May 27, 2016

    German row over non- white players on Kinder bars


    ONLINE debate raged in Germany on Wednesday after supporters of anti-Islam group Pegida criticised a confectioner's decision to print images of non-white football players on its chocolate bars instead of the usual one of a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy.

    Italian confectionery group Ferrero has temporarily changed the pictures on its Kinder Schokolade (Children Chocolate) in Germany to celebrate the European Championship which kicks off on June 10 in France.

    The new packaging shows childhood pictures of players such as Jerome Boateng, son of a Ghanaian immigrant, and Ilkay Gundogan, whose parents were born in Turkey.

    It also includes white players such as Mario Goetze and Christoph Kramer.

    On Twitter, the hashtag #Kinderschokolade was among those trending most in Germany on Wednesday.

    Ferrero's special-edition packaging won praise from most users on the company's official Facebook page but also drew criticism from some Pegida supporters.

    "They will stop at nothing. Are they really being sold like that? Or is that a joke?" the account operator of Pegida BW Bodensee wrote in a post.

    Commenting on the post, one user wrote: "The team, there is nothing national about it any more."

    Germany won the football World Cup in 1990 with an all-white team. The squad that won in 2014 included Boateng as well as Sami Khedira, whose father is Tunisian, and Mesut Oezil, grandson of a Turkish "Gastarbeiter" (guest worker).

    Pegida stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West.

    Its rallies drew tens of thousands of people last year, many waving German flags and chanting nationalist slogans.