Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In this Cristiada-mass time... Grabman's Gorostieta and the Cristiada

Many of us are awaiting with dread the new movie "Cristiada," about the 1926-9 conflict, an armed uprising of catholics against a strongly anti-clerical Mexican state.

Dread, because it appears the this will be a very distorted and pro-cristero portrayal of reality - in other words, a very political movie, yet of the reactionary kind. The trailer for the movie strongly suggests so: To dramatic images of churchgoers being massacred, we are told that "When the government outlawed faith... the faithful became outlaws." Oh, dear. "Based on a true story," the trailer boldly claims. One might add, "Only the facts have been changed to protect the innocent."

For a quick, entertaining, enlightening, and, most importantly, even-handed read on the Cristiada and particularly Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, a general hired to be the leader of the rebellion, I recommend Richard Grabman's Gorostieta and the Cristiada: Mexico's Catholic Insurgency 1926-1929. It proves a quick and accessible overview and background to the event, and seeks to hone in on Gorostieta himself  - a highly ambitions army officer that, irony of ironies, had long been considered an anti-clerical and possibly atheist. Keep that thought in mind as you watch the trailer. Yet what motivated him to join the rebellion, then? For one good and highly readable attempt at answering this question, which appears to have been the author's motivation, you can check out Grabman's book.

It is a very useful antidote to what appears to be a very, very flawed film, whenever it will be released.

(available now as an e-book here, or here, it costs less than a beer)

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