Luxembourg foreign affairs minister Jean Asselborn made headlines when he angrily retorted “Merde Alors!” (fucking hell) to a far-right Italian minister’s comments about slavery in September.
Integration through sport asbl Sportunity posted this picture on Facebook. The T-shirts are on sale for €25
Now, the expletive has been adopted by a not-for-profit promoting refugee integration in Luxembourg through sport as a catchphrase for human rights. According to a post on its Facebook page, Sportunity has used it as a logo for a line of T-shirts, proceeds from the sale of which will go to the organisation’s activities.
The catchphrase captured the public’s imagination when Asselborn interrupted Italy’s far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, as he compared African immigrants to slaves during a European conference on security and immigration in Vienna.
According to The Guardian, Salvini said Europe should not uproot African youth to replace Europeans who aren’t having children. He said that in Italy there’s a need to “help our kids to have kids and not to have new slaves replace the children we’re not having.” He further said: “Maybe in Luxembourg there’s a need for new immigration but in Italy there’s a need to help people having children.”
Responding, Asselborn reminded Salvini of the wave of Italian immigrants living in Luxembourg. “They came as migrants and worked in Luxembourg so that you in Italy had money to pay for your children,” he said, adding: “Merde alors!”
Salvini launched a crackdown on illegal immigration when his coalition government came to power in 2018.