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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bullfighting and Trancaucasus Stir Passions

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In response to "Luzhkov Puts Stop To Planned Bullfights," an article on Aug. 28.

Before I start, let me just say that I am Portuguese, and really appreciated the article about the "bullfight" in Moscow.

I use inverted commas as I don't believe this is a good translation. Contrary to what the article suggests, there are very big differences between the Spanish and Portuguese "tourada." The most significant is the absence of a "matador" ? that is the person that kills the bull ? and consequently the bull is not killed. The "entertainment" aspect of the "show" consists in the ability and art of the horserider to master the horse and avoid the bull's attacks.

In Portugal, part of the "tourada" consists of the "forcados," a group of men who face the bull with their bare hands and try to grab him.

To be honest, I never fully understood the point of these "exhibitions." I am ? as the majority of Portuguese people ? not in favor of this tradition. I do respect the bravery of the "forcados," who face an enraged bull ? which is sometimes as heavy as 600 kilograms ? charging toward them. I respect it, but find it bizarre and pointless.

Every country inherits some cruel traditions that modern societies find unacceptable. Brits have fox-hunting, the Japanese hunt whales and dolphins for their meat, etc. These traditions are still kept, despite the opinion of the majority in these societies. The Portuguese are no exception, as you can see on:

However, changing the habits that populations always maintained year in, year out, is not an easy task.

Having a show where people pay to see the suffering and death of a bull is, however, a tradition hardly likely to survive.

This is not, however, a suitable description of the "tourada" that was to be held in Moscow. It is hard for me to agree or not with the prohibition that was imposed. It is against my principles to defend any show where animals are disgracefully treated in exchange for money. If the "tourada" is stopped, I believe the next logical step would be the prohibition of circus shows, where animals are constantly whipped and kept in small cages for transportation purposes.

Keep up the good work. Spasibo for sharing it with us all.

Oliveira Carlos

Bravo to Luzhkov

In response to "Bullfight Belongs in Portugal," an editorial, Aug. 29.

I want to thank you for your excellent editorial supporting Mayor Luzhkov in canceling the Portuguese bullfights that were planned for Moscow. It shows great compassion and morality.

My thanks to all the Russian people, governments, churches, and to you, the press, for speaking out against this cruel event.

Mike & Diane

Rest & Return ...

In response to "No Longer Fitting Into the Picture," a column by Yevgenia Albats on Aug. 28 and the last in the current series.

On 28 August 2001, for the first time I read an article by Yevgenia Albats. My admiration for her knew no bounds until I reached the end of her piece. The question that immediately came to mind was, "Should such a person have the right to withdraw?" One who is fighting for the cause of millions ? a Mujahideen as we call it in my society.

Rest and return yes, but withdrawal leaves a question mark hanging. I hope she will return soon and take up again from where she is leaving off. Mr. Putin, I feel, can do wonders for Russia and for the world provided he is saved from those who are isolating him from the people and the realities.

I ask her, if all fighters were to follow suit, who then would carry on the struggle for truth, freedom, justice and people's rights in this world?

Iqbal F. Quadir

Shashlyk or Crepe?

In response to "Shashlyk Politics of the Transcaucasus," a column by Anna Badkhen, 30 Aug.

I think your freelance correspondent Anna Badkhen, though being a young charming lady, is a "stooge" when it comes to writing columns.

I've read a couple of her writings in The Moscow Times (online version) previously, and I got an impression that she is terribly bored by her job. She wastes her time and your money on the other hand.

Please understand that I don't care about your money.

Why the hell did she go to Transcaucasia? Maybe instead, you should have sent her to Paris. Here she'll find "Creperie" street, and I'm sure she'd love it since "crepes" are Brittany's "delice" ? sort of the equivalent of the Russian blinchik.

However, no Brittany man has ever heard of his crepes being called "blinchiks." And that's not because they hate Russians. Maybe it's because they have eaten this food for centuries without caring how Russians would call them.

Meanwhile, in her "Shashlyk story" (I can't think of a better name for it), she commits ? intentionally or not ? a chronological error.

Nagorny Karabakh Armenians did not wipe out Azeris first, as it appears in her chronology.

Everything started with the decision of the Nagorny Karabakh Parliament ? Armenians are the largest ethnic minority in this ex-Azeri enclave ? to rejoin Armenia. Thereafter in Sumgait and Baku, Azeris started enacting pogroms on ethnic Armenians, who fled their Azeri homeland for Armenia and Russia.

Then, Azeris started to leave Armenia en masse after the earthquake in December 1988 and the rising hostility of local Armenians. A few years later, Karabakh Armenians took Shousha and occupied the surrounding Nagorny Karabakh Azeri territories to create a buffer zone.

No Armenian is happy with the occupation of these territories. These territories are not settled by Armenians, and I'm sure if Azeris sooner or later will accept the independence of Nagorny Karabakh, these territories will be returned.

I think Anna Bakhen should pay more attention to some scrutinized research before launching herself into such a "merciless" adventure as covering news ? or worse ? writing columns on the Nagorny Karabakh conflict and the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Ottoman Turkey in 1915. I bet she doesn't even know that the Armenian genocide is recognized by Russia. Well, that's not the point. I'm not against reading funny columns on Shashlyk and Armenian Shashlyk godfathers, or on Armenians in general, but her column is far from being funny, although she was trying all the way round.

Besides, I'm convinced that she is damn bored by her job, otherwise she wouldn't have written such nonsense, with sarcasm bordering on the moronic.

Micha Meroujean

I read about the so-called shashlyk in one of your columns by Anna Badkhen. I am not a nationalist or racist, but I can't stand it when people write a lie without checking its origins. I wish Anna Badkhen would do more research before she writes the things that have to do with the history of these two nations.

By the way, shashlyk is a turkish word. In fact, its a misspelling of the word "shishlik," because both "shish" and the suffix, "lyk," are of Turkish origin.


Massaged Facts?

In response to "Jubilant Ukraine Parades Its Might," a front-page article, Aug. 27.

Your headline article on Ukraine's independence celebrations reeks of convoluted logic reminiscent of Soviet times when inconvenient facts had to be massaged into an "acceptable" form. How else can one accept your correspondent's contention that Ukraine celebrated its 10th anniversary of independence and yet "? did not gain official independence until after Gorbachev resigned in December and signed the Soviet Union out of existence."

Gorbachev? Soviet Union? What Russian journalistic nonsense!! Once Ukraine declared its independence and was recognized by foreign countries, it mattered little what Gorbachev did or did not do or whether the remnants of the U.S.S.R. continued to exist.

Lubomyr Markevych