Allez Les Bleus?
In France, the 14th of July is marked as ‘Bastille Day’ to commemorate storming of the Bastille by Parisians. This started the French Revolution. This year, however, the day coincided with France’s World Cup victory that resulted in wild celebrations across the country. Interestingly, satire was also aimed at the French football team for being the ‘last African team’ to win the FIFA World Cup final. There were 12 players of African descent in the team out of a total of 23. This perception, coupled with right-wing nationalist Marie Le Pen’s statements that termed the French squad as an ‘artificial football team’ brings to light the daily predicaments faced by the non-white population in today’s France. There have been many debates concerning the re-evaluation of ‘Frenchness’ in a display of post-colonial identity politics. At this juncture, the life and times of the African immigrant community must be objectively evaluated pre and post World Cup glory to deduce the effectiveness of ‘Liberty,’ ‘Equality’ and ‘Fraternity’ - notions that set the very foundation of Bastille Day. Is France ready?
Ana Tawfiq Husain,