In Nîmes, the launch of a large operation for the liberation of bulls organised by the French groups One Voice and CRAC Europe will take the form of sitting in a silent circle.
Sitting Bull (1831-1890) was the chief of the Lakotas Sioux and one of the principal Native American opponents of the army of the colonists. One Voice and CRAC Europe have given his name to an international operation which aims to reconcile Nîmes with the bulls under the slogan:
The bulls will no longer go to the ring!
Participants, dressed all in blue, will sit in a silent circle on the square of the Maison-Carrée in Nîmes on 17th. July at 5.30 p.m. (4.30 pm GMT)
The city of Nîmes is famous for its feria – fair- in which bullfighting plays an important part. One Voice and CRAC Europe propose a reconciliation with the bull by putting an end to the violence which every year invades their streets and bullrings. It is time for this magnificent city to go back to her roots. Built round the spring of a Celtic sanctuary – the nemeton from which she takes her name – she can choose to celebrate water, symbol of life and a threatened treasure of the planet.
The circle of silence is organised to honour the bulls sacrificed in the corrida and blue clothing symbolises peace world wide. The Sitting Bull manifesto will be distributed by supporting international organisations over the course of a year.
In July 2011, a big festive event will be organised, preceded by a silent circle, to which all participating anti-corrida associations, French or international, are invited.
Muriel Arnal, president of One Voice, says:
“The 21st. century should mark the reconciliation of man and the natural world. By making peace with the bulls, Nîmes has the power to reject a large part of the suffering and commonplace violence which cloud our existence. The feria must celebrate life … the city and its inhabitants have everything to gain. »
In the same spirit, Jean-Pierre Garrigues, vice-president of CRAC Europe for the protection of children states:
« It is no coincidence that Jacques Derrida, a philosopher who died too soon, Albert Jacquard, geneticist and humanist, and Patrick Pelloux, emergency physician, are the three honorary presidents of our association. For the latter, there is no “small barbarity » and this gratuitous violence, these « grave acts de cruelty » (article 521.1 of the penal code) must cease as soon as possible. »
Sites in French: www.anticorrida.com
QCA note: Jean-Pierre will inform the participants in Nimes that Quaker Concern for Animals is lending moral support, as usual, to their protest. It is particularly appropriate that Friends should be present in spirit at a silent vigil. Perhaps we might remember this at 4.30 on July 17 and hold them all – and the bulls – in the Light.
Jean-Pierre Garrigues writes:
On Saturday, 17 July, One Voice and CRAC Europe, together with 24 associations representing 9 countries of Europe and Latin America, organised a silent circle in Nîmes against bullfighting and to launch the manifesto “for a Nîmes reconciled with the bull”.
80 people took part, with the support of 4 MPs : Jean-Marc Roubaud (Gard), Gérard Bapt (Haute-Garonne), Muriel Marland-Militello (Alpes-Maritimes) et Geneviève Gaillard (Deux-Sèvres). The last two have just tabled a new bill (n° 2735 –July 13 2010) for the abolition of the corrida in France, already co-signed by 57 MPs.
The department of Gard had authorised our silent demonstration. However, on 30 June, the mayor of the city of Nîmes issued the following:
« As Nîmes is a city deeply involved in the corrida, I have to refuse your request. No demonstration, even a silent static one, will be permitted on the Maison Carrée square. »
This attempt at intimidation has no legal force. Furthermore, no local restriction was issued and no police officer turned up to stop us.
The poster says:
The silence of respect – may the sounds of the bullring fall silent
Radio France Bleu Gard Lozère, widely listened to in Nîmes and surrounding areas, broadcast an honest report on our action.
Silent circles will appear all over France in the coming months. The next will be in Montpellier on July 24th.