The title picture was published in The Nation newspaper on August 14, 2001. The picture is a sign of cruelty for the sake of amusement. The bull is in his shoulder stand position while the matador and spectators are enjoying the moment in a bullfighting festival held in Beziers, France.
Bullfighting is a sport from the ancient days of Rome. Killing a bull using human skills or strength has always been considered as something epic because the bull himself is a symbol of strength. In this world where we talk about ‘animal rights’, bullfighting, in which a bull has to die miserably, is still a part of the culture of countries like Spain, France, Portugal and some Latin American countries.
The purpose of bullfighting is to kill a wild and fully raging bull in a skilful way. The person who is appointed to kill the bull is called a matador. This blood sport is played in an open arena where thousands of spectators enjoy the brutal killings of bulls at a cultural event, solely for the sake of enjoyment. Because bullfighting is big business in Spain, matadors not only get adulation from viewers sitting inside and outside the arena but they also earn immense awards in the shape of money.
If you watch movies of real bullfighting you can observe that when a bull has lost his stamina due to a long fight and loss of blood, when it’s hard for him to remain conscious, then the matador plays with him, mostly with a smile anticipating his victory. The matador forces the bull to charge and lose every bit of strength left in him. What a pity! Just for the sake of fun we kill animals in such an inhumane way. It amazes me more to know that the act of killing of the bull in proper form is known as the ‘moment of truth’. Wow!
Spain is one of the countries where this game is very popular. It is considered legal in most parts of the country but in some parts, it is not. I was reading a statistic that in the past three centuries almost 500 bullfighters died in this game but I am sure that thousands of innocent bulls are being slaughtered by bullfighters every year for the sake of pleasure and profit. The King of Spain himself expressed his extreme enthusiasm for the sport when he said that the day the EU ban bullfighting is the day Spain leaves the EU. Now here’s hypocrisy. If the same brutality had happened in some third world country and not in Spain, then the EU would have taken no time to impose penalties.
One more thing I want to add is about the gender of matadors. There are female matadors along with male ones. That means that bullfighting involves more than strength; it is a game of skills. Cristina Sanchez of Spain was one of the prominent female matadors.
Here I want to write about another cruel game and that is “Buzkashi”. Buzkashi is also known as ‘Kokpar’, which means ‘goat grabbing’. Kokpar/Buzkashi is the national game of Afghanistan. This game is like Polo. However, instead of sticks the players use their hands, instead of a ball, the carcass of a goat is used and instead of being sensible you need the heart of a barbarian. The history of Buzkashi goes back to 10th – 15th Century when this game was developed by the Turkic-Mongol people. One can understand the origin of this game as Mongols were famous for their barbaric nature.
For a normal person, to respect a dead body is customary, whether it is a human’s or an animal’s body. But it’s sad to think of the body of a goat being badly treated only for the sake of fun. It shows the mentality and cultural norms of the society where such a game is being played.
My View Of The Picture:
In bullfighting, it’s not merely that a bull dies but rather it is all about the extreme torture and humiliations which are given to an animal to bring on its death. And just to show others how skilful and tactical we are, to show others that we can fight a 500 kg bull and bring the fearful animal to his knees, ultimately kill him just for fun.
Dressed in a colourful silk jacket heavily embroidered in gold and with skin tight trousers that can cost thousands of pounds, with pumped chest and arrogance on his face, a matador keeps mortifying a bull until he loses all his stamina and ultimately loses his life. Hurray! We made a fool of the bull because we are blessed with mind. That’s our pride, that’s our courage and that’s our mentality.
Whenever a child teased an animal, a sensible parent used to teach by questioning them “what if you would be teased in the same manner you teased the animal?” I think especially parents of a matador forgot to put this question to their child. So after looking at this picture and watching some more movies on this topic, I came to the same thought. What if a bullfighter was being humiliated and killed in the same way in which matadors kill bulls. Unfortunately, humans had this experience in the era of the Roman emperors, especially in the Coliseum, but those experiences were not for the entertainment of bulls. It was in the style of punishments and fun at that time, similar to what is now being done with the bulls.
So both sides have been humiliated and killed for the sake of fun. Indeed humiliation is painful both for animals or for humans. Whether it was the killing of humans by animals as entertainment or vice versa, both acts are cruel and inhumane. The killing of humans in the way humans are getting killed these days, in masses, is without any doubt a barbaric brutality. However, the killing of animals for the sake of fun is equally a brutality. Bluntly speaking, bullfighting is a brutal sport. It brings to my mind that in Islam killing of any type of animal for the sake of fun is forbidden. Killing is only allowed for meat consumption or if there is imminent danger involved from an animal. The same guidance may possibly exist in other religions too.
Animals are made by God for humans, for our appreciation, to help us in some cases, for consumption but of course never for humiliation and killing merely for the sake of fun.