François Zumbiehl defends bullfighting as intangible cultural heritage within the opening speech of the April Fair | Culture | EUROtoday

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“Today this Resurrection bullfight, the well-named one, opens to hope, because for us it is the resurrection of beauty. We long for the moment when José Antonio Morante de la Puebla opens his cape, and, with his slow flight, opens the curtain of the Fair at the same time. May God give us luck, and may we always have the freedom to enjoy this art, which excites us so much and teaches us so much how to live and die!”

With these phrases, the professor of Classical Languages ​​and French anthropologist François Zumbiehl concluded the proclamation of the April Bullfighting Fair this afternoon, which he spoke on the Maestranza theater in Seville, a number of meters from the bullring the place the season opens this afternoon. .

This famend mental, “a militant fan,” as he defines himself, made a love tune for Seville (“one can perfectly love Spain without liking bulls, but one cannot feel a love without loving in one's flesh.” to Spain, to its tradition as an entire and, after all, to Seville. And the bullfighting competition totally enters into this admiration and love that enriches our lives”), he recalled his childhood years bullfighting through the streets of Paris, (” turning my raincoat right into a cape, in entrance of astonished passers-by), he paid tribute to Curro Romero and Pepe Luis Vázquez, and devoted a big a part of his speech to defending bullfighting as intangible cultural heritage.

“The debate for or against bullfighting is, above all, for or against the humanism of our civilization,” mentioned Zumbiehl.

He added that its defenders, to display that it’s tradition, wave Lorca, Alberti, Picasso and numerous artists and writers who’ve drawn on it as banners, “and they are completely right,” he added, “but the argument is insufficient. , (wars have also inspired art and literature), if it is not elucidated why bullfighting in itself is culture and art.”

He stopped, then, at UNESCO's definition of tradition in relation to intangible traditions: “it is the existential relationship between a heritage (festivals, live shows, rituals…) and a community – in this case that of fans – that identifies with it, without damaging, of course, the principles of the universal declaration of human rights.”

François Zumbiehl
François ZumbiehlToromedia

When requested why the bullfighting competition is an intangible cultural heritage, the crier identified that when one reads the textual content of the 2003 UNESCO Convention on the safety and promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, “one is impressed, because the “Five criteria stated in article 2 to define this heritage are applied to bulls.”

In his opinion, bullfighting is part of the performing arts (“the bullfight is the living spectacle by essence”); they fall inside social makes use of, rituals and festive occasions (“who does not perceive that bullfighting contains an abundant liturgy of gestures inspired by the choreography or the demands of a ritual?”); They feed a really big selection of conventional craft strategies whose permanence is subordinated to the validity of the competition; They are linked to countless traditions and oral expressions; and associated to foundations and makes use of associated to nature and the universe (“the Festival is based on respect for the bull, more specifically its animality, and the bullfighting spectacle is the best opportunity for the preservation of the brave cabin, immediately condemned to the slaughterhouse.” the day the bullfights finish”).

“Unfortunately, some anti-bullfighting fans do not want to know anything about Unesco or intangible heritage,” he continued, “and they use all the resources of wokism and cancellation against the bullfighting festival and its followers; It is the new inquisition of our time.”

“In Seville, the bullfighting public is not a simple spectator; “It is the chorus or symphony that accompanies the bullfighter's singing voice.”

Zumbiehl acknowledged that he does not know if the fans in Spain are a majority or a minority, but he does know that a cultural element, whatever it may be – cubism, bullfighting or zarzuela – cannot be submitted to any vote or referendum, because it would contradict the UNESCO conventions of 2003 and 2005, drafted precisely to protect minority heritage and the diversity of cultural expressions. “What we must ask of politicians is that they guarantee and promote free expression of bullfighting,” he said, “hand it over to its followers and those in charge, and let it run its course; not that they use it, and even less that they want to censor it.”

The town crier dedicated the last part of his speech to Seville and the fans that populate the lines of La Maestranza. “In this city,” he said, “the bullfighting public is never a simple spectator; “It is the chorus or symphony that accompanies the bullfighter's singing voice, and gives its particular stamp to the work that is being performed in the ring.”

“There is no bullfighting without this continuous dialogue between the fans and the one who is acting,” he continued, “and what he needs to have faith in what he does and like in turn, 'feel that they feel him', as Santiago Martín El Viti said. . The bullfighter is an artist, but he is one because the people sitting on the line offer the necessary counterpoint to his art, and he has art in turn, here like nowhere else.

“If Madrid has the rotundity of Beethoven,” he concluded, “Seville has the transparency of Mozart.”

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