Sporting racism spotlight falls on Turkey

Sporting racism spotlight falls on Turkey
Galatasaray’s Senegalese striker Mbaye Diagne. (Reuters)
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Updated 11 December 2020

Sporting racism spotlight falls on Turkey

Sporting racism spotlight falls on Turkey
  • Football commentator Emre Bol told pro-government channel A TV that Galatasaray’s Senegalese star Mbaye Diagne “was eating crocodile in Senegal, then came here and became a footballer”
  • The football team of Kurdish-majority Diyarbakir city has increasingly become the focus of nationalist hostility, with the club accused of being linked to the outlawed PKK

ANKARA: Controversy surrounding an official’s alleged racism during a Champions League match between Paris Saint-Germain and Istanbul Basaksehir has not only fueled the simmering row between Ankara and Paris but also stirred debate in Turkey about the country’s own sporting culture.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has close ties with the owners of the Basaksehir club, said after the match: “This incident is the result of recent racist discourse in France. France has regrettably become a hotspot for racism.”

During the game on Tuesday, Basaksehir’s assistant coach, Pierre Webo, was shown a red card for protesting against a refereeing decision. A Romanian fourth official then allegedly pointed to the Cameroonian and used a racist description.

The match was suspended in the 13th minute after both teams left the pitch and was replayed the following day.

European football’s governing body UEFA is expected to launch an investigation into incident.

“Racism, and discrimination in all its forms, has no place in football,” UEFA said in a statement.

The MHP, Turkey’s ultra-nationalist party and a coalition partner of the ruling government, tweeted “No to Racism” photos in protest at the incident.

However, for many Turks, ethnic tensions and racism in sports remain a source of concern.

Mert Yasar, a lawyer specializing in sports law, said racist incidents involving managers, competitors and fans have been a familiar problem over the years, with many of those responsible enjoying complete impunity since federations and prosecutors fail to hand down fines or launch investigations.

“Our record in this area is getting worse,” he told Arab News.

The football team of Kurdish-majority Diyarbakir city has increasingly become the focus of nationalist hostility, with the club accused of being linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Players are exposed to almost daily harassment by rival fans, especially after the club’s rebranding as Amedspor in 2014, for using the Kurdish name for Diyarbakir.

Turkish nationalists generally shout “Kurds out; this is Turkey, not Kurdistan,” while the team’s Kurdish supporters are occasionally banned from attending matches.

In 2014, Deniz Naki, an Amedspor player with a Kurdish background, was the target of a racist attack in Ankara. Two years later, he was banned for 12 games over a Facebook post described as “ideological propaganda.”

Two years later, Amedspor executives were assaulted after attending a match in the capital.

The same year, Amedspor players carried a giant banner on to the pitch calling for an “end to violence in the region that kills children who should instead attend the matches.” The players were accused of “terror propaganda.”

Last week, football commentator Emre Bol told pro-government channel A TV that Galatasaray’s Senegalese star Mbaye Diagne “was eating crocodile in Senegal, then came here and became a footballer.” Galatasaray immediately took legal action against Bol.

In 1999, a UK-born striker, Kevin Campbell, left Trabzonspor club after its chairman, Mehmet Ali Yilmaz, called him a “cannibal.”

Campbell said that it was the “biggest insult” he had ever received.

“No apology can heal my injury,” he said after Yilmaz told Turkish journalists: “We bought a cannibal who calls himself a striker.”

Fans waving bananas during matches routinely make headlines, with no stern warnings or sanctions in return.

Racism is sometimes rewarded in sports.

Riza Kayaalp, a well-known Turkish wrestler, made headlines for racist remarks against Armenians and Greeks in August 2013 following the anti-government Gezi Park protests.

The Olympic medalist was suspended for six months by a FILA judge, but the decision was later overturned. Kayaalp was recently appointed undersecretary in the Youth and Sports Ministry.

According to Mert Yasar, Turkey’s campaign against racism is a state responsibility.

“All international conventions and constitutions oblige Turkey to initiate anti-discriminatory measures in sport. The sports ministry as well as the sporting federations and committees should combat the racist attacks in this area,” he said.

“Several international federations have the right to halt the membership of members that don’t fight racism effectively or which fail to conduct thorough investigations. They can even ban participation of these Turkish federations in international events if racism still enjoys impunity.”


