Former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has waded into the polemics surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's September 12 speech. The last time I heard Aznar speak was in Spanish at the AJC's 2003 annual meeting in Washington, DC. Back then, he spoke through a translator. Judging from several quotes attributed to him in the Herald Tribune, he should have done the same at a recent engagement at the Washington-based Hudson Institute. But who am I to discourage people from practicing their English public speaking skills? Referring to the 800-year period of Muslim rule over Iberia, Aznar is said to have declared:
"I never (heard) any Muslim apologize (to) me (for) conquer(ing) Spain and to maintain a presence in Spain during eight centuries. What is the reason ... we, the West, always should be apologiz(ing) and they never should ... apologize? It's absurd."Wow, that seems to be a record number of parentheses in a quotation. In all seriousness, I do think that J.M. has a point, although I'm not sure that it's worth opening that particular can of worms (history of Medieval Spain). Nevertheless, Aznar should be commended for his courageous statements in support of the United States and Israel. In contrast to his successor, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, this man has cojones.
Trivia of the Day: In Arabic, the Pope is called "al-baba" as in this al-Jzaeera headline:
"Aznar defends the pope and demands that Muslims apologize"