Podcast: New Caledonia dialogue, homophobia in French football, moonlighting novelists

How to get New Caledonians talking to each other; the incompatibility of being gay and a football player in France, and the naval officer who turned his world travels into fiction. In the face of political deadlock over the status of the French overseas territory of New Caledonia, pro-independence and loyalist parties are struggling to even talk to one another. Caledonian journalist and writer Jenny Briffa has spent a good part of her life trying to get conversations going between the archipelago's different ethnic communities, and recently wrote a triptych of plays around the three independence referendums held in 2018, 2020 and 2021. She talks about the territory's colonial legacy, its shared cultures, and how she sees herself as a white Caledonian, born of French parents. (Listen @0')Football remains a very macho sport in France, and failure to fit the straight, virile mould can lead to harassment, insults or worse. Ouissem Belgacem quit his career as a rising football star aged 20 when he realised he could never be an openly gay player. He finally came out publicly in his book Adieu ma honte (Farewell to my shame) in 2021, which inspired a recently released documentary series. While he's no longer in the football world, he hopes to become a role model – something he never had – for today's players. He talks about needing to wear a 'heterosexual mask' as a player, and how little that has changed since he left the sport 15 years ago. (Listen @19'38'')Acclaimed writer Pierre Loti, who died on 10 June 1923, had a long career as a naval officer. He's in a long line of French public figures to have tried their hand at writing fiction, though with far less success. (Listen @15'25'')Episode mixed by Cecile Pompeani.Spotlight on France is a podcast from Radio France International. Find us on rfienglish.com, Apple podcasts (link here), Spotify (link here), Google podcasts (link here), or your favourite podcast app (pod.link/1573769878).
15 Jun 2023 English France News

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