The sixth edition of the Francophone Games
The sixth edition of the Francophone Games opened yesterday at the Camille Chamoun Stadium in Beirut, in a magical show combining dance, music and song, celebrating the history of Lebanon and the values held by the Francophonie.
About 15 000 spectators were on hand to watch a show that paid tribute to the ancient history of Lebanon, with music, dance and play of light at will. The stadium was divided into two: one half was occupied by a huge structure shaped like cubes, using slides to representation, and the other half was reserved for spectators. The latter, as is customary in large gatherings of fashionable Beirut, were almost all packed into sections called “Very Important People (VIP). The lucky ones had access to the VVIP area, where they had seen on the center stand, transformed into an aquarium tank. There had gathered around the president, the people best for the political and social moment. Guests of Honor: The French Prime Minister Francois Fillon, accompanied by a delegation of ministers and deputies, but the Prince Albert II of Monaco, himself recognized sport, come support the small delegation of his small country. Around them were present Fouad Siniora, Speaker Nabih Berri, Saad Hariri, several ministers and MPs from all sides, as well as representatives from different Francophone countries participating.
The security services were mobilized around and inside the stadium, despite the blatant porosity of the system, no incidents were reported during the evening. In the crowded backstage journalists and organizers, visibly overwhelmed by the success of the event and unprepared to handle the large number of spectators. The opening ceremony was addressed to the minute and the result was below expectations, with great fluidity in the spectacle.
It was divided into three parts. This is the first awards ceremony took place with the official launch of the Games by the President of the Republic. Before he spoke, in French and Arabic of course, is Abdo Diouf, Secretary General of La Francophonie, which recalled the message of hope brought by the Games’ from the region of the Middle East where both Young lives are sacrificed to the violence. ” It was during this first part of the ceremony as hundreds of Lebanese youth came running into the central area of the stadium, where they welcomed the 44 participating delegations. The Lebanese climber Maxime Chaya has now joined, bringing the flag of La Francophonie.
The delegations marched to the applause of the public, preceded by their flag bearers at the Olympic way. Niger, which had organized the previous Games, was in the lead, and it obviously Lebanon which closed the parade before an audience mainly Lebanese and more enthusiastic. It was Canada that provided the bulk of the troops, with 300 participants divided, for some reason, three delegations: that the country itself, followed by those in Quebec and New Brunswick, two French provinces and French-speaking part.
The geography of the Lebanese diaspora has emerged through the intensity of the applause given by the public each delegation: the France and Canada, major countries of immigration for the Lebanese, have received tremendous ovations as they pass in procession – perhaps also because of the size of their delegations. The audience also applauded with great enthusiasm the participants from Ivory Coast and Senegal. Armenia, the first nation to enter the track after Niger, also received an enthusiastic welcome in a country where the Armenian community has retained a strong identity.
Some countries such as Greece and Laos have seen their flag without scrolling delegation, they are not arriving on time in Lebanon. Gabon was also absent and the official press agency of Gabon (AGP) reported yesterday that “athletes of Gabon in Libreville still present could make the journey to the Lebanese capital, lack of funds.
Participants then left the central area of the stadium to make way for the second part of the ceremony, musical entertainment “offered by Lebanon’s French-speaking friends” and broadcast live to millions of viewers. Created by set designer Daniel Carpenter, the show was staged dancers, musicians and singers in Lebanon 18 projectors 7 000 Watts broadcast images on a screen giant 9 000 m2.
It was to trace the history of Lebanon through its cities and pearls that each of them can offer. Byblos and its alphabet, Tripoli and whirling dervishes, and dabke Baalbeck, Anjar and Armenian duduk, Sidon and its musicians, Tire and princesses, but also regions of Kadisha and the Chouf: no part of the country has been overlooked. The trip ended in Beirut, “city of all the dialogues, which resonate throughout the muezzin’s voice and the bells of the churches” – a message shown by an Ave Maria which has involved a call to Muslim prayer. The words “solidarity”, “diversity” and “excellence”, the motto of these Games have been trained on the stage with huge letters. Night had fallen while on stage, and this is when the Lebanese singer Magida el-Roumi came on stage, an audience of stars, to interpret a song in Beirut.
She was then joined by Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, with whom she performed a song in Arabic and French, ending the show under the lights of a fireworks spectacular. Youssou N’Dour then remained on stage for the third part of the evening, during which he performed his greatest hits.
From 20 hours, spectators began leaving the stands. A festive atmosphere prevailed outside the stadium on a site which had been installed kiosks selling food and drinks. They then had to leave the area on foot, the area was sealed off by security services. Only vehicles of political dignitaries were allowed to move around the stadium, where they were, as usual, failed to overturn dozens of pedestrians – the course name of solidarity, diversity and excellence.
The Francophone Games in Beirut together about 3 000 athletes from over 40 different nationalities, until October 6.