When Lilian reaches for Thuram next to him, he pulls out a large paper. A map of the world is shown on it, which the former French national soccer player spreads out and holds up. “What do you see?” he asks, looking expectantly at the audience. “A map of the world,” someone says hesitantly.
When no one adds anything, Thuram himself continues. “When I show the map in schools, most people tell me to turn it over because it’s the wrong way round.” Usually, Europe is in the middle and is shown oversized, while the African continent appears to be smaller than Russia – a holdover from the West imperial ways of thinking. But because the earth is round like a soccer ball, it is often forgotten that there is actually no right or wrong way around, says Thuram.
Thuram refers to capitalist economic structures that not only perpetuate racism but reproduce it, and in doing so poses the crucial question of who benefits in the end.
At his reading in the Red Salon of the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, he calls on the audience to recognize privileges, because: “It is important to be aware of reality and not to deny it.”
Because Thuram observes colonial continuities to this day, especially in relation to European refugee policy: “There are walls around Europe like a fortress. People who have done nothing are put in prison; they are not allowed to cross the Mediterranean.” He himself has visited several refugee camps. “In 50 we will ask ourselves: how could we have allowed that back then?”
The great potential of the book lies in Thuram’s fame as a football star, with which he reaches a wide audience. Sometimes he is not taken seriously because of his career, says Thuram. “Because mind and body become very separate in the world we live in.”
Already during his time as a player he was persuaded that he should play football and not talk about racism. He would not have written the book without the sport. “The life I had as a kid wouldn’t have brought me here if I hadn’t become a professional footballer,” he says.
In this respect, his plea is one that gives hope – but also requires courage. courage to ask questions about collective responsibility; Courage to recognize your own privileges and the resulting advantages. Just like top athletes have to regularly face and deal with criticism if they want to reach a top level.