Jussi Halla-aho: France the football giant

by , under Migrant Tales


Migrant Tales insight: We get a lot of email and tip-offs from our readers. The latest one we got is of three blog entry translations in English of Perussuomalaiset (PS)* MEP Jussi Halla-aho, who was convicted for ethnic agitation. This second one, France the football giant, was published in Scripta on July 2, 2006.

Apart from understanding how racism in Finland thrives and which arguments are used to spread hatred of other groups, one matter is clear from all three writings: They are repulsive and we apologize if anyone is offended by them. The writings have nothing to do with a PhD’s critical thinking; they are simply urban tales and prejudices that have been piled high and deep. 

Another important aspect that we must acknowledge about these writings is that they are hostile towards migrants and intended for gullible Finns. They are hateful writings that fuel prejudice, which in turn fuels social exclusion. 

Acceptance of these two anti-immigration parties this week in the ECR with “MEPs with criminal records,” proves that shoplifting is a worse offense for a politician today than being sentenced for ethnic agitation. It sadly exposes as well why racism has grown in Europe and why mainstream politicians and the media have helped fuel such intolerance. 

Our only motive for publishing these blog entries is so that other Europeans who don’t speak Finnish can read what kind of politician Halla-aho is. 

For more insight into the PS, take a look Far-right and anti-immigration quotes in English by the PS.

Migrant Tales will publish Monday the last of the three blog entries, Do not tolerate the intolerant one (2007).

* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The names adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. 


The headline includes an obvious allusion to my earlier article Bahrain the Sports Giant, and those who know me already sense what is eating me this time…

…and those who are ignorant of soccer, let me introduce the French team, victorious at least as yet, those dashing descendants of Asterix, Charlemagne, Louis the 14th, Montesquieu, de Gaulle, and Sartre:

Fabien Barthes

Jean-Alain Boumsong

Eric Abidal


Patrick Vieira

William Gallas

Claude Makelele


Florent Malouda

Vikash Dhorasoo

Sidney Govou


Zinedine Zidane

Sylvain Wiltord

Thierry Henry


Mikael Silvestre

Louis Saha

Lilian Thuram


Gael Givet

Alou Diarra

Willy Sagnol


David Trezeguet

Pascal Chimbonda

Frank Ribery

That’s fine, as far as it’s about sports, it’s probably all the same who is kicking the ball, as far as he is kicking it with skill and emotion. However, the fact that it’s the team representing France, of all countries, raises questions about comparability, representativity and role casting.

What does it mean for a team to be the national team? When the line-up listed above wins a tournament, does it mean that France is the winner? Does this team represent France in the way, say, the Spanish team represents Spain? In one word, are the Spanish and French national teams national in the same sense, and are their exploits comparable in the sense of national team sports? (I am thinking of the philosophical side, not of juridical technicalities.)

Somebody could say that this team obviously represents French and Frenchmen, because Frenchness isn’t what it was half a century ago. Still, there are problems here.

The first problem: The fact that there are black players in the United States national soccer team feels, still philosophically speaking, natural, as their presence in North America is as old as the United States as a country. Black people are thus an integral part of the American nation just like White people, whatever our idea of their contribution to the success of the nation. French, on the other side, has existed in a Celto-Romano-Germanic continuum as a state and a nation for more than one thousand years. Blacks and Arabs have abruptly entered the country after World War II. The players of the national team are either first-generation or second-generation immigrants, and in my opinion it is justified to ask whether they represent France at all, except in the sense of the above-mentioned juridical technicalities.

The second problem: Even if we forget about historical continuities, it is questionable, whether the above- mentioned line-up even represents today’s happily multicultural Frenchness. Even at the present stage about 80 per cent of the inhabitants of France are Frenchmen according to my own narrow definition. A little more than 10 per cent are Muslims, and less than 5 per cent are Blacks.

Of course it is impossible to introduce ethnical quotas for national teams, but in my opinion a team of 21 players, where 13 players are Black, two are Arabs, one is from the Indian subcontinent and one is some strange kind of Tahitian is essentially a different lot than the nation it is supposed to represent. I might have not remembered or noted to emphasize this in my article about Bahrain, but the point is that I am not disturbed by the presence of Blacks in the French team. Some French (in today’s sense of the word) are Blacks after all.

What does disturb me is that France, predominantly White, has a national team where 60 per cent of the players are Black. In my opinion it would be just fine if Finland was represented by a Romani or a Sami, because Romanis and Samis are historically part of Finnishness. On the other side I’d find it peculiar if the national team of Finland (in any sports event) would suddenly be manned exclusively by Nepalis living in Finland.

…as a matter of principle, this ethnical disproportion between representative and represented makes me think that the Western hidalgo, in all his multicultural tolerance, has outsourced physical stress and endurance to the Negro.  Why dontcha go runnin’ after that ball for massa, boooy…  [English in the original.] (Let me add here that the multiculturally tolerant lot is also enthusiastically outsourcing the wiping of their arses and the mopping of their floors to the Negro. “Who will work our menial jobs if we don’t increase immigration?”) Even in athletics, France has had a pitch-black national team for years. When white French and English spectators are sitting and watching TV, supporting their own Africans, I can’t help thinking of Roman gladiator school owners threatening each other that “my Nubian Negro is going to kick your Nubian Negro’s ass”.

[Followup discussion in Halla-aho’s blog]

Name: Kumma

What I am doing: Starting a discussion

Message: How come a Negro couldn’t be French? There have always been people coming to France from God knows where.  Now that better traffic connections and tolerance have brought Negros there, hey presto! – the new arrivals shouldn’t be French any more!

July 2, 2006

Answer: I understand that there are lots of people who don’t want to read my stuff, but I do find it difficult to grasp why anyone not reading it still should comment upon it. In my opinion the problem is one of representativity. Whether we accept the Negro as a Frenchman or not, the team does not represent France as she is today.

Moreover, I find it justified to ask whether the Negro is French in the sense Jean-Pierre is, if the Negro has entered the country just thirty years ago, and if his only real role in society (in addition to ghetto rioting) is doing sports for France.