Zizou - A Muslim cure for French malaise

Category: Europe, Life & Society, Nature & Science Topics: France, Soccer, Sports And Recreation Views: 9714
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Zinedine Zidane

France is on fire again. But this time it is not angry youths rioting and torching cars in protest against an out-of-touch political elite. 

The city streets and migrant suburbs are burning with pride and hope that Zinedine Zidane, the ageing maestro of French soccer, will drag the country out of the spiritual, social and economic doldrums with a win at the World Cup final tomorrow night, local time. 

After more than a year of suburban unrest, riots, student protests, political scandals and depressing economic news, the stunning performance of Les Bleus in Germany is driving a wave of national optimism not seen in France since 1998. 

Eight years ago a younger "Zizou", sporting almost a full head of hair, thrillingly united the country around his diverse team of "black, blanc, beur (black, white and Arab)" players when France enjoyed its first World Cup win. 

The dream of a harmonious multi-racial "France that wins" seemed a reality as the band of players, many drawn from the former colonies, delivered a glorious 3-0 win over Brazil. 

But the promise of that glorious World Cup evaporated in 2002 when far right National Front demagogue Jean-Marie Le Pen - still a critic of the current colourful French soccer team for "not representing modern France" - almost won the first-round presidential election. 

In the same year, Les Bleus suffered the humiliation of exiting the World Cup in the first round without winning a match or scoring a goal. From then on, France's tag as the dinosaur of "Old Europe" clung even to the beloved team. 

After defeating Le Pen, Jacques Chirac squandered his mandate, presiding over a dramatic economic downturn, the resounding French rejection of an enlarged Europe and since late last year a wave of social unrest unseen since the student protests of May 1968. 

But that has changed since coach Raymond Domenech's "old men", comprising experienced champions like Zidane, who came out of international retirement to help France qualify for the finals, and Lilian Thuram, who will retire on Sunday, surprised fans and competitors alike with their resurgence following a disappointing start. 

In a country for too long bereft of national heroes, Zidane is once again the focus of dormant French patriotism. 

"Zidane for president" is a common cry on the streets and every day the newspapers are filled with hymns of praise for France's most popular man. 

"Zizou", the adored 34-year-old French captain who grew up in Marseilles, the son of Algerian migrants, is sanctified in the press, on the airwaves and in the corridors of political and commercial power. 

"A magician, a genius, a star admired on every continent," Le Parisien gushed this week. 

Even Finance Minister Thierry Breton acknowledged Zidane's powers. 

"He is a real leader," Breton said this week before pointing out that sport plays an important role in the national economy. 

The extraordinary spontaneous outpouring of public jubilation from Paris to Lyon and Marseilles following France's win over Spain in the quarter-final followed by Portugal this week led to 500,000 fans, many of them draped in the French flag, lining the Champs Elysees. 

The real business begins Sunday evening, French time, when the country will stop to chant the Les Bleus motto that is fast becoming the new national anthem - "We live together, we die together" - and all centred on what one newspaper crowned "The Fabulous Destiny of Zinedine Zidane".


  Category: Europe, Life & Society, Nature & Science
  Topics: France, Soccer, Sports And Recreation
Views: 9714

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Older Comments:
ABUBAKAR FROM NIGERIA said:
Who ever care and protect his religion, God is with him. So therefore zidane keep up your good deed.
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NASIRMOHIDEEN.E FROM INDIA said:
assalamu alaikkum
jidane bhai don't worry allah with us
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TIN FROM INDONESIA said:
Assalamu'alikum ZIDANE
Keep spirit, don't give up.
ALLAH WILL ALWAYS BE WITH U
Wass
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TAMIRU FROM ETHIOPIA said:
zizou is human being he can made mistak but some thing you must understand.that was why he made(did)it? problem with the italian player
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FARAZ CHOUDHRY FROM UK said:
Salaam alaikum. Zidane among the team of Muslims in the French side is certainly some role model for French & Muslims worldwide. Can you guaruntee that he is as good Muslim as we hope he is? Was his action at the Final that of a Muslim, or did he follow the Shaithaan? I don't think his imaan is as good as it should be, else he wouldn't be so proud and hotheaded as he proved himself to be. Now his fall flat from grace may haunt and test him for many years to come until he either takes a lesson from this, repents from his sin, mends himself and his tattered image and works to redeem himself; or turns to more sin like drink and drugs, or even suicide.

