A Bullfighter, Faced With The Reality Of His Crimes

A stirring picture of a torero unable to continue.

The picture above is claimed to be of Alvaro Munera, a Colombian bullfighter who could not continue on slaughtering bulls. The picture, which has been burning up Tumblr today, is accompanied by this quote:

And suddenly, I looked at the bull. He had this innocence that all animals have in their eyes, and he looked at me with this pleading. It was like a cry for justice, deep down inside of me. I describe it as being like a prayer - because if one confesses, it is hoped, that one is forgiven. I felt like the worst shit on earth.

I can't quite figure out if this really IS a picture of Munera, though. See, Munera's last fight didn't end in his emotional collapse, it ended when a bull gored his leg, threw him around and destroyed his spine, leaving him paralyzed for life. That said, Munera HAS become a major figure in combatting bullfighting. Here are some things he said in a Vice interview a few years back:

Once I killed a pregnant heifer and saw how the fetus was extracted from her womb. The scene was so terrible that I puked and started to cry. I wanted to quit right there but my manager gave me a pat on my back and said I shouldn’t worry, that I was going to be an important bullfighting figure and scenes like that were a normal thing to see in this profession. I’m sorry to say that I missed that first opportunity to stop. I was 14 and didn’t have enough common sense. Some time later, in an indoor fight, I had to stick my sword in five or six times to kill a bull. The poor animal, his entrails pouring out, still refused to die. He struggled with all his strength until the last breath. This caused a very strong impression on me, and yet again I decided it wasn’t the life for me. But my travel to Spain was already arranged, so I crossed the Atlantic. Then came the third chance, the definitive one. It was like God thought, “If this guy doesn’t want to listen to reason, he’ll have to learn the hard way.” And of course I learned.

Munera is outspoken that bullfighting only appeals to the lowest people. The Vice interviewer asked him how he accounted for the fact that people like Hemingway and Picasso were fans of bullfighting.

Look, to be a talented person doesn’t make you more human, more sensible, or more sensitive. There are lots of examples of murderers with a high IQ. But only those who have a sense of solidarity with other living beings are on their way to becoming better people. Those who consider the torture and death of an innocent animal a source of fun or inspiration are mean-spirited, despicable people. Never mind if they paint beautiful pictures, write wonderful books, or film great movies. A quill can be used to write with ink or blood, and many terrorists and drug dealers of the 21st century have university diplomas hanging on the wall. The virtues of the spirit, that’s what really counts in God’s eyes.

If anybody out there knows if the picture truly is Munera - or if it's someone else, let me know in the comments. Even if it isn't Munera, that picture is truly striking.