jeudi 9 janvier 2014

What exactly is the “quenelle” ?

The comedian Dieudonne
C'est quoi le salut "quenelle?" It’s a word that most of us have never heard until now. Over the past two
months, the “quenelle” trend has gained popularity in Europeans. The "nazi style" sign which involves extending one’s right hand toward the ground while the left hand grasps the shoulder  is seen as anti-Semitic by the French media.
French fire men
The word in French refers originally to a long oval-shaped fish or meat dumpling from the Lyon region. Wikipedia described quenelle as a mixture of creamed fish, chicken, or meat, sometimes combined with breadcrumbs, with a light egg binding. For the definition of quenelle gesture, Wikipedia described it as a gest which is performed by pointing one arm diagonally downwards, while touching that arm's shoulder with the opposite hand.

The gesture was invented and named “Quenelle” by Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, a controversial French stand-up comedian, who has been convicted several times of inciting racial hatred and hate speech, and has many fines outstanding for these offences. Today, several photographs of Dieudonné fans performing the arm signal have spread on the internet.
A man doing the quenelle wearing graduated sleeve
which allows different sizes of quenelles
The English Football Association is currently investigating an incident during a match in which a French soccer player, Nicolas Anelka, performed an arm gesture known as the “quenelle”. Nicolas made the sign in celebration after scoring a goal for his English club, West Bromwich Albion, on December 28th. It prompted an outcry in France, where the sports minister called it “a shocking provocation”.

Anelka said on his Twitter feed after the football-match incident that he had meant it as an “anti-system” signal, in support of his friend, Dieudonné. who was facing a ban on his comedy shows in France after the Socialist interior minister, Manuel Valls, said that they could be a threat to public order.
French footballer Nicolas Anelka 
Nicolas Anelka 
Anelka took to Twitter to defend his move, insisting that he is neither a racist nor an anti-Semite and that other prominent personalities have also made the arm gesture.

In an effort to diminish the significance of his actions, he posted a photo of Obama and singers Jay-Z and Beyonce at a NYC fundraiser making what appears to be the same arm gesture but their gesture is related to a popular move associated with a hip-hop song. They were “brushing imaginary dirt off their shoulder” in “an obvious reference to the Jay-Z hit song” entitled “Dirt off Your Shoulder.”

 The “brush off the shoulders” hip-hop move has no connection to the quenelle.
President Barack Obama, Jay-Z and Beyonce
The move however pleased Dieudonné who praised the footballer on his Facebook page: “Excellent live quenelle by Anelka,” he wrote.” ‘Thanks for the support.”
Tony Parker also was photographed performing the quenelle but he said he had no idea that it had anti-Semitic connotations. Anelka is now being investigated by the Football Association, and could be suspended for several games.
The comedian Dieudonne & Tony Parker
In France, hate speech, racism and anti-Semitism are crimes. Displaying Nazi symbols is illegal if done to cause offense. But the quenelle may not be prosecutable. It is just similar enough to the Nazi salute to make its meaning clear, but not so similar that the gesture could be subject to criminal charges. France has strict laws against both hate speech and Holocaust denial; it also bans the wearing of uniforms or emblems resembling those responsible for “crimes against humanity”.
On January 6th the government told prefects in all departments to close Dieudonné’s shows if and where they threatened public order. The following day the first leg of his tour, due to open in the western city of Nantes on January 9th, was banned; other towns have said that they will follow suit. Even if the shows are cancelled, though, the publicity from all this may yet benefit Dieudonné: it turns out that the comedian’s production company has registered the quenelle, in France, as a trademark.
Some say it is pure rebelliona against the system, others say it is a subtle way to give a “Heil Hitler” without getting in trouble, the comedian says the gesture isn't anti-Semitic but “anti-establishment”, while the French government says the quenelle is a Nazi gesture which is clearly anti-Semitic. 
For me, I really don't know what to think, Can it be a Nazi salute? Then how come people of african origin have embraced this sign? We all know that there was no romance between that Hitler and people with black skin. And if it's not anti-Semitic, how come many of the people who post pictures of themselves online performing the heil-like salute take them at sensitive sites such as in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the Anne Frank House and even the Western Wall? Or is it juste une pure provocation?

Sources :
What exactly is the “quenelle”?
France considers ban on comedian at center of ‘quenelle’ row
The Quenelle, the New Sign of Resistance
French soccer player gives Nazi-like salute after goal

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