Earlier this month, Hamilton stood atop the podium after victory at the Tuscan Grand Prix with the words “ARREST THE COPS WHO KILLED BREONNA TAYLOR” emblazoned on his shirt.
Hamilton is the first and only Black driver to have lined up on the F1 grid and has been the sport’s leading — and oftentimes only — voice as it reckons with its lack of inclusiveness.
Though Hamilton shows no signs of slowing down — he currently leads the driver standings by 55 points in the pursuit of a record-equaling seventh world title and could equal Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 grand prix wins at Sunday’s Russian GP — the Briton is arguably entering the twilight of his career.
Nicolas Hamilton, Lewis’ half-brother and a driver in the British Touring Car Championship, fears for the sport when he eventually retires.
“At the moment, you look at motorsport as an industry and it’s hard to get in touch with,” Nicolas tells CNN Sport. “You don’t know where to go to get an opportunity. You don’t see any Black faces there, or very few, and the one that you do at the moment is Lewis and he’s at the top of it.
“When he’s gone, you know, who have you got to look up to? Who are you going to see? There’s not many people, females as well, females love cars just as much as men do and so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t have equal opportunity in that sense as well.”
F1 says it “fully recognizes” that it “needs to be more inclusive and diverse.”
“While we set out our strategy last year to improve the position of our sport, we need, and want, to do more,” it told CNN in a statement. “That is why we will establish a Task Force to listen and ensure the right initiatives are identified to increase diversity in Formula 1.”
“We want to ensure we give people from all backgrounds the best chances to work in Formula 1 regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or physical abilities.
“We are therefore also taking the initial step of creating a foundation to support key educational and employment opportunities across Formula 1 that will give under-represented talent the chance to work in this incredible sport and build an exciting career.”
Despite F1’s issues around diversity and inclusiveness, Nicolas still believes it has made some strides since Lewis first entered the sport more than a decade ago.
He recalls a test session in Barcelona in 2008 when a group of fans wore blackface, curly wigs and t-shirts with “Hamilton’s’ family” written on them, an incident that prompted the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, to launch the anti-racism campaign EveryRace.
The F1 star was faced with a similar incident at the Spanish Grand Prix the following year and Nicolas says it’s something they have always had to deal with as a family.
“We struggled as a Black family, we had a lot of racist abuse,” Nicolas says. “My parents, you know, did their best to make sure that I didn’t really understand what was going on, so it didn’t mean that I was able to really be outspoken and think: ‘Yeah, I really don’t think I have the opportunities that I believe I should have.’
“I went to an all white school and I was the only Black person there, but at the time, as a kid, I didn’t realize that that was a problem. In motorsport, there are very few people of color and when there are people of color, sometimes you see a lot of racial abuse.
“So at the time, yeah, motorsport wasn’t doing enough … but now it’s starting to, which is a good thing.”
Nicolas says Lewis has taught him a lot about race on the role they can play in helping to create change, something which has inspired him to become more outspoken.
“As the Hamilton family, we’re in a strong position to be able to [help] make change,” he says. “But it doesn’t matter whether we want to make that change, the governing bodies have to listen to us.”
Those changes, Nicolas believes, should not be limited to improving racial diversity.
The 28-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and drives a modified car in the BTCC, would like to see F1 made more accessible to those with disabilities.
“I would love to see people in wheelchairs being able to access the circuit, access race cars,” he says. “You know, whether they are a mechanic or they’re an engineer or an aerodynamicist.
“They might come from a different background, never been able to walk … that’s fine, but they can still continue to follow their dream of being a mechanic, or whatever it is, in an industry that was once difficult [for them] to get into. I would love to see that.”
Those comments from the formerly most powerful man in F1 arguably demonstrate the challenges the sport faces.
“There is clearly a difference in opportunity if you are a person of color in comparison to a White person,” Nicolas says. “I’m not necessarily outspoken, I just try and keep myself to myself, but I know that there are a lot of changes that need to be made.
