Ho Chi Minh

About Siki

First Published: La Paria, December 1, 1922
Source: Selected Works of Ho Chi Minh Vol. 1
Publisher: Foreign Languages Publishing House
Transcription/Markup: Roland Ferguson and Christian Liebl
Online Version: Ho Chi Minh Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2003

Ever since colonialism has existed, the Whites have been paid to bash in the faces of the Blacks. For once, a Black has been paid to do the same thing to a White. Being an opponent of all acts of violence, we disapprove of either procedure.

With a punch - if not scientifically aimed, at least amazingly well placed - Siki definitely removed Carpentier from his pedestal to climb on to it himself.

The boxing championship has changed hands, but national sporting glory has not suffered, because Siki, a child of Senegal, is in consequence a son of France, and hence a Frenchman.

In spite of this, it so happens that every time Carpentier wins, it is naturally due to his skill and science. But every time he is beaten, it is always because of the brute strength of a Dempsey, or the dirty legwork of a Siki. This is the reason why at the Buffalo match they wished to say - they had even made the statement - that Siki, though having won the match, lost it “just the same”. But the public, the good public, did not wish to see it in that light. And popular justice was triumphant: Siki was proclaimed champion of the world and of France.

After being knocked out by a Black, Carpentier calmly went to visit Russia, the land of the Reds. We congratulate Siki on his victory. We also congratulate Carpentier on his open-mindedness.

Fortune smiles only upon the rich, says the S. D. N. (read sagesse des nations and not Societe des Nations). Rene Maran and Siki have caused much black ink to flow. Siki, furthermore, caused red blood to flow. People are behaving as if both our African brothers need as much ink again. Following Maran’s ironical pen, Siki’s gloves have stirred everything, including even the political sphere. And M. Luquet, Councillor of the Seine Department, immediately tabled a motion attempting to ban boxing matches. M. Luquet must allow us to tell him respectfully that what he did was an anti-patriotic act. Here is our explanation: from the point of view of international policy, a feather-weight champion makes as much propaganda for our moral influence abroad as an immortal, a glorious man, a song-writer or ten army corps (see the newspapers). >From the national viewpoint, boxers are indispensable as an example of and stimulation to the physical excellence of the young generation. From the colonial viewpoint, a Carpentier - Siki match is worth more than one hundred gubernatorial speeches to prove to our subjects and proteges that we want to apply to the letter the principle of equality between races. Will this threefold advantage be sacrificed to a vague humanitarianism? No! Isn’t that so M. Sarraut?


We learn from the newspapers that Siki has just been suspended for nine months from all boxing rings in France. Reason: For having railed at M. Cuny.

What happened? Before, Siki was glorified because he made Carpentier’s nose swell; today, he has not touched a hair of M. Cuny’s head and yet he is disgraced. We are surely not going to be made to believe that M. Cuny’s face is any more fragile or any more peculiar than Carpentier’s and that... but no. That is no way to understand it at all. We are rather inclined to think this way: Siki, a Black, will never be forgiven for having defeated Carpentier, a White, and if Carpentier bears no grudge, the chauvinism of others does. And this charge is only a pretext... motivated by...

We learn from the same newspapers that the British Home Ministry has banned the expected match between Joe Beckett and Siki in London. This does not surprise us. As His British Excellency could digest neither Kemal’s croissant nor Gandhi’s chocolate, he wants to have Battling Siki swallow his purge even though the latter is a Frenchman. Understand?