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Holy Week

On Saturday night in Seville something happened which has been all over the newspapers, and will continue to be for some time to come. Two women returning from seeing Semana Santa pasos were hit and killed by a speeding car. The driver was more than double over the limit, and it is claimed by police that he was driving at between 90 and 110 kph in the heart of a city packed with people. And the worst part? They were (almost certainly) on a pedestrian crossing. For me, this tragic story says plenty about attitudes to driving here in Andalucia, especially in conurbations. 1) Speed limit? That's for wimps. 2) Drinking and driving? Everyone else does it, so why shouldn't I? 3) Stop at a pedestrian crossing? With people on it? Nah. The extra added ingredient to this particular story is that the car's passenger was non other than the son of the president of Sevilla FC, Jose Maria del Nido. The driver, as is customary here in Spain, is identified only by his initials - FVC. Other pertinent details: one of the women was planning her wedding; her fiance arrived just after it happened, and had to be treated for shock. A taxi driver (who is being sought as a witness) cut off the (allegedly) fleeing car. The girls were on their way to Puerta de Jerez metro station to go back home to Mairena del Aljarafe, just outside Sevilla. Some say they weren't on a crossing; others say the driver jumped a red light. The police say there were no signs of the car having braked on the road. I didn't see them,' claimed the passenger, Del Nido's son, ``because I suffer from night blindness`. (¡Anda ya!, as they say here.) Anyway, I'm not surprised, going that fast - the poor girls were probably just a blur. The truth will out - well, let's hope so, anyway. Some newspapers have suggested that the driver has his licence taken away in perpetuity. Sounds like a good idea to me. ------------------------------------------------- The other story that caught my eye recently - it happened during Holy Week too - was when some young Austrian muslims were chastised by guards (two were later arrested) for praying in the Mezquita in Cordoba, which is forbidden by law. This exquisite 10th-century building - a must for any visitor to Andalucia - was, of course, a mosque until the city was reconquered by Spanish Christian monarchs in 1236, when it was reconsecrated as a cathedral. The temple's site has had a rollercoaster ride through history, starting in Roman times. The tourism chief of Cordoba said, surprisingly, that maybe the incident will have the positive effect of (re)opening up to debate the possiblity of people from other faiths (than Catholicism) using the mosque. What's more, he seemed to be delighted that it had gained Cordoba considerable national media coverage. The mayor was less enthusiastic, saying that he would prefer that everyone forget about it ``as soon as possible``, and concentrate on the city's European Capital of Culture 2016 projects. I wonder which politician will get their wish granted?
Blog published on 6 April 2010