French footballer Nicolas Anelka, currently an important striker playing for UK Premiership club West Bromwich Albion is in serious trouble. He celebrated scoring a goal against London’s West Ham last December, by giving a special salute, known as the quenelle gesture – this is performed by pointing one arm diagonally palm down, while at the same time touching the shoulder with the opposite hand.
Most people in Britain, and many parts of the World, will not know or understand what the furore is all about and not understand the meaning behind the salute – is something really bad happening then? In a word YES!
The name quenelle itself comes from a French meatball dish said to have suppository effects (i.e. causes defecation), and has a rude context like in the British insulting phrase of “Up Yours”. However the so called gesture was used politically in France (by political activist and comedian Dieudonné M’bala) in general anti-religious contexts, but he actually also describes himself as being anti-Zionist!).
In particular the gesture was used in a 2009 election campaign as an anti-Zionist provocative act. It is described as an inverted Nazi salute – with the obvious associated extremist and antisemitic connotations.
Individuals, including even some public figures, have been prolific in posting on the internet photographic poses at Jewish institutions, such as the Paris Synagogue, and in many Holocaust sensitive locations – including monuments, memorials like the Holocaust Berlin Memorial, and even Auschwitz itself.
Some public figures, particularly in France, say they have been tricked into performing the quenelle (and photographed), or that they didn’t know what its connotation was! A poor excuse for some sad easily led people perhaps?
You don’t have to be Jewish or even religious, to see that this kind of behaviour, public or private, is wrong and provocative. Don’t get caught-out yourselves, or think that this is a new ‘clever’ viral world craze that you need to latch onto – unless you too want to be labelled as an anti-Semitic Nazi loving moron!
[While Anelka denies his salute was ‘religious’ in nature, but claims it was anti-establishment’ (that begs the question of why he thinks it appropriate to express that on a football field in London in front of 35 thousand people, including children, doesn’t it?). Perhaps YOU believe him – strange though that he is a friend of M’bala and doesn’t understand the way the gesture is being used?
He has brought his football club into disrepute, has lost them the £3 kit sponsorship deal from Zoopla, a major web based UK property Valuation Company (who have now withdrawn their financial support), has been charged by the FA with racial discrimination, and now faces a lengthy ban, and has put the nail in his club’s relegation from the Premiership – he is likely to miss half the remaining 16 games (running at the bottom already). Hope he thinks it was worth the gesture].