“Being the only Black person in my school to being a part of the only Black family within motorsport as an industry, you know, you sort of sit back and realize that’s wrong on all levels and that everybody should be able to have equal opportunity, regardless of color, creed or situation of their life and Lewis being able to use his platform to strengthen that for others is a great thing.”
“My dad would always say: ‘Do your talking on the track,'”said Hamilton. “So I suppressed these things and it brought up a lot and I was like I’ve got a niece and nephew and I’m like I want to utilize my time and my platform and my voice to change the future for them and for the other kids around the world.
“I should’ve done more, I thought me just being in the sport would’ve just shifted things but it hasn’t been enough and so I’m making sure that I correct that or at least apply my efforts and time.”
France terror attack reignites a national debate on the right to offend
The recent attacks are reminders of the tensions in France’s secular society, which frequently extols the values of free speech and freedom to practice religion. France is home to 5 million Muslims, many of whom live in poorer areas and are often marginalized in politics and media. The vast majority of those do not support Islamic extremism, but often face unfair stereotypes, experts say.
“I believe there’s been an attempt to Islamize poverty in France by the far-right which had bled into mainstream politics and media, making people see crime in suburbs as a Muslim problem, rather than a socio-economic problem,” says Myriam Francois, a research associate at the Centre of Islamic Studies, SOAS, University of London. ”
Macron may have won comfortably, but over 10 million French voters went with Le Pen, an anti-immigration candidate who claimed that France was “being attacked by radical Islam.” The rising popularity of Le Pen’s party pushed concerns about Islam into the mainstream, with French politicians introducing controversial laws in 2010 which prohibited Muslim women from wearing niqabs and burqas in certain settings.
Both far-right attitudes and France’s long tradition of secularism may play into decisions by public figures in French media and in politics to criticize Islam in sometimes sweeping and derisive ways. The University of Bath’s Aurelien Mondon, who specializes in right-wing populism, describes this as “punching down” on an already struggling minority.
“France has a long history of satirical media, and it traditionally punches up as Charlie Hebdo once did. In recent years, it has started punching down, particularly when it comes to Muslims. When you do that in a country where there is structural Islamophobia, there is a real risk to create more stigma and exclusion,” says Mondon.
Mondon believes that some are misinterpreting France’s historic principle of secularism. “The law of 1905, which separated Church from state, clearly stated you would face penalties if you force someone to follow a religion and equally if you prevent someone from following their religion. In the context of modern France, what we are seeing is the latter with women and girls being forced to remove their hijabs, niqabs and burqas.”
France has a long and cherished tradition of freedom of expression, and there can be no justification for attacking cartoonists or journalists for what they say or draw.
After the Charlie Hebdo attacks, many French people signaled their support for its unconditional exercise of free speech with the slogan #JeSuisCharlie. But hateful speech should not be mistaken as an integral part of French identity, says Francois. “It’s entirely possible to be horrified at the murders that have taken place while also believing what Charlie Hebdo does is offensive,” she says.
“The problem for France is when people start pretending that Charlie Hebdo’s right to offend is a barometer of national identity. It basically prohibits a point of view and implies that if you don’t support Charlie Hebdo, you are not fully French.”
Things get even messier when the state appears to back a particular side. Macron has publicly supported Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish whatever it wants. The images Paty showed were in a class about freedom of expression backed by the French education system. And a Charlie Hebdo front page was projected onto public buildings in Toulouse and Montpellier, which both have substantial Muslim populations, last week.
Leaders in the Muslim world have also taken sides this time. Turkish President Erdogan has accused Macron of discriminating against Muslims, questioned if he needs “some sort of mental treatment” and encouraged a global boycott of French goods. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan also also accused Macron of attacking Islam.
A spokesperson at the Elysée Palace, home of the French presidency, told CNN that Erdogan’s attacks are “dangerous in every way.”
