Alyssa Writes

Martinique, and Canada’s Humiliation

Mangrove, Presqu’ile de la Caravelle – Martinique

Canada humiliated by tiny Martinique

– CBC Headline

Psh, mean!

Beausoleil Island – Canada

I was clearly highly entertained – and feeling a little smug – in light of this Twittering. When I first saw Martinique was trending, I seriously thought Mont Pelée had just erupted or something. Turns out Martinique, in the last ten seconds of a football match at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, scored a goal to beat Canada.

This is big news? Then I saw the CBC headline. And the tweets. Oh, the tweets. They ranged from:

Factually incorrect…

@jellis9: At first I thought Martinique was some player on another team- then I realized it was its own country. #whoknew

Well-researched…

@GabeSenecal: Canada is 9000 times the area of Martinique, and has 82 times the population, but we still lost to them in men’s soccer #LetsStickToHockey

Comedic…

@innaheight: On me dit que la Martinique vient officiellement de lancer un défi au Canada en hockey sur glace. [I just heard that Martinique has just officially challenged Canada in ice hockey.]

…to Incredulous

@rmarcham: Home from watching the end of the Timbers streak. Getting caught up now…Martinique pulled it off? They beat Canada? Whoa…

I laughed and then called my partner who is in Martinique without internet so he could laugh too.

He did laugh, but then he asked “Why is this such a surprise?”

Should Canada really be humiliated by a loss to a team from an island where a lot of youth (like my students) aspire to be professional soccer players and whose squad has players from the Premier League, La Liga, and Ligue 1? Or should Canada actually be humiliated by the fact that despite our free education system, the most common tweet was something along the lines of “What’s a Martinique?”

I won’t be smug here – Martinique wasn’t on my radar prior to me living there for over a year. To be honest, I didn’t know anything about the island until my last year of university.

People who have studied post-colonial literature may have talked about Frantz Fanon; geography students may have read about Mount Pelée; and visitors to other islands may have heard of this French island sandwiched between honeymooner’s paradise (St. Lucia) and the set of Pirates of the Caribbean (Dominica).

But what this whole Twitter chatter illustrates is we are seriously underestimating Martinique. Not just in football, but in terms of its rich history, its natural sources, postcard-worthy beaches and rivers and its legacy of scholarship.

Everyone knows I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Martinique but it’s not a reflection of the experiences this island has to offer. I could never deny that Martinique is a place worth visiting and gaining an understanding of.

So do that. And keep an eye on this tiny French island – this was just the beginning.