The ban on bullfighting – isn’t!


IT is in all the papers. It was even announced on the Arab radio/tv Al Jazeera, America’s CNN, Britain’s BBC, and most likely Hopi Indians have sent smoke signals passing on what seems as shocking news. In Barcelona, the Catalan parliament has voted 68-55 (with 9 abstentions) to NOT allow any more corridas de Toros (bullfighting) to be celebrated within the autonomous region of Catalonia beginning January 1, 2012.  Is Spain’s revered TORO dead?

Well, not at all. But it appears to be so in Catalonia.  Remember, this autonomous northern region has hankered after its own independence for decades. It doesn’t want to be considered a part of Spain. Catalonia wants it’s separate, unique, individual identity and, in reality, doesn’t want to be associated with the convivial farmers of Andalusia, nor the frilly dresses of their dancers.


And, most certainly nothing from Madrid. Long before the vote was taken, it was a foregone conclusion that ‘the bull’ was going to be ‘savaged’ by the politicians. Surprisingly, the vote was closer than anyone anticipated for this fringe heretical region.  Even the president of their own parliament voted against the ban. Historically, regarding the bulls, past Spanish kings and a Pontiff’s have ban the toros, but they always came back via popular concern and respect.

If you’ve ever visited this unfriendly section of Spain (often the menus are printed in just English and Catalan—certainly not an open armed Welcome to visiting Spanish). You will quickly learn therein lies little glee nor passing smiles from the indigenous souls residing there. The day’s weighted activities are far too sobering an experience to bear and uphold.

Alfonso Guerra, former vice premier, has suggested already that he believes the vote unconstitutional and should be challenged. Josep Pons, one of Spain’s great musicians, summarized the intellectual analysis best when he stated that ‘prohibiting’ is not good and worse yet is the politicization that this issue has caused. Catalonia created not just a snub toward the rest of Spain, but – did it indignantly.

Not to be outdone, the head of Spain’s conservative PP party,  Mariano Rajoy, has declared “war” against the Catalans for attempting to convert “our fiesta national” into a “casus belli national”. It is the Catalans against the rest of Spain.

Unfortunately, I can understand others that cannot comprehend this most esoteric, cultural, mystical, and ancient traditional sacrificial celebration.

I know of plenty of others that just don’t enjoy or understand “flamenco” either, and I suppose that too will be a debate one day when enough foreigners vote in Spain. But, it doesn’t make it right—just unpopular.

I wish that those that so vehemently oppose Los Toros would quit for a moment in thinking and viewing the Spanish Toro bravo as a simple cartoon character that needs to be saved and consider in their revelries some of the deep rooted cultural mysticism in this most unusual of sacrificial rituals certainly not easily understood by the general public and especially visitors.

You never see nor hear of those ardent protestors at the cities abattoirs’ where thousands of beef cattle are zapped daily in a most degradable fashion. Nor protesting about brutal female circumcision which in some parts is still unmercilessly continued. Nor bothering to distribute hand out sheets announcing to neighbours where the newly arrived registered paedophiles live. Or using positive energies in correcting societies problems like setting up shelters for battered wives, or newly arrived immigrants.

A plethora of real life problems exist and need to be resolved, but you’ve got to have enough common sense to differentiate between authentic human suffering and negligence and someone else’s deep rooted culture.

By Ric Polansky


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