Negligible impacts | Parisian riots puncture myth generated by ’98 triumph

Paris | Expanded comments from France and Juventus defender Lilian Thuram concerning the riots and arson attacks in suburban areas have appeared in the Times of London and elsewhere. He criticized remarks from France interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who had called rioters “scum” and taken a hard-line stance.

“I grew up in a [housing] estate, too,” said Thuram,

but I am not scum. People used to say the same thing to me. What I wanted was to find work…. Violence never happens for no reason. You have to understand where the malaise comes from. Before talking about law and order, you have to talk about social justice.

In advance of Saturday’s friendly against Germany in the Stade de France, Simon Kuper assesses the impact of the 1998 World Cup–winning side in creating a tolerant society. The impact appears negligible. “This idea of integration by football was an illusion,” says Patrick Mignon of Institut National du Sport et de l’Education Physique, the national sports institute.

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