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WEEKLY WHINE

Schmilblick Patrol: Jaïr Karam

Edvard: Hello! Hi everyone! Good evening! Thank you! Welcome to another edition of GoobNet’s Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol, where you get to meet some of the most influential people and find out exactly what they are up to when you’re not looking. Well, today we have an interesting case for you. Let us meet our participant first. He is a retired French footballer who played in goal for French Guiana, and today he serves as their manager. He has led them to their first participation in the CONCACAF Men’s Gold Cup, and they just played their last match in the group phase. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the manager of the French Guiana men’s football team, Jaïr Karam!

Jaïr: Hello Edvard.

Edvard: Welcome, Jaïr. Thank you for coming out here to join us tonight.

Jaïr: It is my pleasure. I have heard so many things about your programme.

Edvard: Good things, I hope.

Jaïr: Yes. Everyone that I have spoken to have enjoyed their experiences.

Edvard: Excellent. Well, we have met you. Let us now meet our patrollers. We have Sandrine from Kourou, French Guiana, France.

Sandrine: Good evening.

Edvard: Jean-Paul from New Orleans, LA, USA.

Jean-Paul: Hello.

Edvard: And Luc from White Plains, NY, USA.

Luc: Hello there.

Edvard: Welcome to all of you. Thank you for being here. Jaïr, would you now tell us a description of your Schmilblick?

Jaïr: My Schmilblick is: Why I played Florent Malouda in our match on Tuesday.

Edvard: Why you played Florent Malouda in your Men’s Gold Cup match on Tuesday. Against Honduras, a match that ended goalless.

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: Malouda had already been deemed ineligible. And so the match was awarded as a 3-0 forfeit in Honduras’s favour. Well, that is your Schmilblick. Patrollers, if you are able to identify Jaïr’s Schmilblick, we will send you on a wonderful trip to San Francisco, CA, USA for the Men’s Gold Cup final. Josie, tell them all about it.

Josie: That’s right, Edvard. We’ll put you in a beautiful hotel right in the heart of San Francisco, where you’ll spend four nights and three days. And we’ll whisk you to Santa Clara for the Men’s Gold Cup final, which you’ll enjoy from your choice of locations: either a luxury suite, pitchside seats, or the heart of the supporters’ club of the team of your choice. That’s all waiting for you if you can identify Jaïr’s Schmilblick. Edvard?

Edvard: Thank you, Josie. But if you cannot determine Jaïr’s Schmilblick within your eighteen queries, Jaïr will be our winner, and we will send you on a wonderful trip to New Orleans, LA, USA for the final of Jean-Paul’s disc golf league. Josie, tell him all about it.

Josie: Yes, Edvard. Jaïr, we’ll put you in a beautiful hotel right in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where you’ll spend four nights and three days. And we’ll whisk you to Slidell for the disc golf league final, which you’ll enjoy from your choice of locations: either the bleachers at the eighteenth hole, immediately behind the first tee, or in the heart of the clubhouse. That’s all waiting for you if the patrollers cannot identify your Schmilblick, Jaïr. Edvard, back to you.

Edvard: Thank you, Josie. Plenty to play for. So, patrollers, are you ready?

Sandrine: Yes.

Luc: Yes.

Jean-Paul: Ready.

Edvard: Jaïr, are you ready?

Jaïr: Yes, I am ready.

Edvard: Then let’s go on patrol! The first question is to you, Sandrine.

Sandrine: Thank you. Jaïr, did you know that Florent was not eligible to play?

Jaïr: I knew that CONCACAF had claimed that he was not eligible, yes.

Edvard: You knew that they claimed he was not eligible.

Jaïr: That is correct.

Edvard: Well, that is an interesting way to put it, It is one down and seventeen to go, and I’m sure our patrollers will have a few ways they could proceed. Jean-Paul, let us now proceed with your first question.

Jean-Paul: Thank you, Edvard. Hello, Jaïr.

Jaïr: Good evening.

Jean-Paul: You say that CONCACAF claimed that Florent was not eligible. Are you of the opinion that he was eligible?

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: You believed that he was eligible.

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: But that’s not your Schmilblick.

Jaïr: No.

Edvard: All right. We’ve made quite a bit of progress already, it seems. It is two down and sixteen to go, but first, before we hear our next question for Jaïr, let us take a moment to meet our patrollers. Luc, hi.

Luc: Hello, Edvard.

Edvard: You are from White Plains, NY, USA.

Luc: Yes.

Edvard: Where is that, exactly?

Luc: It is in Westchester County, not far from New York City.

Edvard: Great. And what do you do there?

Luc: I help operate various city events. The farmer’s market, for example, and concerts and sporting events.

Edvard: Well, that sounds like fun. Let us have your first question for Jaïr, please.

Luc: Jaïr, do you plan to appeal the decision to forfeit your match?

Jaïr: We have not yet made a decision in that regards.

Edvard: Not yet decided. Well, that is three down and fifteen to go, then. Sandrine, hi.

Sandrine: Hello, Edvard.

