The Null Device

Don't call us "crusaders"

The Spanish troops sent to patrol Iraq are wearing the symbol of an anti-Moorish crusader. Spain's 2,000-strong contribution to Truth, Justice and Cheap SUV Fuel wear on their shoulders the Cross of St. James of Compostella, popularly known as "Matamoros" or "the Moor killer" for his role in the Christian reconquest of Moorish spain. The troops will patrol the sacred Shia city of Najaf.

Stupidity, or a calculated "fuck you" to the Islamic world? Perhaps someone in charge wants to foment anti-Western resentment in the Islamosphere, for some reason or other; like keeping McWorld in a permanent (and profitable) state of siege? (via Anthony)

There are 6 comments on "Don't call us "crusaders"":

Posted by: mitch http:// Thu Aug 14 12:00:47 2003

The St James here was one of the twelve apostles of Christ, i.e. we're talking 1st century AD. His contribution to the "tragedy of Andalusia" (as Osama put it) a thousand years later is purely mythic. He's the patron saint of Spain. I'd look for culture as a cause here, certainly not economics.

Posted by: acb Thu Aug 14 12:28:30 2003

Oh, that's alright then.

Posted by: ed Thu Aug 14 14:13:47 2003

portugal and spain are the only european territories which belonged to the arab empire during its peak (between the 8th and the 13th century), and patron saints and crusader symbols are common in traditional army insignias. it might be cultural indiference for spanish troops to wear st. james cross, but knowing compostela (it's not far from here) it is a city so deeply rooted in spanish culture that it'd be hardly surprising if that insignia had been already used by the troops that conquered the sultanate of granada (ending arab presence in europe) in 1492. and knowing the spanish, they are not the kind of people who'd change their historical symbol just because they are going to iraq.

it'd be a bit like having to change the portuguese flag, which is ridden with and christian and anti-spanish symbolism. they don't get offended.

Posted by: mitch http:// Thu Aug 14 22:54:12 2003

You have to admit this plays right into the Crusader image:

I mean, imagine you're some teenager in Najaf. Since you were a kid Saddam was thundering about the crusader siege of Iraq. Now there are recruiters in your town trying to assemble an Islamist "army of Al-Mahdi". Then one day you have a run-in with these Spanish guys, and you see that little blood-red sword-cross on their uniform. I imagine it would be like the peak of a bad acid trip: "oh shit, it's true!"

Posted by: mark Fri Aug 15 04:51:54 2003

OMFG, mitch, that's priceless.

Damn those lefty femdogs! How precious...

Posted by: Lola http:// Thu Aug 21 08:06:55 2003

So the hell what? The Iraqis tolerated a homicidal dictator for 30 years, but can't take an obscure symbol of someone who killed totally unrelated coreligionists more than 500 years ago? It's amazing that people who didn't want to get rid of Saddam, who was KILLING AND EXILING EN MASSE his own people, are now worried about America OFFENDING those same people.