Van Kees, aan de rechtse mensen

Beste rechtse mensen,

Rellen in Franse steden nadat Frankrijk wereldkampioen voetbal was geworden? Winkelruiten ingegooid en winkels geplunderd? Politie bekogeld met glas en stenen? Traangas en waterkanonnen ingezet om ‘het tuig’ te stuiten? De Champs-Élysées schoongeveegd om de orde te herstellen?

Mijn broer Jan stuurde gisteravond allemaal Twitter-berichten naar me door met die strekking.

Ik word daar zo moedeloos van.

Het was een feest!

Neem de New York Times.

Prima krant toch?

Veelvoudig winnaar van de Pulitzer Price.

Met als motto: “The truth demands our attention”.

Vannacht om twee uur Nederlandse tijd verscheen bij die krant Het Definitieve Verhaal over Frankrijk. Geschreven door liefst drie verslaggevers, Elian Peltier, Alissa J. Rubin en Aurelien Breeden.

Ik raad iedereen die gelooft dat Frankrijk gisteren een soort oorlogsgebied was aan om verder te lezen.

“The cheers could be heard all the way from Calais to Marseille when the final second ticked past and France was the indisputable victor of the 2018 men’s soccer World Cup final on Sunday.

Cars honked, noisemakers went off and smoke bombs sent blue, red and white streams into the air. French flags appeared at windows, thrown over people’s shoulders and flying out of car windows, against the backdrop of an enormous one rippling from the Arc de Triomphe. People jumped onto car roofs, and crowds filled the Champs-Élysées.

But it was in low-income suburbs outside Paris with names like Bondy, Suresnes and Lagny-sur-Marne, places that many of the French team’s star players call home, that the elation seemed to be about more than winning the game.

“Once in a while, we are united, we are one country, one people,” said Linda Bourja, 41, who postponed her summer vacation in Brittany to watch the final in Bondy, a predominantly immigrant suburb outside Paris where the 19-year-old soccer superstar Kylian Mbappé grew up.

“That doesn’t happen too often, true — it should happen more, true,” she added. “But today is a day for all of us, for Mbappé, for Bondy, for France, wherever we’re from.”

Women in hijabs cheered alongside a priest; families with children in their arms and teenagers with the red, white and blue of the French flag painted on their cheeks jumped up and down. People broke into “La Marseillaise,” the national anthem; some hugged one another; and others climbed onto rooftops, waving flags.

On the Champs-Élysées, young men clambered onto bus stop shelters and kiosks as police officers in riot gear kept a watchful eye at intersections. Television crews trying to conduct an interview were mobbed by joyous fans who crowded into the shot. Fans walking from Place de la Concorde toward the Arc de Triomphe chanted, “We are the champions.”

Hours after the match ended, the crowds were still shoulder to shoulder, cheering and re-energized by the projection of each player’s name, face and hometown onto the Arc de Triomphe.

There was near delirium.

A crowd almost 100,000 strong in front of the Eiffel Tower looked from a distance like a vast patchwork quilt on the move as it flowed toward the Champs-Élysées, where it was so crowded that it was hard to walk.

Spectators flocked to bars and cafes, as well as to the 230 “fan zones” across France, some with more than a half-dozen giant screens showing the game. The one on the Champ de Mars, at the base of the Eiffel Tower, accommodates 90,000 people.

Set up in small towns as well as in the larger cities of Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux, the zones were a way for almost anyone to have a free seat to view the game, even those who could never afford to attend one in person.

With so many in the streets and excitement at a fever pitch, some urban bus lines halted service to stop people from trying to ride on the bus roofs, and many taxis stayed home for the same reason. In Paris, the police used tear gas to disperse overflow crowds near the fan zones.

France had put almost its entire security forces on duty, said Interior Minister Gérard Collomb, including 12,000 on the streets of Paris and around 110,000 deployed nationwide.

In Marseille, fans had gathered on the Vieux-Port, the Mediterranean city’s natural harbor, and some jumped into the water when France won.

Further inland, in Aix-en-Provence, the usually tranquil Cours Mirabeau was packed with supporters. In Lyon, fans flooded the central Place Bellecour, even as a rainstorm threatened to dampen the city. And with vacation season in full swing, travelers at campsites and rental homes on the French Riviera crowded around televisions to watch the game.

Aussan Benaissa, 40, who watched the match in Paris with his 8-year-old son, said he felt a special pride in the star turns by the young players from the suburbs. It was a moment to be proud of being an immigrant — his father was from Algeria — instead of feeling like an outsider.

“These are young men whose parents were from northern Africa,” Mr. Benaissa said. “We feel more French with them.”

In Bondy, even before the final whistle blew, Wael Benzoura, 8, anticipated the joy: He started dancing on his mother’s shoulders. She had painted the number 10 and the name Mbappé on his back in honor of her son’s favorite player.

“We are champions,” said Wael’s mother, Fatima Benzoura, 29, smiling. “I just can’t believe what’s happening.”

“What a message to the world,” Ms. Benzoura added. “Look at what Kylian has done. Look at what the French have just accomplished.”

Zie je wel? Eén heel groot feest dat van alle inwoners van Frankrijk één maakte. En een heel klein beetje traangas ingezet om fans te verspreiden bij fanzones waar het te druk was.

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

Vrijheid, gelijkheid, broederschap.

Al het andere: rechts wensdenken.

Angst voor mensen met een ander geloof en een ander kleurtje.

Het wordt tijd dat Europa die ophitsmedia eens een beetje gaat indammen. Dat is geen censuur, dat gebeurt dan uit liefde voor de Europese bevolking.

Maar maak dat mijn broer Jan maar eens wijs.

Hartelijke groet,

Kees Dijkgraaf