Are you talking about Football or Soccer? There is a difference!
It is related to your post, Mr. Hinteler,....
Sport: World Cup Shows Different Faces of Immigration
Anyone unfamiliar with football could be excused for asking whether Italy was playing the World Cup final with France or with a team from Africa.
All the Italian players were white [..]. Of the 23 [French] players [..], 14 were of African or Caribbean origin. Another, Vikash Dhorasoo, is of Indian origin but calls himself black. Yet another, David Trezeguet, has Argentinean parents. Zinedine Zidane, the French captain and star, was born in Marseille, but his parents migrated to France from Algeria in the 1950s. Only six French World Cup players -- three of them the goalkeepers -- were white.
The contrasting faces of the French and Italian squads spoke of different immigration experiences, but the presence of black players in European football teams is now common. Black football players have been representing England, Portugal, Holland and even Switzerland, for some time now. Even Germany which used to have an all-white football face now lines up players of African origin [..].
The black dominance of French football arises from its colonial past in Africa and the continuing French jurisdiction over some Caribbean and South Pacific territories. But that only explains a presence, not the dominance.
Paradoxically, black football players in the French team have risen because of discrimination, not despite it.
Job discrimination against blacks leaves only sport, especially football boarding schools managed by professional clubs, as the sole chance for young immigrants to get out of the dim housing projects they inhabit. Nine members of the French team grew up in Paris immigrant suburbs. [..]
"In the eyes of most of the French, we immigrants are only welcome if the national team wins the World Cup," Badir, a 22-year-old of Algerian origin from Aulnay sous Bois, a poor district some 20km northeast of Paris told IPS. [..]
After France beat Portugal in the semi-final [..], two young immigrants ran across the [..] Champs Elysees, carrying a placard that read: 'The scum is going to bring the Cup to France! -- Is it not wonderful?' During the rioting in November 2005 involving youth of immigrant origin, minister for the interior Nicolas Sarkozy had called the rioting youth "scum". [..]
The French of foreign origin have seen [a] return to position zero before, when France won the World Cup in 1998. Most French players in that team came from families that had migrated from Armenia, Senegal, Ghana, Guyana, Argentina, Algeria and Portugal. The team was dubbed "blanc, black, beur", ("white, black, Arab").
After that multicultural team won the World Cup, it became the symbol of allegedly successful French immigration policy - for a while. [..] It was supposed that society had come to terms with immigration.
But apart from all else, the 17 percent vote to far-right French candidate Jean Marie Le Pen in 2002 confirmed that racism remains deeply rooted in French society.
France's first black newsreader is the nation's new TV heart-throb
By John Lichfield in Paris
27 July 2006
France is just wild about Harry. Since Harry Roselmack took over reading France's most-watched TV news bulletin a week ago, he has been a runaway success. So much so that viewers are already beginning to forget that he is black.
Roselmack's presence on the screen - the first non-white to present a French mainstream TV news bulletin in prime time - was originally news in itself.
His professionalism and refreshingly snappy style of presentation has since won him praise for his journalistic ability. TF1, the most popular French TV channel, says that it has received a few vicious messages from racist die-hards. Otherwise, the reaction from viewers has been positive.
After just one week, Roselmack, 32, is well on the way to becoming one of the best-known faces in France and a national heart-throb.
With 7,400,000 viewers a night (42 per cent of the audience), he is comfortably ahead of the ratings for summer news bulletins.
During the rioting by multiracial suburban youth gangs last November, French TV companies were much criticised for their failure to present an ethnically diverse picture of French society. Although journalists of Arab or African origin - including Roselmack - have presented the news on minor channels or out of prime time, the main bulletins have been an all-white preserve. After the riots, President Jacques Chirac urged all the French media to hire journalists from ethnic minorities. TF1 announced in March that it had hired Roselmack as its summer news reader because he was "a very good journalist".
Roselmack's ability is clear. He has brought a more rapid, less cloying and personalised style to the TF1 news. The bulletin's veteran presenter, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor likes to lounge seductively between the viewers and the news. Roselmack is more direct and packs in more information.
His former colleague as presenter of news on the youth-oriented cable channel, i-television, said: "He is just being Harry. He is not playing at being someone else. He is hugely talented and has enormous common sense... He goes straight to the heart of the subject."
Born on the West Indian island of Martinique, which is part of France, Roselmack was brought up in Tours on the river Loire.
He says that he is not interested in succeeding as a "black journalist", only as a journalist. On his first night, however, he made a telling point. His bulletin included an item on a black woman who had been refused a job as a hairdresser because of the colour of her skin. This was a relatively banal, local newspaper story which would not normally have made the national TV news.
