Catalonia’s decision on Wednesday to ban bullfighting in 2012 is akin to Quebec banning hockey or California banning fireworks on the Fourth of July, wrote the National Post July 30:
On the surface, the ban was about animal welfare. But more than anything, it was about Catalonia asserting its identity as distinct from greater Spain.
“A Catalan nationalist movement emerged in the 1850s,” says Adrian Shubert, a historian in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. “The Catalans saw themselves as more sophisticated, more European, [and] more advanced economically than the rest of the country.”
And the future, to the Catalans, was to be European, and being European meant no more bullfights. Bullfighting was a symbol of Spanish backwardness, of barbarity, a tradition unbecoming a progressive people…. Goya celebrated it in paintings. Federico Lorca, the poet, embraced it with verse. Lorca was executed during the Spanish Civil War, a bloody conflict that ended with the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
“Franco detested the Catalans,” Shubert says. “He saw them as separatists and a threat to the unity of the Fatherland.”
Under Franco, the Catalan language was banned in public, and banished from media. Nationalism went underground and wouldn't emerge again until after the general's death in 1975.
Almost four decades later, a new civil war is being waged in Spain, and the first casualty is bullfighting. The debate that ended the blood sport played out in Catalonia's legislature for several months. Biologists, veterinarians, philosophers, writers — bullfighters — all were invited to address the politicians before the crucial ballot was cast. And when the votes were tallied, bullfighting, and the Spain behind it, was defeated 68-55.
The complete article is available on the Post's Web site.
Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.