Unless you’ve been locked in an isolation ward this month, you’ll know that France won the World Cup final last night, beating Croatia by four goals to two.
French fans packed out the centre of Paris in celebration of their national side’s win and pundits and neutrals alike all agreed that, while it would have been nice to see underdogs Croatia go home with the trophy, the French soccer team deserved its World Cup glory.
Not everyone was as over the moon as the French fans, however, as evidenced by Trevor Noah’s recent post on social media. While France sang and danced in the streets, The Daily Show host posted a cartoon on his Instagram account, which shows a boat of African immigrants returning to France with the World Cup.
Now, there are a couple of ways one could interpret this. As our Digital News Editor Daniel Friedman pointed out, the World Cup is a sports tournament in which colonisation’s effects are still directly felt. Furthermore, it would be hard to imagine France’s amazing progression through the tournament without its players who have African roots.
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Throw in the fact that France’s victory with its multi-cultural side comes at a time when right-wing populists in the country are fighting to deny any more immigrants coming in, and the cartoon Noah tweeted looks more than a little on the nail.
But as The Daily Maverick pointed out last week, France’s victory reads like a nightmare for the far-right in that country. As a team largely made up of the sons of first-generation immigrants returns with soccer’s highest award, it holds a banner aloft for the benefits of diversity and inclusion.
Furthermore, one has to wonder if a cartoon that depicts these players as ‘immigrants’ is, in a way, arguing that they aren’t truly French.
Unfortunately, Trevor didn’t include a caption explaining his reasons for posting the cartoon, so conjecture on what he meant by doing so would be purely speculative at this stage.