RIGHTS: Thousands Face Expulsion From France
The French government is poised to expel about 20,000 illegal immigrants. Minister Sarkozy announced that most illegal immigrants who had applied for a residence permit over the last six weeks would be expelled. In June he had announced that under certain circumstances illegal immigrants would be allowed to stay, and some 20,000 illegals applied for legalisation since.
The French policy contrasts with that of other European governments such as Germany, Spain, and Italy.
In Germany the local government of Berlin announced that it would immediately end the policy of expelling long-term illegal immigrants. The measure anticipates a new rule expected to be passed later this year for all of Germany to legalise the residence status of between 150,000 and 250,000 refugees who have been living in the country for a long time.
Last year the Spanish government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero legalised some 570,000 illegal immigrants. In Italy, Prime Minister Romano Prodi recently passed an order to regularise the status of 517,000 illegal immigrants.
200 police raid Paris suburb
Associated Press in Paris
Tuesday September 26, 2006
Nine people were detained yesterday when more than 200 police raided a Paris suburb where youths last week attacked two riot police.
One officer was seriously injured in the raid that revived memories of the violence that raged in poor French suburbs last year. A band of up to 30 youths, armed with makeshift weapons, had attacked the officers when they were patrolling a housing project in Corbeil-Essonnes, south of the capital.
At the time, police were called in to disperse the youths, but no arrests were made. The French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, vowed to track the perpetrators down "one by one".
The incident came amid reports of increased violent crime in Seine-Saint-Denis, north-east of Paris, where last year's riots began. Pascal Clement, the justice minister, was to meet regional crime fighters yesterday to discuss the problem.
...police raided a Paris suburb where youths last week attacked two riot police.
Those pesky Methodist kids are acting up again, I see.
France certainly has problems. Youth unemployment is among the worst in western Europe, violent crime is rising and many fear that last year's riots in the run-down, immigrant suburbs - where teenagers say daily racism plagues their lives - could erupt again with the slightest spark. In the last presidential election in 2002, France was horrified when the far-right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen knocked the socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin from the race in the first round. This time, Nicolas Sarkozy, the charismatic and demagogic interior minister and centre-right presidential hopeful, is making no secret of trying to appeal to far-right sympathisers with his tough stance on immigration.
I am surprised that so important a series of events as the riots in France has received so, relatively, little attention. (But then am I really?)
Some of us have, in the past, made the observation that Europe, and in particular France, was going to soon be faced with a crisis born of a growing muslim population within their borders.
French police criticised over deaths of youths that led to riots
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
Friday December 8, 2006
An internal police inquiry into the deaths of two teenagers in an electricity substation in Paris last autumn, which triggered weeks of rioting on housing estates across France, has found fault with the police for their handling of the case.
Zyed Benna, 17, and Bouna Traore, 15, were electrocuted while hiding in the substation in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois on October 27 2005. Muhittin Altun, 17, who was hiding with them, survived with severe burns. The deaths triggered riots across France's poor suburbs with more than 9,000 vehicles and dozens of public buildings and businesses set on fire. The government invoked emergency powers to quell the worst unrest in mainland France in nearly 40 years.
Jean-Pierre Mignard, lawyer for the victims' families, yesterday told Associated Press that the report by an internal police investigation unit confirmed officers had been chasing the youths before they were killed - which the interior ministry and police had initially denied. The report found the officers involved in the incident were "surprisingly distracted" and had acted with a "lack of thought".
The report said officers should immediately have told French energy company EDF the youths were hiding in the power station. If they had, EDF technicians "would have intervened 15 minutes before the accident" but this would not necessarily have prevented the deaths.
It found Traore and another teenager were preparing to rob a construction site when a plainclothes officer gave chase, setting in motion a series of short pursuits that ended at the power station.
Mr Mignard disputed that there were robbery plans and said another investigation by the prosecutor's office in the Paris suburb of Bobigny showed the youths had not committed any crime.
Riots in Utrecht, the Netherlands
Last Monday and yesterday, riots erupted in my old hometown Utrecht, sparked off in the working class neighbourhood of Ondiep.
I doublepost this on the Riots in France thread, because it was in a way how the Paris suburb riots started - in reverse.
A middle-aged local white resident was shot by police when it was called out to intervene in a street scuffle between him and (non-white) youths on the street. He died of his injuries. His death triggered these riots, in which mostly white youths turned against police and anything to do with the authorities, but also committed random violence.