Your thoughts?

I.M. me or e-mail at my Yahoo address above.
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D THOMAS said:
Ethel, please a little compassion please! When playing sports at such a high level, things happen quickly. I'm not asking for you to say it is ok, or even for you forgive him, but try to understand the pressure he was under. To say he is just good for the slaughtering house I find rather EXTREME, don't you. Anyway he will be discussed around the dinig tables around the World now!
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YACINE FROM ALGERIA said:
Salam alay koume warah matou alahe wabara katou
Merci pour conversation pour meilleur joueur du monde pour tous les algriens et c'est un vrai muslame
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HASSAN KATSINA FROM NIGERIA said:
Zidane should have control his anger,am sure materazzi made a racial comment for a man like zizou to lose his cool and head butt him,but it was a disgraceful way to end an illustrous career.Zidane is a role model for a lot of kids in Africa,so it is shame,he did what he did,but i believe in fair play,FIFA should investigate,and if Materazzi is found wanting,he should also be punished.
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MALA FROM MALAYSIA said:
Zidane is surely one of the greatest player around and he makes the French team alive....
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HAYDAR SABOVIC FROM MONTENEGRO said:
This head butting incident was a disgrace. I wonder what implications it will have considering Zidane's cultural back ground.?

As much as it was disgraceful though, after hearing the comments that Materazzi most likely made to Zidane, perhaps Zidane should be "cut some slack." Perhaps they both should have received red cards.

I believe the Italians planned this and it was unwise for Zidane to fall for it; but words can hurt more than a head butt, and there's so much a man with integrity can take. Unfortunately it probably costed France a title eventhough they played better.

Selam.
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ETHEL RITA ALMEIDA FROM INDIA said:
After what I saw on the TV set ... The Finals of
the World Cup 2006, Zidane is just another
Head Butt... we could use him in the slaughter house but not fit for our Dining Table. Not even during conversation.
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NAJJAR FROM MOROCCO said:
Stamping on the Saudi players, headbutting Jochen Kientz then ending his international carriere by again headbutting Marco Materazzi is not a way to answer to insults, which are common in every game, if someone insults you, there are 2 thinks to do, walk away and don't stoop to the same level, or at worst use you mouth too, and stay in the field. Zidane is in no doubt one of the best football players around, but an outstanding player should also save is headbutting and kicks for the ball not for his fellow players. Allah guide us all.
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ABDUR RAZZAQ FROM MEXICO said:
Zidane is good for the world not only and just for the WC but for the good will. He's Algerian and ironically that is itself a blessing because of the earlier historical French and Algerian hostilties. Even the great philospher Derrida was Algerian. I don't care much for sports in these times because of the western influence that has ruined sport I feel and taken it's focus off of what it once was. I believe that as in Mexico City in 1964 when the Afro-American sprinters lifted their fists in protest, thus lifted a whole race of People who as former slaves were seen in a different light afterwards, those that did the deed were swiftly exited from those Olympic Games--the reaction from Mexican officials was a "reactionary psychosis" as that othr wellknown Algerin physician stated eloquently by Franz Fanon many years ago. There is much too learn from the WC 2006 and Zidane & Co.

Islam has it moment now globally and many Muslims are not standing up to the test and opportunity offered them especially in the US--where many more Muslims are playing it safe, while their counter-part ummah, in other places, are being brutalized--in steps Zidane--this I think s vry positive and it peaceful symbol as oposed to the models offered by the insitutions of man these days. Indigenous People in the west sufered intolerabely yet no one there Muslims or others know of their suffering and offer no remedy for them either. Many Muslims do not even know that reservations exists and that the experiences are similar with respect to a Peoples religious beliefs being seen as a pyriah and the policies to eradicate this are employed against it's People as a violation of their sacred human right. The malaise here is also global. People are growing tired of war and fanaticism. So let's enjoy Zidane's last performance as a player, hopefully he goes out it the gold but if not he's a winner anyway for the inspiration he gives to us all.