International philosophy experts brainstorm at historic Riyadh conclave

International philosophy experts brainstorm at historic Riyadh conclave
Updated 16 min 12 sec ago

International philosophy experts brainstorm at historic Riyadh conclave

International philosophy experts brainstorm at historic Riyadh conclave
  • 3-day event discusses latest developments in philosophy and its applications

RIYADH: Under the theme “Unpredictability,” the Riyadh International Philosophy Conference will ponder important topics related to modern reality such as ethics and morality, scientific advancement, and the rapid acceleration of technology.

The three-day event, which began on Dec. 8, is organized by the Ministry of Culture’s Saudi Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission. During his opening remarks, the commission’s CEO, Dr. Mohammed Hasan Alwan, said that he was honored to welcome delegates and guests to the first conference of its kind in the Kingdom.

They are at the event for the same reason philosophers have gathered throughout the ages, he said, which is to help develop “a world that is clearer, and when it is clearer, our power to change it is greater. And when these positive changes take their effective form, we all get out of the blame that Karl Marx once (applied) to philosophers when he said: ‘They have interpreted the world in different ways only, while the goal is to change it.’”

The attendees include experts in philosophy and its theories and those with an interest in its modern-day applications worldwide. The event targets an audience with diverse interests, experiences, and academic and professional backgrounds.

FASTFACT

During his opening remarks, the commission’s CEO Dr. Mohammed Alwan said that he was honored to welcome delegates and guests to the first conference of its kind in the Kingdom.

The aims of the conference, which is planned to be an annual event, include discussions of the latest developments in philosophy and its contemporary applications. Organizers say it will also support multidimensional philosophical dialogue and build bridges of cooperation among institutions active in the field of philosophy globally, and help to advance scientific and academic research.

The commission described the conference as a historic moment in the ongoing transformation of the Kingdom, attracting youthful, ambitious and talented people who are keen to develop a mindset that will enable them to shape their future. It aims to help provide Saudis with the intellectual tools to embrace rapid change and an unprecedented future.

Joseph Cohen, a professor of philosophy at University College Dublin in Ireland, told the audience that he strongly believes in philosophy and the responsibilities of all philosophers to gather and meet each other despite their differences.

“I believe this is precisely what will materialize itself this evening and the next few days of the International Philosophy Conference,” he added.

“The great philosopher Jacques Derrida once told me never to settle for what is just possible, and to expect to demand, to strive for the impossible. His phrase resonates with me today. It resonates because by striving toward what is unpredictable, toward what seems impossible for us today, we can together stretch the boundaries of possibility and care for our world.”


Tuwaiq Sculptural Symposium reflects Vision 2030 aim to transform Riyadh

Tuwaiq Sculptural Symposium reflects Vision 2030 aim to transform Riyadh
Updated 49 min 41 sec ago

Tuwaiq Sculptural Symposium reflects Vision 2030 aim to transform Riyadh

Tuwaiq Sculptural Symposium reflects Vision 2030 aim to transform Riyadh

RIYADH: Two sculptures glisten in the sunlight in an outdoor space in JAX, the recently developed creative district in the industrial zone of Diriyah, just outside of Riyadh. They are part of the third Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium held under the theme of The Poetics of Space, which featured 20 works by Saudi and international artists focusing largely on the interplay between light and shadow.

Some of the large abstract sculptures appear to undulate like waves with their curvaceous forms while others challenge the surrounding desert landscape with their bold geometric forms. Saudi artist Wafa Al-Qunibit’s work Allah is representative of her desire to speak to both the Saudi and international community through intersecting and overlapping circles carved into marble depicting the name of God in Arabic. Karin van Ommeren’s Awareness Stone was created to symbolize eternity through a composition that has no beginning or end.

The 20 sculptors were chosen out of 418 applicants from 71 countries. The selected artists came to Riyadh, where they all created their works over a period of three weeks from Nov. 15 until Dec. 5 from giant blocks of black and white pearl marble imported from Oman. The resulting works are exhibited on site in JAX for four days until Dec.10.

What was crucial to the initiative was the element of cultural exchange — uniting artists from around the world in Riyadh through creative dialogue with the end goal of beautifying the city of Riyadh.

