When do your national origins matter?

I was reading news coverage of the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, which is due to start this Friday. There were plenty of articles on how Zinedine Zidane, the best (and highest paid) soccer player in the world, is out for at least his first two matches due to an injury. Zidane and is a native born Frenchman. If you Google him, 53,900 hits come up. If you then Google “Zineddine Zidane” + Algerian, you get 575 hits. Ratio: .01.

Now, the man who the FBI alleges is the 20th hijacker is a native born Frenchman by the name of Zacarias Moussaoui. If you Google him, 17,500 hits come up. If you then Google “Zacarias Moussaoui” + Moroccan, you get 3,140. Ratio: .17.

Conclusion: When it comes to the glory of the World Cup, being French is more important than being North African. When it comes to terrorism, you can bet the North African origins will make the headlines.

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