Insahallah Allah has the last word assalam alai
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DOIN PHINE said:
Go France Go!!

Hockey is to violent no, tough yes. soccer has too much faking of injuries. Violence by fans at hockey games non existant compared to soccer. Refereeing and World Cup also suspect. Scandals in soccer much more common then in Hockey. However your comments about being played by a too few teams correct, hopefully will change with time. In soccer mostly same teams make it to the last rounds however!
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HUDD FROM CANADA said:
Doubtful Thomas, you can't snap out of your racism! Listen to the garbage you post:

"As far as Mr. Le Pen he is not a demagogue, and such statements by the author are unfortunate."

You are right, his not a demagogue. Bastard, not Mr., Le Pin is the Hitler of France. He would through all the Muslims into the sea and drive them back to Africa. These are his words. If Le Pin is not a demagogue and a fascist then Adolf Hitler is worth sainthood and deserves a monument in his native Austria. Decide, DT, you can't have one measure for one kind of people and another for others. Le Pin is criticized and forestalled to gain political power, that's because still the great majority of the French people believe in the values of their revolution.

You are a loss to humanity by occupying precious space that otherwise could have been more successfully used for planting a tree or allowing a wild animal to live instead. My disgust toward you is incommensurable!
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HUDD FROM CANADA said:
Jesus Christ, Doin Phine, is that true? Saudi Arabia has her own soccer team that played and eventually was eliminated. How come then, the country has a soccer team and some clericks disapprove? Now that's stupid, if what you say it's true, I must for the first time agree with you, no matter how reluctant I was to.

You can bet on it, Muslims in North America and the Islamic world will watch the soccer games, not because of Zinedine alone, but because Muslims love soccer more than any other sport. Hockey is too violent and reduced to a handful of countries situatated more or less close to the North Pole, while soccer is an international event. I personally, after the scandal with my favourite team the TMP, I cannot stomach hockey any more!

So long, mon ami and keep a positive eye toward your Muslim compatriots and differentiate between positive and negative forces that influence our world, regardless of religions.
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ASLAM FROM INDIA said:
It is not sensible to associate Zidane with his religion, irrespective of whatever religion he follows. He is just a footballer with his own personal life and we should respect that.
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TOBY said:
Anyone who looks at the French team will see it is far from multi-racial. It's actually quite homogenous.
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DOIN PHINE said:
Saudi Cleric Nasser bin Sliman Al-Omar, has said that people who watch the World Cup will have to answer on judgement day. Also anther Saudi Cleric Muhammad Al-Munajid has warned against Watching World Cup, as what will be seen is not appropriate for Muslims.

I sugget to all Muslims not to listen to these two, and enjoy the game on Sunday and root for your favorite team be it Italy or France. Zindine shows to me the potential of instead fighting integration you become part of it, and make it better. Zinedine is a soccer genius and I will enjoy watching him play on Sunday!!!
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D THOMAS said:
I'm not much of a soccer fan, as hockey is my favorite sport, but I enjoy the World Cup for its international drama. Zizou is the best of the best. I must say he is the player I enjoy watching the most! The fact that France has accepted him shows that France is not racist or anti-Muslim as they have accepted Zizou 100%. On this site the French are quite often protrayed as anti-Muslim so this article can go a long way to disposing of this unwarrented belief. Zizou in some way has integrted into modern French society, and I think Muslims can learn from that.

As far as Mr. Le Pen he is not a demagogue, and such statements by the author are unfortunate. The fact that in 2002 that most (if not all) of the French players could NOT sing their national anthem was a little sad however. I could see that this World Cup they were all singing it proudly! Bravo!!!! Go France Go!!!
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