“I know Ricard, he’s an excellent computer scientist… / SOFOOT.com

A Haitian soccer player named Goebbels who converted to Judaism. A story with silly hints, but nonetheless true, which is inspired by Guy Regis Jr in his play Goebbels, Jew and soccer player (Les Solitaires intempestifs editions). On the occasion of his participation in the Festival Étonnants Voyageurs in Saint-Malo, the author and director shares his perspective on Haitians’ taste for exotic first names, the tragic fate of footballers, and the place of the round ball in the world. Intellectual world.

the average

Why did you look into the life of Goebbels Badett (Cadet, his real name, is slightly modified in the book)?
First of all, I am a football fan. I was born in 1974, the year of our only World Cup participation, a date we have never forgotten. We particularly played Italy’s Dino Zoff, who was invincible for two years at the time, and it was the Haitian, Mano Sanon, who took his virginity away for a few months. (Laugh). Personally, I even played in the second division. I’ve always had a special attachment to full-backs, because you need speed, stamina and technique. Goebbels was a very well known linebacker in the ’80s and ’90s, a player with a lot of personality. He reminded me of his bent legs, Roberto Carlos. It intrigued me, because I liked the player so much, and then there was this first name, even if the Goebbels surname is not strange in Haiti, where there are Hitler and Napoleon … But I really thought about building a play around him when I asked about him a Haitian commentator and he told me that he lived in New York and converted to Judaism!

“To be called Goebbels is not unusual in Haiti, where there are Hitler and Napoleon…”

Reading a play, one might think that we are dealing with a fictional character…
It exists. Lives in New York. I even saw pictures on the networks where he celebrates his birthday and puts Yamlik on his head. (Laugh). But there, too, that doesn’t seem surprising to me, because we are very mystical in Haiti. With that name, I understand why he was transformed, he wanted to somehow exorcise spirits. And I immediately wanted to write a play about it, but looking away, without trying to meet him.

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The first name, as weight and choice, is a central theme in a play. why ?
I don’t miss the subject of the name in Haiti, why do we choose historical and literary first names… This comes from slavery, where we were slaves of “Jean” or “Thomas”, otherwise we got the same name as a cow. After independence against Napoleon in 1804, I had the impression that we began to give each other original names as a kind of revenge against history. It is not up to the master, the settler, to name us, so we shall name ourselves in the most beautiful way, well. Giving a first name that sounds good and launches a baby into life has become an exercise close to our hearts. I knew Maradona, he was a friend. (Laugh). Today, there is more and more Ronaldo, especially since the Brazilian was already and the Portuguese today. I even know Ricard, he is an excellent computer scientist. In addition, the name of Haiti is difficult to pronounce, but his father was very fond of this player.

Are there any current footballer names that resonate with you?
A friend sent me a picture of a player named Goebbels, but it’s spelled differently (Willem Goebbels, AS Monaco striker, editor’s note). In Brazil, a country also characterized by slavery, there are also many strange names. Some will say we should organize. But if the civil registrar was called Neymar, he wouldn’t be the one setting the limits. (Laugh).

in Goebbels, Jew and soccer playerWe feel that the topic of post-career is close to your heart…
There is no need to pity the players, but their fate is still tragic, because they are quickly forgotten. vanish. In the case of Haitians, the majority left to play in the United States and did not return home. Then it is completely forgotten. That’s why Zlatan, he holds. (Laugh). To end it so quickly is a great pain. Even a huge player like Ronaldo, runs his business, but is no longer in the spotlight, except when we remember him on the occasion of the World Cup, on birthdays … But if we talk about the tragic end of football players, perhaps the most striking example of this is the example of Van Basten. It was fast. A major injury and he was forced to retire from football when he was at the top.

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In your play, soon to be shown in Haiti, will we see Goebbels playing football?
yes. For me, this is important, even if I’m not going out. I have the impression, especially in France, that people think that football lacks hair, while this sport hides a great deal of beauty. We can see it as a dance, just watch the movie where we follow Zidane through the whole match (Zidane, a portrait of the twenty-first centurye century) to understand this. And then, the stage is very related to football, it’s the same thing, you don’t know what will happen before you go on stage.

“In France, intellectuals are ashamed to talk about football. With few exceptions, we hear this discourse about this barbaric money game.”

When you work in France, you feel a shift in the way football is considered…
In France, intellectuals are ashamed to talk about football. With few exceptions, we hear this rhetoric about this barbaric money game. But we remain focused on the beauty of the gesture. In Haiti, the country is divided between Brazil and Argentina. It is the same with intellectuals. Between us, we talk a lot about Messi and Neymar… It’s part of the Haitian thinker’s DNA, everyone has their favorite team and players. I love Ronaldinho. Lionel Troy (novelist and poet) He is totally crazy about Messi. Louis Philippe D’Alembert (clerk) He has a soft spot for Brazil. Football is anyway a cultural activity. During the World Cup, I also like to observe the ways of playing in each country.

What will be the identity of Haitian football?
We are in America and the Caribbean. There is already a desire to play well. It is a slow art game. The most important players of the 1974 team were midfielders and strikers. It is a country where Brazil remains the norm. Since childhood, everyone has been playing ball in the streets, in small areas. Our problem is that there are no institutions to identify players and then supervise them.

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In addition to your activities as an author and director, you are also a translator of Albert Camus into Creole. his punishment “A few morals I know I learned in the football stadiums and theaters that will remain my true universities” I have to talk to you…
naturally. Furthermore, I have this well-established image of Camus playing football. I’m happy to imagine him as a goalkeeper, but I also see the link between the two activities. Football, where you have to master the field of 100 meters by 60, is a matter of time and place, and it is also a case of a story. Then, personally, I moved away from football when I was a very young teenager, got involved in literature and, thanks to culture, discovered girls. Football is no longer my world, it was too masculine, with an aversion to unwelcome women. I soon found it unbearable.

Finally, we feel in your playing that you take a somewhat cynical look at football commentators…
On TV, with rare exceptions, it’s pretty bad. I prefer those who talk a lot on the radio, sometimes they talk a lot. They even tell so many stories that I once watched a game where the commentator didn’t realize a goal had been scored. In Haiti you have two parallel matches, one between the two teams, which can be dope, and a commentator match, which is never the case. They are stars, so important that they say: “Turn down the volume on the TV, turn up the volume on the radio, and go!”

Interview by Thomas Jobin

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About the Author: Aldina Antunes

"Praticante de tv incurável. Estudioso da cultura pop. Pioneiro de viagens dedicado. Viciado em álcool. Jogador."

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