The Alamo As Back Drop Of Boxing editorial by Esteban Erik Stipnieks

 

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Every day tens of thousands of people transit a battlefield where savage brutal death occurred for years on end.  Brave men some misguided for a demonic regime others with sincere heroic intent but horrific outcomes fought to the death.  Four times in my life I transited that battle field of massive proportions.  My father in an ironic twist of fate worked within that battlefield representing team USA August/September 1989 I have also transited half the world away another battle field where a woman ran for her life from an airplane being shot at.  The Battle fields I refer to are the skies of Northwestern Europe from the English Channel and North Sea to Berlin and South the Munich I also refer to HNL airport where flight instructor Cornelia Fort landed with a male flight student December 7 1941 avoiding being strafed and shot at.  It is hard to travel any significant distance in the liberated as of August 21 1991 Latvia and not go by a place where ethnic cleansing took place in World War II by the same token Poland has its own collection of horrific slaughter stories by both the Nazis and Soviet Armies.  I will so far a to say around half of downtown San Antonio is in fact the battle field of the Alamo.  This includes Maverick Plaza San Fernando Cathedral and the ground of La Villitia and on east to the area around the Alamo dome Sunset station.  Like the grave of my still born aunt Mudite in Wurzburg and the forgotten sights of three large refugee camps after World War II in the greater battle field lies covered up by the work and business of getting on with life.  It is a personal gripe of mine against the memory of history that the post WWII refugee crisis is largely forgotten but that is another story

Having said that I have to side with the land commissioner of Texas and confess my sin as a photographer and PR man for previously abusing the Alamo with a couple photos of Christina Ruiz.  Schiphol airport was a commercial airport before and after its use by JG-26 in the savage air combat that was the bombing campaign of Germany.  The word is symbolic value and implicit recognition.  The book Kanberas Latviesu Saime Piecdesmit Gadi 1947-1997  (translated means Latvian community in Canberra 1947-1997)Alberts Levics makes a comment about an American POW camp called Heilbronn that was located on the sight of Dachau.  (The existing Nazi infra structure on the sight to hold captured POWs of the Nazi regime.) Naturally Dacha has a powerful connotation.  Alberts Levics who survived the ethnic cleansing of Latvia by the USSR was tongue in cheek about the name change indicating PR purposes but even in the midst of wit their is an understanding that the horrors the Nazis perpetuated there could be referenced by the name Dachau and that is why the Americans called it Heilbronn to avoid such a powerful connotation.  It is hard to fully mark the sights of slaughters of innocents during WWII without rendering the continent uninhabitable and void of business.  Their are however certain spaces Aushwitz, Dachau (sights of Nazi atrocities) and the sight where Polish military were slaughtered by the Soviets I believe and others duly noted and remembered.  I have to add that being a civilian east of Elbe you had the choice between two genocidal maniacs and on December 8 1941 Hitler chose for the USA to be aligned with Joseph Stalin.  Smaller memorials in places through out Europe reflect the greater horror and slaughter.  Riga has museum of the occupation.  The sight of Belsen is rightfully preserved.  The French after the war and the Brits also put some memorials as sacred space honoring the heroism of those who fought the Nazi hordes.  Assorted 8th AF bomber bases have been preserved in some part.  I believe their is smaller memorial in Wurzburg the fire bombing raid that my late Uncle Agris was an eye witness to at age 9.  Where he is buried (Ft Sam National Cemetery) is sacred space.  Those memorials while not covering the massive areas of the huge slaughter and battles are considered sacred spaces.  Their is a degree of reverence afforded to them.  In the smaller spaces are reserved to recall and member the greater event.  The Battleship Arizona Memorial and the Missouri at Pearl Harbor are where the memories of the battle that Cornelia Fort of Nashville survived are honored.  The Memorial in Shanksville Pennsylvania to flight 93 is where America's Alamo is honored the word choice is deliberate.

While La Villita and San Fernando Cathedral and the plaza in front of the San Fernando Cathedral were dinged by stray shots from those fighting for the Constitution of 1824 (the battle flag over the Alamo was not the lone star but the Mexican flag with 1824 on it) they are not where the bulk of the battle and the bulk of dying took place.  Even the historic battle grounds for the battle of San Antonio which Maverick Plaza was a part of lacks the sacrosancity of the Alamo.  Lets face it the world "Alamo" has a powerful connotation and the symbol which is intended to be used by Golden Boy calls to mind the Alamo.  The Alamo has a specific meaning and a specific connotation as to the battle.  Maverick Plaza, the Cadillac bar, Espada aqueduct, and even the Arneson do not.  The Alamo's connotation is powerful it calls the mind a singular event in Texas history the battle of the Alamo as Henry Guerra did a great piece the 13 days of Alamo.  Due that symbol's power (the battle of the Alamo involved loss of life and remains the subject of controversy) it should not be used as the sole back drop.  Getting dinged by stay shots is one thing but on the grounds where large numbers of people died in a singular human event is quite another.

In terms of foot print size where a space specifically and SOLELY brings to mind the battle of the Alamo.....I think lies the foot print of the Alamo.  Looking back I should have said NO to the Alamo pictures of Christina Ruiz.  I feel strongly our land commissioner is right. 

 

 

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