There’s a story circulating on the internet today that says a group on anti-Muslim protesters in Spain were able to stop the construction of a mosque in their town by burying a pig on the proposed site. Islamic law, so the story goes, forbids the building of a mosque on land soiled by a pig, and so the plans were scrapped.
This story is getting a lot of play on right-wing blogs and I expect to see it email forwards form certain relatives any minute now. It seems that some people in this country are seriously thinking about this as a legitimate recourse for stopping the construction of the Park51 Muslim cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero in New York City. Before you right-wing nuts start running out to the butcher shop, let’s stop and really think about this thing for a second.
1) This story SCREAMS “Internet Bullshit”. There is a major lack of specifics (the name of the town is never given) and searches for this story turn up only right-wing nut blogs circulating the story. There are no primary sources, not historical reports, no AP story, nothing form the BBC, CNN, Fox News, nothing. These are usually dead giveaways that something circulating on the internet is a bunch of shit. It’s very possible that you’re getting duped here.
2) HOWEVER, I will grant you that - like all good Internet Bullshit - this story has a nugget of believability at its core that makes it hard to dismiss outright. That nugget of truth is that Spain is full of racist assholes.
I can almost believe that this story happened because it’s about a bunch of racist assholes in Spain doing some racist asshole things and I’ve heard (though actual news outlets) about a lot of other racist asshole shit that Spain has done recently. Remember this?
That’s the Spanish Olympic Basketball team, just prior to the Beijing Olympics, making Asian “slant eye” faces. Pretty offensive, huh? Here’s the craziest part: This wasn’t some goof-around photo that the team took as a joke that then got leaked. This photo was taken for an ad. A Spanish courier company took this picture ON PURPOSE and used it in a full page ad in the Spanish daily sports paper Marca. This was a Spanish company, sponsoring Spanish athletes, all of them representatives of their country on a world-wide stage, and this is what they thought was a good idea. Nobody saw anything wrong with this. (http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/beijing/basketball/news?slug=ro-spain081308). Why? Because Spain is full of racist assholes. BTW, similar pictures were also taken with the Spanish Women’s Olympic Basketball Team
And the Spanish Women’s Tennis Federation
The caption under the photo reads “We are prepared for China.” There have been other sports-related racism incidents in Spain including black soccer players being taunted with “monkey chants” and racing fans attending events in blackface to mock a black driver. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/olympics/2540221/Spanish-basketball-red-faced-over-slit-eyed-Olympic-photo.html). Now, I know that America still has its issues with race, but I’d like to think that even at, say, a NASCAR event (hardly a progressive political environment), if a fan showed up in blackface to mock a black driver, at some point, he he would be told to knock it the fuck off.
Also, up until about a month ago, this warning re Spain was on the travel advisory section of The U.S. State Department’s website:
“We have received isolated reports that racial prejudice may have contributed to the arrest or detention of some African-Americans travelling in Spain. Recently, two African-American US government employees were questioned by Police in Barcelona for no apparent reason. One was detained and suffered physical injuries in the process.”
The warning was removed from the website just before Michelle and Sasha Obama arrived in Spain for a vacation. The State Department claims that the notice was overdue for removal, others say it was removed for diplomatic reasons. In any case, it was there. The State Department saw enough legitimacy in the claims to post it. The racism of Spanish cops was (is?) so bad that the government of the United States felt it necessary to warn its citizens about it. Think about that for a second. Think about all of the cities in this country that have notoriously racist police forces; LA, NYC, Chicago, Boston, basically all of them, yet, to my knowledge, there are no travel advisories against any of those cities due to racist cops. How bad does it have to get before the government makes a note on its website?
3) Even if the mosque/pig story is fake, the actions taken by the fictional Spaniards in the story are the actions of racist assholes. Ergo, if you - as an American reading the mosque/pig story - actually think that it’s a good idea, if you actually think it’s a clever, reasonable strategy for stopping the construction of Park51 in lower Manhattan, YOU are a racist asshole. Copying the actions of racist assholes makes you a racist asshole. That’s how this works. Do not labor under any illusion that you are a patriot or a Christian solider or that you’re somehow protecting America from some kind of menace. You are a racist, xenophobic, cowardly piece of shit asshole and that’s all you are.
I don’t care if you’re opposed to the building of Park51. I don’t agree with you, but that’s your opinion, and I can see where you’re coming from, but let’s try to have an honest discussion and not be racist assholes about it. Let’s leave that to the professionals in Spain.