are victorious it can help fight the racist anti-immigrant feelings in France – like the 98 team of Zidane victory did if only for a short while.