Momo Sissoko: Player calls for action against African racism row doctors


Ex-Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Sissoko believes that the comments made by two French doctors who called for coronavirus vaccine testing to take place in Africa are ‘a scandal’ and has called for action to be taken against the pair.

Camille Locht of Inserm, the French national medical research centre, and Jean-Paul Mira of Cochin Hospital in Paris were debating potential solutions to the COVID-19 crisis on French television channel LCI on Thursday when the latter questioned whether studies should be undertaken in Africa rather than Europe.

“What the two doctors said is really a scandal,” ex-Mali international Sissoko told Goal. “I can’t understand why they weren’t fired, and I can’t understand why there hasn’t been more commentary about the things they said.

“You really have to condemn this sort of discourse and take the necessary measures, because the remarks they made about African people are completely inadmissible.

“At this point, we must really be aware that this is not a joke,” he added. “When you make such statements against African people, or against any people, you must be measured and be aware of what you’re saying.”

During the television interview, Mira compared testing potential coronavirus vaccines on African populations to AIDS studies being carried out on prostitutes, who he perceived to be typically more exposed and have less access to ‘treatment or intensive care’ than populations in the ‘West’.

Politician Olivier Faure, of France’s Socialist Party, denounced comments made by Locht and Mira as ‘racism’ on his Twitter handle, although Inserm released a statement defending their employee and suggesting that his comments were misinterpreted.

“Africa hasn’t been touched [by COVID-19] compared to Europe, but clearly [the doctors] said ‘as there’s poverty and other things over there, there are things we can experiment’,” Sissoko continued, “but it shouldn’t happen like that.

“Close friends who I’ve spoken to about this are really wound up by what they said, and these kinds of comments are unacceptable, particularly in a country like France.”

Samuel Eto’o and Didier Drogba led Africa’s criticism of the two physicians’ comments, with the former taking to his Instagram account to lambaste the ‘sons of b——‘ while the latter accused the pair of treating Africans like guinea pigs.

Sissoko has defended the African legends’ emotional responses to the comments made about the continent.

“Eto’o is a very respectful person, but the moment he heard [what was said], he took his gloves off,” Sissoko concluded. “The statements he made come from his annoyance, but it’s normal to be shocked by these kinds of comments.

“I’m comfortably more shocked by what the professors said than what Eto’o said.”



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