The Bling Buoy

A buoyant blog to cling to as you navigate the waters of life!

Matador

Written By: Misha - Aug• 07•12

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… which is a blessing in this case as this one left me speechless.

It is purportedly the image of Columbian Torero Alvaro Munera, who, in the middle of a bullfight, became suddenly and completely overwhelmed by the injustice and cruelty of his brutal actions in the bullfighting arena and from that moment, became a fervent anti-bullfighting campaigner.  The truth is that his epiphany came much later… and there is some debate as to whether or not it is Munera or another torero who features in the image.

Yet despite the disputes over the details, the power of the image remains.  Innately gentle beasts, the bulls used in bullfighting are conditioned, through extremely barbaric means, to appear aggressive and fierce.   This image shows one particular bull, tortured to the brink of death, who appears to approach his retreating persecutor with compassion, concern and humanity.  Virtues the matador has determinedly buried in order to perform his sickening crowd-pleasing duties.  Qualities that appear to have been unearthed by the very creature he can least afford to attach them to.  At least according to the ancient bullfighting mantra.

I have admitted on this blog before that I avoid conflict.  Detest it.  And yet sometimes it is unavoidable.  Sometimes we are provoked to the brink and we have no choice but to fight back.  Just like Munero’s bull.  And that’s why this image stopped me in my tracks.  Because it tells a story of a different kind strategic warfare.   The art of the peaceful warrior.

It’s not that the bull didn’t have an appreciation of the injustice and savagery metered out against him.  It’s not that he didn’t want it to stop with every ounce of his being.  It’s not that he was unable to match the brute determination of the matador.  It’s not even that he didn’t fight back.   Because he did fight back.

He just chose a different set of weapons.

And while the bull lost his life soon after this photograph was taken, in my mind he still won the battle.

“For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”  Sun Tzu

And that’s exactly what Munero’s bull did.  He subdued the enemy without fighting fire with fire.  Instead, drawing on a deep well of forgiveness, kindness and compassion to smother the flames of violence.  The bull was able to lead by example, not brute force.  And in doing so, was able to build his opponent “a golden bridge to retreat across” – Sun Tzu.

One photograph.

One courageous beast.

Grabbing humanity by the horns.

Inspiring one man to incite a stampede of support for animal rights.

And urging us all to cut the bull and find better ways to resolve conflict.

You can find out more about the campaign to end bullfighting by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) here.

On a lighter note, I am embroiled in a friendly battle of my own with a talented blogger named Sheri from Mommy Adventures, who is a co-finalist in the Groupon “Raider’s of the lost voucher” competition.  If you have the time to vote, I would be very grateful if you would click on the competition link here and write “I vote for Misha” in the comments. :)

Have you ever seen a photo/image that has completely changed the way you think about certain things?