HIGHLIGHT

Artists Anna Korver, Haider Alawi Al-Alawi and Kim De Ruysscher announced as winners of the 2021 symposium

The symposium was organized by Riyadh Art, dubbed as one of the world’s largest public art projects of its kind. It is also one of Riyadh’s four megaprojects launched by King Salman bin Abdulaziz, on March 19, 2019. An integral component of Saudi Vision 2030, its mission is to transform Riyadh into a sustainable and environmentally friendly city.

“We tried to update the project this year to make it bigger and more international through workshops and panels and educational programs,” Sarah Alruwayti, architectural project advisor at The Royal Commission for Riyadh City responsible for Riyadh Art, told Arab News. “We aim to create a cultural platform not only for visitors but also for sculptors from around the world to engage with each other. We need to get our talents out into the world and the rest of the world needs to learn about us more.”

“We have 12 projects under Riyadh Art, of which two are annual and 10 are permanent, all of which add a lot of value to the economy and society as they focus on developing roads and bridges and they all encompass art,” Alruwayti said. “The projects work to beautify Riyadh—Riyadh is already beautiful but we are working to add more artistry to the city reflecting Vision 2030’s aims to transform the city into a gallery with no walls.”

Ali Jabbar, the curator of the Tuwaiq International Sculpture Symposium, founded the event three years ago in cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Culture. The first and second symposia, in 2019 and 2020, were held in Riyadh’s diplomatic quarter.

This year marks the first time that the symposium takes place under the umbrella of Riyadh Art. Jabbar, with the help of five heads of international museums, including Eike Dieter Schmidt, the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and Cristiana Collu, the director of Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna, chose the final selection of 20 sculptors.

“The Tuwaiq symposium is the largest one in the world now in terms of organization, size and quality of sculptures and their artistic and technical value,” Jabbar said. “It has placed the Saudi sculpture scene in the world map.”

The winners of the competition were announced on Dec. 7. First prize was awarded to New Zealand artist Anna Korver for her artwork entitled The Lighthouses triptych, which fused abstract geometrical forms with multiple cultural associations, suggesting female figures. Second prize went to Haider Alawi Al-Alawi of Saudi Arabia for his approach in depicting the landscape through a fusion of abstraction and figuration. His sculpture entitled Beauty evokes the Saudi landscape, featuring the sun, wind and sand. Third prize went to the Belgian Kim De Ruysscher for his Unseen, depicting a figurative form covered in what appears to be a kind of drapery, exploring the concepts of illusion and perception.

The next Tuwaiq Sculpture Symposium will take place in 2022.


Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang

Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang
Updated 34 min 27 sec ago

Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang

Red Sea Film Festival a ‘breakthrough’ for Arab and international films, says Jack Lang
  • According to the Arab World Institute president: ‘A real cultural revolution is underway in Saudi Arabia — it is extraordinary’

JEDDAH: The enthusiasm of Jack Lang, president of the Arab World Institute in Paris, is contagious as he shares his thoughts about the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival with Arab News en Francais.

Lang, who also served as minister of culture in his native France in the 1980s and 90s, said that even two years ago he could not have imagined an international film event such as this taking place in Jeddah.

“It was an absurd idea,” he said and yet now “a real cultural revolution is underway in Saudi Arabia” under the direction of the country’s leaders. “It is extraordinary,” he added. In particular, he praised the role Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan has played.

Since cinemas reopened almost three years ago there has been a major cultural renaissance in the Kingdom on all levels, Lang said. He praised the great developments in arts and culture, particularly in film through the launch of the Red Sea Film Festival, which began on Dec. 6 and continues until Dec. 15. Lang said it is an event designed “for Arab cinema” and for international filmmakers to make a breakthrough.

It is also a sign of the winds of change that have been blowing though Saudi Arabia in the past few years, and this is something that is not lost on Lang.

The authorities in the Kingdom understand that “culture, education, knowledge and science” represent the future, he said, and “a source of happiness as well as human and economic development for citizens.”

Support for culture and the arts, in their various forms, has been a significant driver of the longstanding relationship between France and Saudi Arabia. Lang said he is a member of the consultative council to the Royal Commission for AlUla, and that he appreciates the efforts Saudi authorities are making to preserve, renovate and develop this important historical and cultural site not only for Kingdom but for the entire world.
 


