Wed, Dec 9, 2009
Eric Cantona has given his opinion on the sensitive debate about the French national identity, deriding what he called the “stupid” nationalist approaches to the issue.
“Being French, does that mean having to speak French, sing the Marseillaise? That’s just stupid,” said Cantona, who is the son of Spanish and Italian immigrants.
“I’m not saying that singing the Marseillaise is stupid, but building the whole debate on that is.”
The singing of the national anthem has become a hot topic in France, after several incidents when football fans of North African origin booed while it was sung at international football matches.
Immigration Minister Eric Besson has called for it to be sung in schools.
Speaking at the launch of a book of photographs he has taken of homeless people and poverty in France for a Catholic charity, Cantona urged the French to stand up for the deprived.
“Being French means being revolutionary… We cannot accept everything that’s happening,” he said, criticising what he sees as his compatriots’ passivity in the face of France’s social problems.
“We are getting used to this system, to there being people living in the street.”