Edvard: You are from French Guiana.

Sandrine: Yes.

Edvard: And what do you do there?

Sandrine: I am the director of education programmes at the Guiana Space Centre.

Edvard: Really? What sort of education programmes do you direct?

Sandrine: We invite local students to the space centre and take them on tours. We also instruct local teachers on how to use microscopes and telescopes, so that they can then use them in their classrooms.

Edvard: Well, that is wonderful. You are encouraging the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Sandrine: Yes.

Edvard: Great. Well, good luck with that. Let us now have your next question for Jaïr.

Sandrine: Jaïr, did you play Florent against Honduras because you believed that gave you the greatest chance of winning that match?

Jaïr: Yes, I did.

Edvard: And in fact, you came away with a draw in that match.

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: Before the result was annulled, of course. Well, that is four down and fourteen to go. Jean-Paul, hi.

Jean-Paul: Hello, Edvard.

Edvard: You are from New Orleans.

Jean-Paul: Yes. But I am originally from Haiti.

Edvard: Great. And what do you do in New Orleans, in addition to playing disc golf?

Jean-Paul: I am also the assistant groundskeeper at a golf course.

Edvard: Is that right? What is the most difficult thing about keeping the grounds at a golf course?

Jean-Paul: I would say the putting greens.

Edvard: Really?

Jean-Paul: Yes. The grass must be kept short on the greens, and there must not be any irregularities. Golfers are very particular about the greens, and if there are any bumps or ridges, I hear about them immediately.

Edvard: Well, good luck maintaining your greens. And in the meantime, you may now ask your next question of Jaïr.

Jean-Paul: Jaïr, if you do appeal, are you confident of winning the appeal?

Jaïr: I am fairly confident, yes.

Edvard: Fairly confident?

Jaïr: Yes. I would not say that I am completely confident, but fairly confident.

Edvard: All right. That is five down and thirteen to go. Luc, we come around to you.

Luc: Jaïr, do you believe that the reason that Florent is eligible to represent your team is that French Guiana is not a member of FIFA?

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: But that is not your Schmilblick.

Jaïr: No.

Edvard: Okay. So it is now six down and twelve to go. Sandrine, back to you.

Sandrine: Jaïr, did you play Florent in the tournament with the express purpose of drawing worldwide attention to the economic and social problems in French Guiana?

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: You did?

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: But that’s not your Schmilblick.

Jaïr: No.

Edvard: But it does appear that we have made some significant progress. It is seven down and eleven to go, and so we will return to you, Jean-Paul. What will you ask?

Jean-Paul: Jaïr, if French Guiana qualify for another Gold Cup, would you play Florent again, or perhaps another player who had previously represented France?

Jaïr: I have not yet considered that.

Edvard: Interesting. That may yet factor into the questioning, but for now, it is eight down and ten to go. Luc, let us now have your third question.

Luc: Jaïr, did anyone in the government or in the federation instruct you to include Florent in the squad?

Jaïr: No, it was my decision.

Edvard: Solely your decision.

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: All right. That takes us to nine down and nine to go. We are at the midway point of our questioning, and we have not yet identified Jaïr Karam’s Schmilblick, which today is why he played Florent Malouda in French Guiana’s match against Honduras at the CONCACAF Men’s Gold Cup last week. Sandrine, we come to you again. What will be your fourth question?

Sandrine: Jaïr, you say that you wanted to draw attention to the economic and social problems in French Guiana. Was your intent to do so by appearing on this programme?

Jaïr: Yes. And that’s my Schmilblick.

Edvard: It is?

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: You wanted to draw the world’s attention to French Guiana’s plight by appearing on our show?

Jaïr: That is correct.

Edvard: This show.

Jaïr: Yes.

Edvard: Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol.

Jaïr: Yes, that is correct.

Edvard: Sorry. I’m just a bit surprised that someone would be that desperate.

Jaïr: It is not a matter of desperation. Certainly the plight of French Guiana is serious and demands the attention of all throughout the nation of France.

Edvard: Yeah, but still. Anyway, let us discuss the plight of French Guiana. The economic situation is difficult, is it not?

Jaïr: Yes, it is a serious problem. Average income is much lower than metropolitan France, and yet the cost of living is much higher than metropolitan France. There are also problems with crime: drug trafficking affects the entire department, and the murder rate is higher than any other part of France.

Edvard: What can people do to help?

Jaïr: I believe that the most important and useful thing we can do is demand further action from the leaders of France and of French Guiana. The French government signed an agreement earlier this year to provide aid, but we in French Guiana need a continuing commitment if we are to drive out drug trafficking and establish positive opportunities for all Guianans.

Edvard: Well, thank you for being here today, Jaïr. And thank you for drawing attention to this important issue. Everyone at home, please visit the following sites for information on how you can help the people of French Guiana. And congratulations to our patrollers. Have a delightful time at the Men’s Gold Cup final. That is all for this week. On behalf of Josie Tejada and all of us here, I’m Edvard van de Kamp, wishing you good tidings and better Schmilblicks. Good night!

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