The fact that world leaders have been urging people to give in to the demands of violent protestors probably hasn’t helped to shore up people’s confidence when satirizing Islam. Note that Fallas mocks other religious and authority figures with abandon, but this year mum’s the word on Islam and anything that might be related.
In the Fallas festival, giant sculptures of the high and mighty are placed in the streets for the public to mock before being destroyed in an orgy of gunpowder and flames. It has survived attacks by the Roman Catholic church, various puritanical rulers and the Franco dictatorship.
This year’s figures will include President George W Bush, several of the Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and the Prince of Wales dancing, in Highland dress, with the Duchess of Cornwall. But self-censorship has seen Muslim and Arab figures modified to avoid offence.
The Spanish appear to be exercising particular restraint, given their history with the Moors and traditions
involving mock battles between “Moors and Christians”, in an ancient recreation of the Catholic reconquest of Spain from Arab rule.
What’s worse — the protests and threats of voilence, or the way that Western leadership has been bending over for it?