Thursday, April 05, 2007

Burning Judas in Venezuela: fascism latest tool

There is an interesting popular tradition in Venezuela: "la quema de Judas", the burning of Judas.

On Easter Sunday afternoon town folks gather around a life size rag doll who represents someone who needs to be punished. The rag doll is usually the political figure of the moment that bothers the most the folks around. But sometimes it could be a symbolism for some evil such as high food prices. The press on Easter Monday tends to look at this burnings as some sort of opinion poll from the real rage inside the Venezuelan common man, so to speak. Sitting administrations are usually one of the main targets of such symbolic lynching.

Well, this video below offers us a new variant: state sponsored public lynching. In this video (do not pay attention to the guy talking but do read the banner that runs under) there is a request broadcast to build rag dolls in the semblance of RCTV main spokesman, Marcel Granier (RCTV story here).

The translation of the running banner is (and I can assure you that it is not easy to translate ill written revolutionary speech):
The itinerant Forum of popular participation convokes all the people, organizations, communal councils, he and she citizens in general, to the "quema de Judas". The face of treason! Make your doll, this year Judas is "Marcel Iscariot Granier" This Sunday April 8 let us all gather on our public squares, sports areas and collective spaces for the traditional "quema de Judas". Do come!
That is right, A STATE OWNED TV CHANNEL IS CALLING FOR THE BURNING, THE SYMBOLICAL LYNCHING OF THE OWNER OF A PRIVATE TV STATION. I do not need to offend the reader about the implications of such a state sponsored fascist act. If in Venezuela there is any modicum of decency left anywhere, whoever authorized that banner should be fired on the spot and a public apology should be issued. We can be sure that this will not happen.

However I cannot resist a little comment: even at the level of popular traditions the government is trying to exert control to direct where the once popular and spontaneous tradition should go. Despicable!

PS: added two days later. Bruni as a great recap and explanation in Spanish, here.

-The end-

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