Minnesota, a blue-leaning state, is by many standards exceptionally welcoming of immigrants; it has the country’s second-largest population of Vietnamese Hmong people and is home to more Somalis than any other state in the country. The 2018 election to US Congress of Ilhan Omar was a testament to how politically engaged the Somali community is. But an hour west of Omar’s Minneapolis-based district, a town like St. Cloud in central Minnesota—once known as “White Cloud”—is not such an easy place for outsiders to settle in, especially East African Muslims. Adjusting to its new demographic reality, the town finds itself poised uneasily between tension and accommodation.
Aida Alami: Many speak of the “séduction à la française” as a way of accounting for Denis Baupin’s alleged conduct toward women.
Lénaïg Bredoux: This is something we have heard for decades; it’s completely outmoded. These arguments are the last remnants of an old world, a world that is disappearing. It’s a pretty gloomy conception of seduction and relationships. Women describe gestures—like the too-firm pressure of a hand on the back when men greet them—that can make one uneasy. We have all experienced that. I do think that there are still problems, but a counter-narrative has emerged.
During the second half of the game, the tension mounted. Raja Casablanca finally scored. The air smelled of smoke bombs set off in celebration. Then a revolutionary chant exploded in the stadium. In unison, they sang in Moroccan Arabic “Fbladi Dalmouni,” or “In my country, I suffered from injustice.” The lyrics are astonishingly controversial for a country where jails are filled with hundreds of prisoners of conscience. This defiance spoke of economic hardship, a lack of freedom, and an ardent desire for change.
Dominican politicians have successfully manipulated anti-Haitian feeling for political gain. Radio shows discuss the Haitian “invasion” that must be stopped at all costs. There is a widespread belief that Haiti is a failed state, and that the world is conspiring against the Dominican Republic to force it to deal with its neighbor’s problems. There is a fear, too, of their country being somehow contaminated by Haiti’s ills. “When you peel back the first layer, the second layer,” said Matías Bosch, a grandson of the DR’s first democratically-elected president, “what you have left, in the end, is pure racism.”
No matter how disillusioned you are with your country’s team or how frustrated with your country’s government, it still hurts to see a squad of players, dressed in the national colors, not succeed. But as that strong final game reminded me, it’s hard not to feel proud when they do. Between that opening loss to Iran and the second half against Spain, something changed. Maybe it happened sixteen minutes into the Portugal game, when our ebullient winger Nordin Amrabat, who had received a head injury in the game against Iran, tossed away his protective headgear and urged the team on. That won Moroccans’ hearts.