This piece has been chosen for my collection Day of Wrath. It has been slightly modified and presently can only be read as a PDF within the book, ready for printing in your home for a comfortable reading.
Annoyed at the infamous TV series Toledo I tried to find some consolation in the epic film El Cid, “a romanticized story of the life of the Christian Castilian knight Don Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called ‘El Cid’, who in the 11th century fought the North African Almoravides and ultimately contributed to the unification of Spain.” But even that movie released in 1961 starts with a politically-correct scene. El Cid, interpreted by Charlton Heston, spares the live of a Moorish king in the hope that the Moor will behave in the future after an anti-Christian raid (and in fact he behaves like a gentleman in the rest of the film). Then in the royal palace El Cid has a private conversation with the woman he loved, acted by Sophia Loren, and makes a speech about his pacifist intentions when he is accused of treason for having spared the life of the Muslim king.
Well, well… What about forgetting old and new movies altogether and focus instead in the Spanish literature of the Middle Ages? What will we find there? Big surprise: the historical “Cid” found some work fighting for the Muslim rulers of Taifa of Zaragoza! This happened after his falling out of favor of Alfonso VI, king of León and Castile, who in 1081 ordered Rodrigo Díaz’s exile.
But what else can the literature of the age say about the ethno-nationalist mores, values, moral grammar and zeitgeist of medieval Spain? Let’s take a look…
This is a photograph of Soledad Anaya Solórzano (1895-1978), who graduated in Spanish letters at Guadalajara in Mexico. From 1920 to 1923 she served as Director of Primary and Higher Education in the Mexican government. She also taught Spanish literature, a field that she mostly loved, and was the Principal of the Secundaria Héroes de la Libertad until her death (the Middle School in Mexico City where I studied). Of course, when Miss Anaya taught me she was in her late seventies and looked a little older than in the photo, but she still was in command of her intellectual capacities. Anaya never married and was the single author of Literatura Española (1941), a textbook of more than thirty editions that we used in her classroom and I will use below and in the coming entries on the subject of Spain. I must say that in the first chapters of Anaya’s textbook, first published during the Second World War, she unabashedly uses the word “arios” (Aryan) when referring to the first conquerors of the Iberian Peninsula.
However, about the first ancient text that Anaya analyzes, the 8th century legend of King Rodrigo and the Loss of Spain (pages 28-31), the jew-wise reader is shocked to see that no accusation is made of Jews inviting any Muslim into the peninsula. The old legend tells instead that Florinda, a Visigothic maid (a purely Aryan young woman) was seduced by King Rodrigo, another Iberian white, in Rodrigo’s castle. As revenge the Count Julián, Florinda’s father, “opened Spain to Muslim expansion” Anaya wrote: an expansion that had been previously contained by the Count himself. The Moors then invaded the peninsula “and easily destroyed the Visigothic power that already was much debilitated.” Anaya adds that “it is not known what happened to King Rodrigo, who caused so much harm” and that the “historical happenings related to this legend occurred in 711 A.D.” Note that King Rodrigo, not Count Julián (or the Moors, or a purported Jew who opened the gates) is blamed. Presumably, the accent of the legend was on the sense of honor among the Iberians of those remote times.
Later, on pages 40-47 of the textbook I used in my middle teens, Anaya mentions the case of the legend of The Seven Infants of Lara, which recounts other Iberian whites using other Moors to take revenge about other cases of Aryan offences! This very famous medieval tale has Gonzalo Gustios, the crying father of the seven decapitated white boys in Córdova, marrying Aixa, the daughter of Almanzor (Almanzor, who had imprisoned Gonzalo Gustios, was one of the most powerful characters in the Caliphate). Mudarra González, the mongrel son of the Christian Gonzalo Gustios and the Muslim Aixa, is the one who is destined to avenge the father. The victim of course is not Almanzor, the Moor that ordered the decapitation of the boys on behalf of the valiant knight Ruy Vásquez. The victim is Ruy Vásquez himself that the mongrel dispatches at the end of the story.
Once more, for the medieval Spaniard race did not seem to be the central issue at all: but a knightly sense of honor, especially during in-group vendettas.
In the next chapter Anaya approaches the ancient texts about El Cid. His life inspired the most important epic poem of Spanish literature: the Cantar de mio Cid. Now that I reread her book after forty years of reading it for the first time I was shocked to see Anaya’s sentence that El Cid was “the terror of Moors and Christians” (my emphasis). When I finished the chapter I was surprised to learn that El Cid’s fame was not entirely based on the feat of expelling some Moors from the peninsula, but mainly on the chivalrous character of this historical (and legendary) figure of the Reconquista.
