The punishment did not fit the crime

Not been a lot of posting going on here as we have been fairly occupied and also continuing to research. Our most recent journey out with Noe, Loli (Calpe) and Craig (Oliva) was to Xativa. It is around 45 minutes from our home and we have driven past it many times en route to Madrid but never stopped there. It caught our attention when I found a video released by Dayesh over a year ago. In it they said they would never forget Al-Andalus (Spain & Portugal) and then named three cities: Toledo, Cordoba and Xativa. We were intrigued why Xativa, a town of 30,000 inhabitants does not seem that significant. However…

Xativa from the Castle

Historically the city was a stronghold for all the ruling people over centuries as once established there control was reasonably easy for a wide area. In Roman times the main route from Cadiz, Cordoba and on to Rome, as well as from Cartagena came through Xativa.

Xativa Cathedral

There are the inevitable situations such as the Cathedral built over the previous Mosque site, a well-documented episode of hundreds of Muslims being dragged to the door of the Cathedral in 1521 and given the choice of baptism (conversion) or death. All of that makes it a significant place but perhaps no more than any other place.

A while back Gayle and I went to La Muela where a major brutal massacre had taken place. The military force involved in this came from Xativa. Significant in that it led to the capture of the ‘last king of the Moriscos’. But we think there was something deeper. First a step forward in time and away from the Expulsion era.

In the Spanish war of succession as to which family would have the throne of Spain, the French Bourbons or the Austrian Hapsburgs. Eventually the Bourbons gained the throne. At one stage in Xativa they placed a portrait of the Bourbon king but upside down to show disrespect. The result was that Felipe (1707) with a strong force besieged the city, massacred those who defended it, deported many of the residents and burned the city. Punishment beyond the crime! Back to our era – or to the 13th century!

A Muslim ruler Al Azraq had a treaty with Jaime I of Aragon which resulted in peace as far as Xativa was concerned. Underneath this there were tensions. In response to violence against Muslims by some of the Christian population, some Muslims went and stole some mules. This act of retaliation Jaime took to be the Muslims breaking the treaty so now no longer believed he was bound by it. He now took force against Xativa and took it. A punishment that went beyond the crime.

We consider this is the root to the ‘we will not forget Xativa’. A betrayal. Our prayer was into the forgiveness for this. The night before we travelled there both Gayle and I had major battles over our sleep. I never, as far as I remember, have war dreams, but one after another was about shootings, snipers and even deception and seeking to make false treaties. Gayle was convinced that there was a former Moorish leader we were to meet and described his clothing. Once we dug into this it was undoubtedly Al Azraq, whose mother was a Christian. We sensed that even in the mess of the history he was willing to listen and accept our apology. (Not sure what that really means, but we will in the next few days make another trip to his birth place and where the treaty was made.)

The town welcomed us in the Spirit. Maybe now the door is closed there to Dayesh.

In closing a few thoughts:

  • betrayal opens the door to murder
  • Jesus on the night he was betrayed took bread and wine – he overturned this betrayal leading to murder by laying down his life.


One thought on “The punishment did not fit the crime

  1. You know, we tend to look most at the big or great events when we examine history. But So often is it the single moment or a seemingly small thing that actually determines where a situation or event ends up. History is all about people, about how humans treat one another and the planet. And people behave in all sorts of ways, often to harm one another. And so those stories, of often little things, small moments, I think become the critical things. And after driving past Xativa many times you have now stopped and found at least one of the seemingly small but critical things.

    Betrayal is interesting because it involves a willingness to jettison one’s integrity in order to achieve one’s goals while harming another. And of course, it is also involves deception and lying. Which, as you point out is connected to murder. Beyond forgiveness there is a need for a restoration of integrity in how people deal with one another so that betrayal is no longer acceptable or considered as a viable action.

    I note, with some wry amusement that there is a connection between the history there and where I was when in Italy. A cadet branch of the Bourbon house also existed in Parma and Piacenza, Italy. There are connections all round between Spain and much of Italy but in this case specifically with the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza. Charles, the King of Spain, in 1731 inherited the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza since his mother was Elisabeth Farnese (daughter of the Duke of Parma and Piacenza). Elisabeth was married to Spain’s King Philippe V and at some points became the de facto ruler of Spain (he appears to have been possibly bipolar and often could not rule). So the whole Spanish Bourbon succession thing runs literally through the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza, Italy and through the Spanish queen Elisabeth Farnese. Ah, the connections we find. . .

    Battle on. Opening up space for new things, new opportunities, new approaches is critical right now.

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