In the two days, 135 people were arrested. Youths, many of them football supporters/hooligans who had gathered from across the region, went on a rampage, burning cars, smashing windows, and setting fire to a (former) policestation, a community centre, and a local office of the youth crime prevention program - but also a random student's back yard.
More to it than that, of course. Thats why, after reading about this, I made a collage from all the English-language accounts I could find of what happened. The result is below.
Police clash with rioting youths at Paris station
By Jamey Keaten
Published: 28 March 2007
Riot police firing tear gas and brandishing batons last night clashed with bands of youths who shattered windows and looted shops at a major Paris train station. Officials said nine people were arrested.
Officers and police dogs charged at groups of marauding youths, some of them wearing hoods, who mingled with commuters and travellers at the Gare du Nord - one of Paris' most important transport hubs.
Youths threw trash cans and other objects at officers and set fire to an information booth inside the station.
Transport officials said the violence started with an altercation during a ticket check, but youths disputed that account. One woman was evacuated by paramedics for tear gas inhalation.
Groups of dazed tourists and commuters negotiated overturned garbage cans and downed potted plants, dragging their bags over the glass-strewn floors. Commuter Cyril Zidou, a 24-year-old electrician, said he was coming home from the gym "when I got gassed".
Youths broke windows of a sports-goods store, reaching through the shattered glass to grab boxes of shoes. Passers-by also joined in the looting. Into the late evening, groups of officers were periodically charging youths who hid in stairwells and other parts of the station.
A Paris city hall official said more than 100 people were involved in the violence. Police officers made nine arrests.
Sarkozy's policies blamed for riot at Eurostar terminal
By John Lichfield in Paris
Published: 29 March 2007
A running fight between police and youths at a Paris railway station amid distraught commuters and tourists turned into a pitched political battle yesterday, casting a shadow over the forthcoming presidential elections.
For several hours on Tuesday night, police fought a group of about 300 youths in the subterranean passages and shopping centres of the Gare du Nord, the terminus for Eurostar trains from London.
Windows were smashed, a sports shop was looted, tear gas was fired and innocent passengers were accidentally struck by police batons after youths objected to the allegedly brutal arrest of a man without a ticket.
Passengers - including many from Britain - milled around in confusion as the Gare du Nord Metro station was closed and tear gas wafted along the underground corridors. There were two waves of violence, leading to 13 arrests. The clashes were used by politicians of left and far right to attack Nicolas Sarkozy, a centre-right candidate in the presidential elections scheduled for 22 April and 6 May. His opponents claim the riot was the product of tensions between police and youths in the multi-racial suburbs - tensions generated by Mr Sarkozy's policies and comments as Interior Minister.
The rioting youths initially objected to the level of force used against the ticketless passenger (later identified as a 32-year-old illegal immigrant from Congo).
There was a second wave of violence later in the evening, when gangs of youths roamed the station, chanting slogans against Mr Sarkozy and smashing windows. Some of them began to cry "Foot Locker! Foot Locker!" before looting a Foot Locker store of its running shoes and sports clothes.
Mr Sarkozy, who leads the opinion polls, stood down afrom his post as Interior Minister (equivalent to Home Secretary) on Monday to concentrate on the campaign. He said the riot was the result of years of allowing suburban gangs "to do what they like". He praised police for imposing a "minimum of order, respect, authority and calm".
The fighting at the Gare du Nord, mostly involving youths of African and north African origin, rekindled memories of the three weeks of rioting that swept the poor suburbs of French cities in November 2005.
Gare du Nord is the mainline Paris terminus for trains to and from London, Brussels and northern France, but it is also the suburban station for the towns north-east of Paris, where the civil unrest began in 2005.
Police said that the ticketless passenger was intercepted by two Paris Metro ticket inspectors and then tried to headbutt one of them. He was arrested by police. Groups of youths who congregate at the station saw him being dragged along the ground.
One eyewitness said the rumour spread that the arrested man was a 13-year-old and that his arm had been broken by police. The initial unrest was calmed by tear gas and baton charges but other youths arrived at the station later in the evening and began systematically to smash windows and automatic ticket machines.
Julien Dray, spokesman for the Socialist presidential candidate, Ségolène Royal, said the incidents "illustrated the climate of tension and the gulf of violence which has been created between the police and the people".
Whatever the rights and wrongs, the incidents could be politically damaging for Mr Sarkozy. He is detested by many people in the poor suburbs of French cities, after calling youth gangs "scum" several weeks before the 2005 riots.
There is now a widespread fear, on both the left and on the centre-right, that a Sarkozy presidency might generate or provide the excuse for more violence in French cities.