Omar Sy denounces racism amid backlash in France over comments on Ukraine war

Omar Sy denounces racism amid backlash in France over comments on Ukraine war

FRANCE-Omar Sy, the star of Lupin, has responded to criticisms of remarks he made on varying opinions on the war in Ukraine and other foreign crises, claiming that the criticism is merely racist in nature. One of the most well-liked performers in France and the most successful Black actor in the nation, Sy, has been the target of a domestic media storm this week due to an interview he gave to the newspaper Le Parisien about his upcoming WWI drama, Father and Soldier.

Omar Sy speak out against racism in France

Following its world premiere at Cannes Un Certain Regard, the film, which Gaumont distributed in France on January 4, centers on a forty-something Senegalese man who willingly escorts his drafted son to the front lines in Verdun in 1917. The actor, who was born and reared in France by parents of Mauritanian and Senegalese descent, finds personal relevance in the piece, which is based on the actual tales of 200,000 men who were conscripted from French colonies to serve in the war between 1914 and 1918. 

Le Parisien questioned Sy about his thoughts on the ongoing turmoil in Ukraine, addressing the film’s anti-war message. Sy retorted that he had already been as affected by other wars occurring elsewhere and that the war had not been “a crazy revelation” for him. Does that imply that you are less affected by it when it is in Africa? Whether it’s in Iran or the Ukraine, I feel just as endangered,” he shot back. Even when it occurs on the opposite side of the globe, a war casts a terrible shadow over humanity. We keep in mind that man is able to invade and harm children and people. We feel as though we had to wait until Ukraine to realize this.

Sy responds to backlash over Ukraine war remarks

You know, but my pals? Since I was little, I have witnessed it. They claim that when something is far away, “over there, they’re savages,” but we’ve evolved past that. It’s similar to when people first stated, “It’s only the Chinese,” at the beginning of COVID. French centrist politician Nathalie Loiseau responded angrily on Twitter within hours of the interview appearing on the Le Parisien website. Her remark brought to memory the 58 French military who lost their lives battling Islamist terrorists in the Sahel area of North Africa between 2013 and 2022. The French aren’t “less touched” by what occurs “in Africa,” Omar Sy. She tweeted, “Some have sacrificed their lives so that Malians will no longer feel endangered by terrorists. In a follow-up piece, Le Parisien questioned her reaction and noted that Sy’s remarks had been delivered in a conversational chat, with a general tone. He never once named Mali or “French” attitudes.

Sy’s comments highlight racial tension in France

In further TV and radio appearances related to the movie’s advertising, Sy first adopted a phlegmatic stance toward the dispute, claiming he didn’t want to fuel the argument or give it any weight. “What I stated in French was stated in an interview that may be found on Le Parisien. Try to comprehend it as you read it. It’s too terrible for you if you don’t understand,” he said. “Of course, it’s racism, and I’m saying it out loud,” he said when pressed. 

Is it my inability to express myself in French as the child of immigrants? I can’t express myself in France because I’m Black, he asked. “I’m calling out those who think that are racists, and I stand by what I say.” The left-leaning publication Libération questioned Sy’s detractors as well. Libération pointed out that Sy had just been ranked as France’s third most popular actor in a poll conducted by the Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, and that his implication that French people were more interested in Russian invasions of Ukraine “at the gates of Europe” than in conflicts in Africa was not particularly noteworthy.

Call to action: Boycott Pairs Olympics 2024

Boycotts have been a prominent form of political protest throughout Olympic history, reflecting the tensions that were present across the world at the time. A group of left-leaning French MPs and several Palestinian activists have demanded that Israel be sanctioned by the IOC for the Gaza War, which began on October 7 after Hamas launched an offensive that claimed almost 1,140 lives. Israel responded by vowing to destroy Hamas and initiating an invasion that, according to Gaza’s health ministry, has killed at least 30,878 Palestinians, the majority of whom were women and children.



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