Opponents of bullfighting are, one would think, lovers of life and opponents of violence. They are, we assume, caring leftists: people who work by setting a humanist, non-violent example.
But this flyer inviting bullfighting opponents to join a march this Sunday sounds rather like it came from a genocidal paramilitary group.
After calling bullfighters 'Useful idiots' - a phrase often attributed to Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin - and calling bullfighting a 'savage, cruel, bloody, pagan spectacle,' the flyer warns the bullfighters on hunger strike in front of Bogotá's bullfighting plaza that on Sunday bullfighting protesters will 'Clean society of these' people.
'Social cleansing' is a term made notorious in Colombia by neo-fascist paramilitary groups, who used social cleansing to mean the murdering of their political opponents and 'undesirables,' such as beggars. prostitutes, small-time criminals, sexual minorities and drug addicts. Utilizing selective killings and mass murders, such as chainsaw massacres, the paramilitaries 'socially cleansed' Colombian cities and towns.
Seeing such language coming from a group supposedly opposed to violence is frightening, to say the least. And it just goes to show that when they radicalize, the left and right can become indistinguishable.
On Sunday, expect an army of police in front of the bullfighting stadium, separating the two sides. There probably won't be violence. But if bullfighting's opponents want to maintain the respect of decent, caring Colombians, they'd better toss this element out of their ranks.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours