The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Dear All on List, As if Spanish troops in Iraq weren't bad enough, they're wearing these 'Christian' badges, which, possibly, represent a ?new Fascistic world order. Are such concerns unduly exaggerated, or are we all really in danger of quietly colluding with creeping Fascism, by whatever name? It would be good to have some related exchanges, maybe even consider campaigning against such provocative activities, by the Spanish authorities. Could any of our Roman Catholic friends, and others, help inform us, please? Regards, Bert Gedin. >From: "AS-ILAS" <AS-ILAS@gmx.de> >To: "casi" <firstname.lastname@example.org> >Subject: [casi] Spanish troops in Iraq to wear Christian badge >Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 08:53:49 +0200 > >http://www.wsws.org/articles/2003/aug2003/spai-a12.shtml > > >By Vicky Short >12 August 2003 > >On first hearing that the new contingent of Spanish troops being sent to >Iraq are wearing the Cruz de Santiago de Compostela (Cross of St. James of >Compostela) on their arm badge, one could be forgiven for thinking the >authorities in Spain had lost their minds. On reflection, however, and in >the context of the prevailing world political atmosphere, more sinister >conclusions can be drawn from this action. > >The triangular top and arrow-like arms of the cross have become a symbol of >the liquidation of the Muslims who were finally driven out of Spain after >800 years of fighting by the reconquest in 1492. This was also the start of >the period of colonialist expansion by Spain’s Catholic monarchy. > >During the battle of Clavijo, the legend goes, the Apostle St. James >appeared in the sky on a white horse brandishing a sword with which he >killed every Muslim in his path. St. James became the symbol of the fight >for the reconquest of Spain and has since been known as “Santiago >Matamoros” >(St. James the Moor killer). Described in the Scripture as one of the “sons >of thunder,” the Apostle is credited with converting the Iberian peninsula >to Christianity. > >The soldiers are the first batch of 1,300 combat troops that the Spanish >government is sending to Iraq to join the international occupation force >patrolling the Al Qadisija and An Najaf areas, whose population is >overwhelmingly Shiite. They are joining a force of 900 Spanish soldiers >already in Iraq and which, due to anti-war feeling in Spain, were >supposedly >sent strictly for humanitarian purposes. The 2,000-strong brigade of which >they will form part, made up of Spanish and Latin American soldiers, will >wear the cross on the arm of their uniforms. > >Najaf is considered one of the holiest cities in Iraq and a pilgrimage >centre for the world’s Shiite faithful. Two weeks ago, 10,000 Shiites >demonstrated against the American occupation. Additionally, Najaf is the >tomb of the Imam Ali, cousin and son-in-law of the prophet Mahomet. The >city >contains a world-renowned school for the understanding of the Koran and >houses the biggest cemetery of Muslims in the Near East. > >The new army badge was specially designed for the Iraq mission by the >Ministry of Defence. It consists of two Hercules columns capped with the >existing and imperial crowns. A ribbon is threaded round the columns >bearing >the unit’s name, “Plus Ultra”, which also has connections with the imperial >reign. The badge is completed with the initials IF (Iraqi Freedom)—the >Pentagon’s name for the Iraqi invasion—engraved in gold at the top. The >Ministry has named the new mission IF (India Foxtrot). The red Cross of St. >James of Compostela looms large in the middle of the badge, between the two >columns. > >A spokesman from the military explained that the cross had long featured >somewhere on the uniforms of the Spanish Army, and that the Hercules >columns >are a symbol to mark the fact that the brigade will contain soldiers from >the other side of the Atlantic. > >General Manuel Angel Cumbreño said that he hoped the Spanish soldiers sent >to Iraq “are not seen as an army of occupation, because we are going to >help >and support the Iraqis in everything we can.” > >The minister of defence, Federico Trillo-Figueroa, also stated in Congress >that “the religious fervour of the Shiites has found a freedom of >expression >that it did not have before [the war] and that the attitude of our Armed >Forces, respectful, sensitive to their beliefs and preoccupations, and >without doubt, tolerant, will facilitate the contact with the population.” > >The incorporation of the cross, however, gives the lie to such claims. > >The centre-right newspaper El Mundo attacked the new design, arguing that >careful consideration must be given to the risks of sending a Spanish force >to the country, yet the latest deployment had been taken on the sole say-so >of the ruling Popular Party (PP) government. > >The newspaper’s editorial declared: “To put the Cross of St. James of >Compostela on the uniforms of Spanish soldiers demonstrates an absolute >ignorance of the psychology of the society in which they will have to carry >out their mission.” And it added, “It would be difficult to come up with >any >symbol more offensive to the Shiite population than this cross.” > >The Cross of St. James of Compostela was not included in the first design >of >the badge originally presented to the ministry by the defence secretary, >Fernando Diez Moreno. > >It is not clear who in the ministry took the decision to include the cross >in the badge. However, it is well known that right-wing extremists and >fascist forces within the establishment feel emboldened by President George >W. Bush’s global “war on terror” and the now constant appeals to >patriotism. > >Trillo-Figueroa is said to be a supernumerary member of the Prelature of >the >Holy Cross and Opus Dei—commonly known as “Opus Dei” (Latin for “Work of > God”). Founded in 1928, Opus Dei is an ultra-right-wing movement that >recruited many of its members from Spain’s wealthy and powerful families. >It >flourished under General Franco’s rule and provided ministers to his >government. Its clannishness and secrecy has won it the name of “Holy > Mafia.” > >Its founder Jose Maria Escriva de Balaguer died in 1975, was beatified by >the Pope in 1992 and was controversially made a saint in 2002, in >record-breaking time. > >Jesus Ynfante, author of the critical Founding Saint of Opus Dei, says that >Escriva was an unashamed fascist. “He had Madrid under his control, >starting >with the dictator. Under Franco the clerical fascism of Opus Dei won out >over the true fascism of the Falange [political party],” he wrote. Escriva >has also been quoted as saying that Hitler would save Christianity from >Communism. > >The group’s annual income has been estimated at around £120 million—enough >to fund hundreds of schools and universities and help make it one of the >fastest growing movements within the Catholic church. It is present in 80 >countries. The group is estimated to have up to 77,000 members. > >El Mundo recently named a raft of senior officials in the defence, justice >and interior ministries who belong to the order, which encourages its >followers to seek positions of power. “Defence, law and order and the >judiciary are in the hands of Opus,” said Juan Carlos Rodriguez, the >socialist president of Extremadura region’s government. > >With the insertion of the cross onto its soldiers’ uniforms, the government >is making clear that the invasion and occupation of Iraq are but the first >step towards a renewed campaign of colonial conquest by the advanced >capitalist countries. > > > > >_______________________________________________ >Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. >To unsubscribe, visit >http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss >To contact the list manager, email email@example.com >All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk _________________________________________________________________ Tired of 56k? Get a FREE BT Broadband connection http://www.msn.co.uk/specials/btbroadband _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk