Monday, 30 December 2013

la quenelle

is a kind of cylindrical dumpling, speciality of the Lyon region of France, made with fish, semolina, vegetables or other ingredients. It's also, British football fans now know, the name for a Jew-hating salute. I've posted about the French comedian Dieudonne (the man responsible for "popularising" the gesture in France) before, when he was due to perform in Strasbourg. I noted in that post that Marine Le Pen, leader of the racist Front National party, was delighted for him to be godfather to one of her children, and if you look at a picture of him you can see why. Did Nicolas Anelka think nobody would recognise the gesture he made in front of the TV cameras? Or does he not care? The latter, I suspect - he wanted publicity to revive a flagging career. Well, this stuff is not something to play with. You can see why here. Now I didn't know what the quenelle gesture was until a few months ago, and I have never seen anyone doing it in real life - I hope not to - but in those pictures (follow the link above) you can see people doing it all over the world in front of Jew-related street names or buildings. Did no one stop them? Did no one protest? Would you if you saw it? Do you think people are going to think it's funny to do it in public? It has been said here in France that some British humour would be a better way of dealing with this than the "fevered" response in some sections of French commentary, politicians and media getting in on it all over. Well. Humour as a weapon against the Jew-haters. The cabarets of 1930s Berlin were so effective against the Nazis, were they not? In Lyon, where the quenelle gesture has been seen often in recent times, six young Jewish men are to go on trial for attempting to take vigilante ("justicier") action.

Should the quenelle gesture be banned? Was Anelka attempting to incite racial hatred? Dieudonne himself is likely to be charged, not for the first time, with incitement to racial hatred following remarks he made about a journalist on France Inter who challenged him. The journalist's name is Cohen.

Still think you can control them?

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