Bullfighter's homage and regret

Bullfighter's homage and regret
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To ask what the definitive closing of arenas in Catalonia means for a master bullfighter, euronews spoke to Juan Mora in Madrid.

Isidro Murga, euronews: “Maestro, what do you feel before your last bullfight at the Monumental in Barcelona, knowing the place is taking its last bow before the public. What hurts more: being gored by the horns or closing the bull rings?”

Juan Mora, bullfighter: “I have mixed feelings. I am shocked to the bone because this is an attack against the expression of a culture. It’s an attack against many people’s freedom, and above all an attack against the bull itself.”

euronews: “La Monumental in Barcelona was inaugurated in 1914. It is a protected architectural monument of the city. What does closing such an emblematic place represent for the bullfighting world?”

Mora: “It’s a waste, a great sadness, a drama. It’s a great problem to resolve — perhaps not terrible, not super-human. These things have happened before in the history of tauromachy. There were kings who forbade it in their own day, didn’t allow the practice to be celebrated in some parts of the Iberian peninsula. We still have hope.”

euronews: “Banning bull fights in Catalonia is in contrast with their being added to the body of cultural heritage in France this year. Will France become a refuge for Spanish ‘aficionados’ and ‘toreros’?”

Mora: “They organise it very well in France, it seems, and they have a sort of zest for violence, because the people who are against the bullfighting tradition show it in a very violent way. But the reasonable thing would be to try to reach a consensus, to measure what we say and to use the right words. For instance, in Nimes in France, at last September’s fair they attacked a statue which is in front of the main entrance of the bull ring. It’s a statue of a bullfighter who was killed by a bull.”

euronews: T“here are fewer and fewer people in Spain who go to the bull ring, and a fair part of public opinion, especially outside Spain, considers the tradition archaic and cruel. Why is it so important to kill the bull in the ring? Shouldn’t it be allowed to live, so that the fight goes on?”

Mora: “There is a lot of ignorance about that. One needs to be informed. You have to know that, if it were not for the act of bullfighting the bull would disappear. The bull is a very complicated animal to walk around with in the fields. It needs to be treated in a very particular way. If it weren’t for bullfighting the bull wouldn’t be born.”

euronews: “Indeed, defenders of bullfighting consider it an art and they argue that if it is banned the fighting bull will disappear. What is special about this breed?”

Mora: “Well, it has courage in its blood. When it is in action there comes a time when it becomes a very powerful animal. But it is also noble, and when one manages to dominate it and interact with it — it may seem strange — but the bull and the bullfighter, when they get to that point they are one. This has been expressed in paintings and sculpture, as art.”

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