Liberté, égalité, Mbappé! Footballer fights France’s extremists

Just as sanity looks like returning in Britain, the French are tearing each other apart; can the masked hero Kylian Mbappé save the day?

Following the UK’s election campaign feels soothing for a French political observer. The sight of Britain recovering its senses after years of shambles is a joy like no other; like seeing a dear friend turning a corner after a really bad patch. Meanwhile, France, in a sudden fit of rage, decided to overturn the table. The president dissolved parliament, but it is as if he had dissolved the whole country. And, in return, French voters are playing with the suicidal idea of giving him either a far-right or a far-left majority in the national assembly.

Many voters have already warned that, if confronted with such a stark choice in the second round, they will simply refuse to choose between the xenophobic far-right or the antisemitic far-left alliance, both Putin admirers. While French artists have been eerily silent during this snap campaign, ducking down, refusing to take sides, one man, Kylian Mbappé, rose to the challenge and asked his compatriots not only to vote but to fight the extremes . Asked whether he made any distinctions between the far right and far left, he replied that, non, they were the same to him. “Their ideas are divisive. I’m for ideas that unite.” Liberté, égalité, Mbappé! A few hours later, he was breaking his nose on the pitch; he has since reappeared as a superhero with a tricolour protective mask.

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