Precinct 333

Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Challenge of National Myths, Part II

Spain, as most educated folks know, spent some eight centuries occupied (in whole or in part) by the Moors, Muslim invaders from North Africa. Since 844, the patron saint of Spain has been St. James the Moor Slayer (not to be confused with Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who is said to have appeared during a battle to spur n the Spanish troops. Many Spanish churches have statues of St. James, surrounded by dead Muslims to commeorate the event -- not exactly the most ecumenical move.

Terrorist fears following the 3/11 bombing in Madrid led church officials at the the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela to decide to remove the statue from the premises. Public outrage has caused the decision to be reversed. Apparently the Spanish are not prepared to surrender their faith as quickly as they surrendered their governemnt following the attacks.


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