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French press review 23 November 2009

by Marjorie Hache

Article published on the 2009-11-24 Latest update 2009-11-24 07:51 TU

In today's french paper you will find it hard to avoid Thierry Henry's hand, national identity, illegal immigrants as well as Marine Le Pen.

French footballer Thierry Henry is still taking a prominent position in today’s French press. Le Monde concentrates on what last week's France Ireland match didn't tell us saying Henry's hand action has become even more infamous than Zinedine Zidane's head butt during the 2006 worldcup final.

 The French daily also noticed Henry's slow to come remorse as he waited for FIFA to say that a rematch was impossible before saying the “fairest thing to do would be a rematch.”

Henry is also on the cover of L'Equipe where he says he will not give up on his country. Apparently the top French football player was so upset by some of the comments he actually considered giving up on his career for about ... oh five minutes.

FIFA's decision does confirm one thing though: cheating is normal in football according Le Monde's Stéphane Mandard who says what is most shocking is the lack of proper uproar. Mandard ponders on how we can properly educate our children if we allow such behaviour in a popular sport.

Talking of Education ... French National identity is still a hot topic in the French dailies  with head of the Socialist party Martine Aubry announcing in Grenoble, at a congress for young socialists, that President Nicolas Sarkozy was embarrassing France by opposing National Identity to Immigration.  Economist Les Echos reports her call for action against the exploitation of illegal immigrants by french companies.

 L'Humanité is ironically headlining "The practical guide to xenophobia and anti- Republicanism." The paper say they've got hold of  the questionnaire Eric Besson, minister of Immigration and National identity sent round French prefectures. The questionnaire touches on the issues of how to integrate foreigners in the national community, how to deal with France's unease over its colonial past and how to avoid the arrival of illegal immigrants in France. Communist L'Huma claims it is Sarkozy's goal  is to instigate perpetual fear of job loss, foreigners and crime in French people’s mind.

Le Figaro reports that far right vice President Marine Le Pen is opposed to dual nationality. She referred to young Maghrebians celebrating Algeria's qualification in the 2010 world cup as  a proof that political integration had failed  saying all people wanted to do was take to the streets. She believes Sarkozy 's debate on national identity and bid to toughen up his image will do nothing to solve the problem . She's also hoping her party will remain in 8 regions during the second round of 2010 regional elections something Sarkozy's UMP is worried about. Hopefully the Socialist will finally pull themselves together and stop leaving the opposition position free for France's far right.