Inventing al-Andalus

MM has kindly mailed the story of an illegal from Mali found climbing one of the Sierra Nevada’s major peaks in flipflops. Jorge Rodríguez’z story in El País, plagiarised by Elizabeth Nash for The Independent, has Anthony Braxton Tony Brascons making the same journey in reverse undertaken in sandals by Judar Pasha, who they describe as a Morisco expelled from the peninsula by those cruel Spanish who (rallied an army of fellow-Andalusian refugees,) volunteered to serve the Moroccan ruler and subjugated territories including present-day Mali.

The older historical accounts I’ve read have him as a blue-eyed Christian infant, taken from the Spanish coast by a Moorish raiding party and sold to the Ahmad al-Mansur, whereupon, as was frequent in the Muslim world, he was castrated, converted to Islam, and made to enter military service, the rest being something vaguely resembling history. Not quite the same, although Judar may well have worn sandals. (I’ve met people in deepest Spain who, for want of shoes, wore pieces of cow hide tied round their ankles in the 1940s. Sandals are advanced technology and hippies everywhere should remove them immediately.)

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