Friday, June 22, 2007

The Looming Glower

We're a few days late with this, but Tuesday was the 140th anniversary of the execution of Emperor Maximilian, right here in downtown Querétaro. There's plenty of history there at the link, but Max was an Austrian Hapsburg - brother of Franz Josef, in fact - installed as Emperor by Mexican conservatives with the help of the French Army during a civil war in the 1860s. The liberals, led by president Benito Juarez, overthrew him in 1867, with the final battle taking place right up the street from our house - which was standing the time. (This is the long-story-short version. Here is a fairly decent book about it.)

So Juarez, rejecting diplomatic pleas for mercy, wisely has ol' Max shot. Personally, we'd have pardoned him simply for inventing the whole beard-parted-in-the-middle-and-combed-into-the-muttonchops look - a look which, regrettably, died with him.

Eventually, the Austrian government asks if Mexico might be so kind as to allow them to build a little commemorative chapel on the hill where poor Max was iced. No problemo, say the Mexicans. And then, in what has got to be one of the more amusing diplomatic fuck-yous we've seen in quite some time, they go and build a gi-normous statue of a scowling Benito Juarez at the atop the very same hill.



















Here's looking down at ya, Maxie-boy!

You don't quite get it from this angle, but Juarez is at least 100 yards behind that chapel. It's friggin' huge - those little nubs on his shoulders are airplane warning lights. These folks know how to harbor a grudge. No matter how drunk we get, do not let us accept the Throne of Mexico, okay?

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's beautiful! That is exactly what certain members of this family would do! ( You all know who you are! )

M

Anonymous said...

Whooooo? Meeeeeee?

Anonymous said...

Yes, you!!!!!

M