" Swing Low, Sweet Chariot ", the iconic song of the supporters of the XV of the Rose, could soon be a thing of the past, the English Federation of rugby (RFU) has decided to review the song legacy of slavery. The text would have been written by a slave american, Wallace Willis, in the mid-Nineteenth century. And would have made his entrance at Twickenham in 1987, in tribute to the rugby player 7 and 13 Martin Offiah, nicknamed "Chariots" in reference to the oscar winning film Chariots of fire. For over thirty years, it is spoken by over 80,000 supporters at each meeting of the selection English.
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Friday, the case is escalated to the conservative Prime minister, Boris Johnson, who has defended the use of the song in a stadium, on the grounds that " person, to the extent (that it) will know, no one seems to know the words ". "I don't think there should be a ban of any kind to sing this song ", he estimated. But, against the backdrop of tensions in many countries since the death, on may 25, George Floyd, an African-American killed during his arrest by the police, the use of the anthem by the supporters of English controversy.
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In England, significant events have taken place in recent weeks and the statue of a slave was déboulonnée in Bristol. Of events that drive the instances to reflect their historical links with slavery, abolished in England in 1833. The country had, before this, occupied for a long time a prominent place in the slave trade, which saw millions of Africans being deported to the american continent, there to be subjected to slavery.
"I've always hated"
" "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" has long been part of the culture of rugby union and is sung by many people who are not aware of its origins and of its sensitivity, " said Thursday the RFU. "We reshape currently its historical context and our role in the education of fans to ensure that they take decisions in conscience ", she added. "We need to do more for diversity, and are determined to accelerate change and to increase our vigilance ", she said.
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The song also splits the players, past and present, of the selection English. "I don't think anyone at Twickenham sings it with bad intentions ", has recently defended Maro Itoje, English player of nigerian origin. "But the context of this song is complicated," he acknowledged.
" I've always hated ", for its part, stated to the daily newspaper, The Telegraph, the former hooker Brian Moore. "It is not appropriate. It has connotations of slavery and, if the RFU took the decision (to ban), I'd be happy. "According to The Telegraph, which cited an anonymous source, one of the tracks under consideration is actually to" stop singing it during the matches ".
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Symbolic, the discussion of this song takes place in a desire to change more comprehensive. Earlier this week, the chief executive of the RFU, Bill Sweeney, had said that he wanted to do more " to improve diversity in all areas of the game, including in the administration ". Currently, the ex-international Maggie Alphonsi is the only person of color among the 55 members of the council of the instance.
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