GALLERY

Stars shine at RSIFF on the third night of the film festival


“France is very present (in projects in AlUla) and I, myself, am participating in the development of the splendid site” by helping to organize an exhibition on AlUla, he said. “We plan on making the exhibition international” by taking it to Russia, the US and other countries.

“Here in the Kingdom there is ambition, a vision,” Lang added, as he thanked and congratulated the Saudi authorities for all they have done to develop arts and culture.

“There is a freedom to meet one another and to share” in the Saudi Arabia of today, he said. “I am not saying everything is perfect but I have confidence in humanity and in the ability to invent a new society in Jeddah.”


Indian film director honored to be chosen at RSIFF 

Indian film director honored to  be chosen at RSIFF 
Writer-director Nithin Lukose. (Supplied)
Updated 36 min 7 sec ago

Indian film director honored to be chosen at RSIFF 

Indian film director honored to  be chosen at RSIFF 

JEDDAH: On the eve of the Arab premiere of his debut feature, “Paka (River of Blood),” which is screening in competition at the Red Sea International Film Festival, writer-director Nithin Lukose spoke of the “honor” of his film being chosen for the event in Jeddah.

“We are honored to be the lone Indian film to be selected for the inaugural Red Sea International Film Festival 2021,” he said. “Being selected in the Competition category, among 16 films from around the world, is a dream come true for us.”

“Paka” is the only Indian film in the Malayalam language selected for screening during the festival. It will have its Arab premiere on Dec. 9 at Vox Cinemas Al-Balad at 6:15 p.m. with a second screening at 2:15 p.m. on Dec.12 at the same venue.

The plot of “Paka,” which stars starring Basil Paulose, Vinitha Koshy, Nithin George, Abhilash Nair, Athul John, Jose Kizhakkkan, Mariyakkutty and Joseph Manikkal, revolves around two feuding families and a young couple that tries to overcome their families’ hatred through love. The film is produced by Raj Rachakonda and Anurag Kashyap.

Lukose, who is in Jeddah for the screening of the film, said he hopes Saudis and the Indian diaspora will pack the cinema during the screenings of the film. “It will be highly encouraging for us,” he added.

Sharing his thoughts on his experience of the festival so far, the filmmaker said: “Initially, we didn’t have any clue how the inaugural film festival would be but we were blown away by its scale and grandeur.”

Lukose said his knowledge of Saudi Arabia was limited before the event but he was quickly overwhelmed by the warmth of the greeting he received from the city and its people.

“Apart from the film festival, we were lucky to be given tours of the historic parts of Jeddah, museums and other places,” he said. “This helped us learn more about Saudi Arabia as a country, as well as its culture. The hospitality extended to us is outstanding.

“We hope more beautiful and unique movies will come out of Saudi Arabia that will tell more about its history and rich culture, which the world knows little about.”

The Red Sea International Film Festival, which began on Dec. 6 and continues until Dec. 15, will screen 138 films from 67 countries in 34 languages.


UN Security Council condemns deadly Daesh terror attacks in Iraq

UN Security Council condemns deadly Daesh terror attacks in Iraq
Updated 09 December 2021

UN Security Council condemns deadly Daesh terror attacks in Iraq

UN Security Council condemns deadly Daesh terror attacks in Iraq
  • Two incidents in the past week, one in Basra and the other in the north of the country, left dozens of people dead or injured
  • Council members pledged their continued support to Iraq in its fight against terrorism, and in opposing Daesh in particular


The UN Security Council on Wednesday strongly condemned recent terrorist attacks in Iraq that killed or injured dozens of people. Daesh has claimed responsibility.
At least four people were killed and 20 injured in an explosion in Basra on Dec. 7, and at least 13 died in an attack in the north of the country on Dec. 3.
The members of the Security Council offered their condolences to the families of the dead and wished the injured a speedy recovery. They also reiterated their support for the “independence, sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity, democratic process and prosperity of Iraq.”
They urged all states to “actively” cooperate with Iraqi authorities to bring to justice the “perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism.” Such cooperation, they stressed, is in line with obligations under international law and Security Council resolutions.
Council members “reiterated that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.”
Pledging its continued support to Iraq in its fight against terrorism, and particularly Daesh, the council “reaffirmed the need for all states to combat by all means — in accordance with the charter of the United Nations and other obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law — threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.”