No Mas Violencia

20 May in Bogotá

The others twisted themselves like corkscrews, their elbows raised, and leaned against the flanks of the bull after his horns had passed, to give a faked look of danger. Afterward, all that was faked turned bad and gave an unpleasant feeling.
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway, 1927

The Sun Also Rises is one of Hemingway’s several dashing stories of bull-fighting. The “blood sport” is still performed in Colombia, along with many other places. But does using even those words in 2010 give it an undeserved dignity? After all, is there a question who will win? A contest? Like in The Sun Also Rises, the faked danger, the fake everything, leaves an unpleasant feeling with no heroics…

Yes, Hemingway loved bullfights – but I don’t think he loved this kind. Bull-fighting is no longer a sport (if it ever was). At the most, it is a performance where six bulls die horribly.

Many citizens of Bogotá agree, and outside the Plaza de Toros a big group holds signs – “macabra“, “tortura“, “no mas violencia” – before the fight.

The Riot

But there are still many to convince.

Plaza de Toros

Fine sport

A Matador (no, not picador)

The method of drinking from traditional wineskins.


It almost seems enough to demonstrate the fight’s gruesome aspects.

Spear after spear

And to show that some make-up the crowd against their will.

She doesn't want to watch


The matador dismounts when the bull is broken, and there is no danger.

The Matador dismounts

But I don’t want to glorify the practice with many photos. Essentially, people drink wine in a funny way and watch a bull die slowly.





And then the red Oompa Loompas appear and it all begins again.

Ceremonious exit

Vuelta al Ruedo


For me, it’s telling that my favourite moment came when one matador fell from his horse. It seems natural to ‘go for the bull’, but it’s strange to report that the crowd noise tells me that the audience were not.