Gmail has this cool features where headlines are displayed at the top of your inbox. I clicked on one such news article titled “Night of soccer violence in France reveals an ugly underside” (International Herald Tribune – Europe), and although I had a sneaking suspicion that this article concerned me more than just because I studied abroad in Paris last spring, I was still upset that my expectations were met…

The article speaks about an incident that occurred after the Parisian soccer team lost to a team from Tel Aviv(Israel). European soccer is known for its hostile, aggressive, drunk fans and also for its refusal to truly let go of old ideas, but it’s sad to read about this kind of stuff in 2006.

“The crowd hurled insults – ‘dirty Jew,’ ‘Dirty Negro’ and monkey cries – and raised Nazi salutes,” the state prosecutor, Jean-Claude Marin, said afterward.

A fan who called himself Maxmax said on an Ultra Internet message board posted on Friday that someone shouted, “Jews to the ovens!” after the shooting.

It’s also disturbing because this sort of thing isn’t a such a rare occurrence. At the end of February, I wrote a post (found here) about a young Jewish man (only two years older than me!) who had been kidnapped, tortured and murdered by a gang because they thought that the Jewish community would pay an exorbitant ransom (since obviously all Jews are rich).

Although at the beginning of my stay in Paris, I wore my Star of David necklace, I quickly changed to a Chamsa one and then even felt a little unsafe in that. I felt like a stranger’s eyes immediately went straight to my neck and then labeled me. I soon took it off – a big sign that things are definitely differeint in Europe than in the United States.

So, I guess while I frequently think about my time abroad and miss all the charm, there are some great things about being back home.