Monday, July 10, 2006

World united?

I was thinking that I could get away from talking about football and the world cup if only because it doesn't interest me in the slightest. However, even living 10,000km from France the support for the national team has been inescapable. The islands' two main newspapers have written about very little else these past two weeks and, of course, this was all to culminate in a huge party late last night. Well, youse all know what happened even if I don't see what all the fuss is about - and I thought that hysteria was a supposedly female infliction? Hysteria, histrionics and bad acting seems to sum up the world cup, but then how would I know if I didn't watch it?

The point of all this dribbling drivel is that the rolling surf of nationalism that necessarily accompanies international sporting events has brought a seemingly odd surfer to these parts. Seemingly odd because one would have thought that on an island where the majority of the population are "metisse", and proud to be so, would not attract those from the far right of French politics...

...Marine Le Pen - she who be the daughter of the father, arrived amidst the blue football fever to encourage the faithful and probably have a bit of a holiday. What is odd, and strikingly so, is that to an outsider "La Réunion" is the melting pot of seventies pop songs and lacks the racism (so I am informed) of other French departments such as Martinique and Guadeloupe. If so, how does one explain the 8.1% of the vote to the FN in 2002? I dunno! Yet Marine was given an hour of air time on Radio Freedom when she found time to escape the Creolia Hotel and avoid the thirty or so demonstraters who had decided that there are more important things in life than the footie!

photo source Imaz press Réunion

Of course, there were certain comparisons to be made between her visit and that of the recent chikungunya epidemic - “Non au virus Marine Albopictus

photo source Imaz press Réunion

All this must have something to do with the presidential elections next year and although one might argue that it is best to keep politics out of sport, (or is that sport out of politics?) they do both have their fair share of theatricals, tis only a shame that there ain't no red card in politics. Still, not one to always demand the last word, I'll leave that to Marine - Marine Le Pen : “Zidane a bien réussi”...

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