This, and similar cases I’ll be recounting in these brief series about the classics of Spanish literature, moves me to expand the category of this blog previously known as “White suicide” as the “Aryan problem (white suicide).”
Further to my post “Empty-headed Britons.” Of the television series I have been reviewing, I have found the first season of the Spanish-produced Toledo: Cruce de Destinos, premiered the last year, as the most offensive to date. It starts with a stunning scene in a Spanish garden of a wealthy family of whites in the 13th century. After some idyllic moments the family is attacked by the Moors with women, adolescents and children being assassinated in cold blood. One would expect that when the men return and see their families butchered the plot of the entire series would be revenge and expulsion of the Moors, right?
Nope! The whole series is an attempt to demonize the patriot Spaniards of such century, some of them real historical figures, that tried to expel the enemies by force. No kidding: that is exactly the ethos behind the script.
King Alfonso X of Castile is filmed as talking about “el sueño de la convivencia de las tres culturas” (“the dream of the coexistence between the three cultures”), meaning the Christian, the Muslim and the Jewish cultures as his ultimate dream for Castile. The series are perfectly Manichean: the hawks who crave for a war against the Moors and the Semites are absolutely evil; and the multicultural doves are the goods guys of the films. The first season actually ends with King Alfonso saying that his son Sancho, the hawk, is going into exile for life while the dove, his son Fernando, will inherit the crown to pursue his dream.
The whole series can be sketched thus:
• The Moors are revealed as the cruel invaders that they were in real history
• The Christian patriots who hate them are depicted as intolerant bigots throughout all episodes
• No single piece of mischief—nothing at all!—is ever committed by the Jews, who are always depicted as innocent doves
In a heated discussion in the first episode, the very one that depicts realistically the butchery of a white family, the Queen Violant of Aragon gives a speech to the main hawks of the story, the Archbishop of Toledo and the Count Miranda. The Queen says that Christians are supposed to turn the other cheek. Most surrealist of all is that the central character of these Spanish series, Rodrigo Pérez de Ayala whose eldest son and wife were among the victims of the butchery in first scene, sides the pacifist monarchs against the hawks!
Then Rodrigo returns to his home after not seeing for ten years what was left of his family. Who is the first guest to share Rodrigo’s table? Abraham Rubini, a Jew: his best friend throughout the series in fact. So much so that Rodrigo has a conversation with Abraham almost ignoring his surviving family who had been entranced to see that his father had finally came home after a decade…
The hawks Sancho and the Count Miranda are depicted as almost rapists or as rationalizing or excusing the rape of an innocent commoner girl. And—typical—the casting directors chose a very stunning actress to interpret the role of a Moorish woman: the one who speaks for the Muslim side (in the pic, sat at the front center).
In another scene, Abraham (extreme left in the pic) tells Rodrigo that Rodrigo’s role in the Castilian government must be “to defend the weak” of Toledo against the hawks. And in a discussion between Abraham and the Archbishop (standing at the right with his hands together) inside the royal court, the Christian is depicted as pig-headed and the Jew as wise. The richest Muslim of Toledo is also depicted as wise and concerned about the inexcusable intolerance of the Archbishop. It’s the Archbishop the one who incited a mob of fanatic Christians to attack the candid scholars working in Toledo’s school of translators, a school headed by Abraham. Afterwards there’s a scene where the hawk Sancho cowardly tries to stab the dove Fernando in the back, also in the royal court.
It is unnecessary continuing to recount more outrageous scenes, except adding that the series also contain typical scenes of soft-porn that have become so fashionable in recent TV series.
What alarms me is that Spaniards are largely clueless about what is happening to their media. Yes: it is true that in the blogosphere some Spanish critics have pointed out that the historical King Alfonso, also called The Wise, did not participate in such alliance of civilizations between Christians, Muslims and Jews, and that the series puts Toledo as a mainly Muslim city when really at the time they were a distinct minority in the city, surpassed even by the Jewish quarter. The TV story “invents a conspiracy of radical anti-Muslim Christians against King Alfonso, when in fact there was no such company.” But what made me laugh was a comment in “La serie Toledo” stating (my translation) that “the series could have been called ‘Zapatero in the country of the Alliance of Civilizations’.”
Even these critics don’t see the obvious: that patriot Christians have been painted with black; warrior Muslims with grey, and the Jews of Toledo with white! (In contrast to these fictional white doves, those interested to learn how the Jews behaved in historical Spain are advised to read the pertinent sections on the subject in Kevin MacDonald’s Separation and Its Discontents.)