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The International Writers Magazine
:Bullfighting is wrong

James Ryder

Fading images from that night in Seville. Hazy memories now. My partner on this great adventure suggested that witnessing a bullfight would be a unique way to spend an evening. Not entirely understanding the implications of this plan I agreed.

It was only after we had brought our tickets that we realised exactly what we were letting ourselves in for. We were fortunate enough to meet a couple of American girls in our hostel who enlightened us to exactly what does happen during this great Spanish tradition. The girls had witnessed an amateur night at the bullring, which in itself sounds like a pretty entertaining prospect. I had visions in my mind of some young Spanish boy being chased round the ring but a crazed bull. Now that’s entertainment.
But yes the girls took some time out of there busy tourist schedule to run us through step by step exactly what the bull is subjected to. Suddenly it all seemed a little less attractive.

We went along all the same but decided if we were indeed to witness these atrocities then it would be better not to do it sober. Armed with bottles of cheap vodka and plastic cups we searched for our seats in the great bullring. By the time things kicked off the seats were only half full, a sign maybe of a wavering Spanish interest in this barbaric tradition.

A small band of brass musicians perk up and the show begins. To the sound of trumpets the mighty bull is released into the ring. The first thing you notice apart from the sheer size of the animal is the fact that it is already bleeding. Some kind of highly decorated spear hangs from its neck.

Matadors appear from the edge and proceed to tease the bull. And yet run and hide behind solid barriers as soon as things get at all interesting. Next armoured horses are rode into the ring. The bull, perhaps drawn by the smell of the animals then attempts to attack the horses while their riders dig lances into it back. More and more it dawns on me that it isn’t gonna be a very fair fight at all.

Only once the bull is further injured, more colourful daggers this time. Then the main matador enters the ring. Armed with the famous red flag and a shiny silver sword. The matador dodges and weaves a strange dance with the bull. Causing more blood to fall down it side. What followed was quite possibly the most disturbing thing I have seen in the period of my short life. With expert precision the silver sword in dug deep into the bull, just behind the head. The ball staggers around, angry but its strength and life failing. Emotion floods over me as I witness the final minutes of the life of this great beast. My eyes well with tears of sadness and also tears of anger. Anger and hatred for the people and tradition that takes entertainment from this. In a final act of intimidation the bull is tormented by the lesser matadors until it can stand no longer and falls to its knees and then right down into the dust.

The trumpet men strike up again. A celebration for the great matador but I feel no love towards him. The crowd cheers but all I want to do is scream and shout of the injustice of it all. Horses appear and the now lifeless bull is dragged from the arena only to be replaced by another for another instalment of this sickening spectacle. I wonder how many more bulls they will go through on this warm September night but don’t stay long enough to ever find out.

© James Ryder December 2004

James is a Creative Arts student at Portsmouth University

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