And this is the seemingly impossible problem France faces once again. On one hand, freedom of expression — even the right to offend — is a cornerstone of French society. On the other, when the state champions crude, provocative or hateful expressions of opinion, it risks encouraging bias against the majority of French Muslims, who are not extremists and do not support terrorism.
Mondon says, “If we don’t start discussing the broader societal issues facing France, we allow the narrative of two Frances: Muslims on one side; French people on the other. And that sort of division is not only incorrect but exactly what terrorists want.”
Keir Starmer Says There Is “No Need For Civil War” After Jeremy Corbyn’s Suspension Triggered A Major Party Split
4 min read
Keir Starmer has insisted he doesn’t want to be drawn into a “civil war” following a major backlash to Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the party.
The Labour leader has called on the party to “unite” following warnings from senior party figures that Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension would create “chaos” and cost them the next election.
Mr Corbyn was suspended by Labour General Secretary David Evans after he rejected the findings of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission report into anti-semitism, saying the level of anti-Jewish hatred was “overstated” by his political opponents and the media.
But the decision has triggered a major internal row, with Unite leader Len McCluskey claiming it was an “act of grave injustice”.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr McCluskey, whose union is Labour’s largest donor, said that unless Mr Corbyn was reinstated the party would be “doomed to defeat” at the next election.
“This was a day for our party to move forward as one to defeat the evil of anti-Semitism. However, the decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn has threatened that opportunity,” he said.
“The suspension appears to fly in the face of one of the important recommendations made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – and which Keir himself said he would implement in full and immediately – which is to remove the leader’s office from party investigations.
“But it is also an act of grave injustice which, if not reversed, will create chaos within the party and in doing so compromise Labour’s chances of a general election victory. A split party will be doomed to defeat.”
Mr Corbyn has already vowed to fight his suspension, hitting back at what he claimed was a “political intervention” to have him removed.
Meanwhile, a raft of senior figures on the left of the party also lined up to criticise the decision, with former shadow chancellor John McDonnell saying it was “profoundly wrong”.
He tweeted: “On the day we should all be moving forward & taking all steps to fight anti-semitism, the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is profoundly wrong. In interests of party unity let’s find a way of undoing and resolving this.
“I urge all party members to stay calm as that is the best way to support Jeremy and each other.”
Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott added: “Divided parties don’t win elections. I oppose the decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party and will work for his reinstatement.”
But Sir Keir, who said he was “very disappointed” by Mr Corbyn’s comments, insisted there was “no need for a civil war”.
“What Len McCluskey is concerned about is that there shouldn’t be a split in the Labour Party and he is right about that,” he told Sky News.
“I don’t want a split in the Labour Party. I stood as leader of the Labour Party on the basis that I would unite the party but also that I would tackle anti-semitism.
“I think both of those can be done. There is no need for a civil war in our party, but I am absolutely determined to root out anti-semitism.
“I don’t want the words Labour Party and anti-semitism in the same sentence again. That is about building trust. That is my job, that is the job of the Labour leadership now, I know that now.
“The Jewish communities are looking at me and they are saying very clearly that we will judge you by what you do and not by what you say and they are right about that. I am determined to restore that trust and we can have a united Labour Party around that.”
He added: “I’m not purging anybody or any group within the Labour party.
“What I’m being very clear about is the Labour Party I lead will not tolerate anti-Semitism, full stop.
“Nor will it tolerate those who say anti-Semitism in the Labour Party doesn’t really exist, it’s exaggerated, or it’s just a factional war whipped up in or outside the Labour Party, including by the media.”
Armenians on the front line in Nagorno-Karabakh
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at war for more than a month now – and both sides have suffered heavy losses.
The conflict, which dates back 30 years, is over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, run by ethnic Armenians in what is internationally recognised as Azerbaijan.
As the fighting continues, the Armenian mothers of those sent to the frontline have spoken of how their families have been torn apart – and not for the first time.
Film by Gabriel Chaim and Daisy Walsh
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