Júzcar is a little Spanish village that voted to stay blue, but their buildings weren't always that hue. In fact, if you view the Google maps, you'll see the traditional whitewashed walls, as you'd expect for one of the (former) White Towns of Andalusia. It happened in advance of Global Smurfs Day, to celebrate the birthday of Peyo (25 June 1928 – 24 December 1992), the Belgian creator of the Smurfs comics. The town was chosen by Sony as the site for the international debut of its new Smurfs movie, who offered to pay for the town to become temporarily blue. The citizens unanimously voted to accept the offer. In September, the 221 residents voted to keep the town blue, as the media coverage was huge, and tourism was boosted from 300 summer tourists to thousands. More photos. [more inside]
Spain's El Mundo newspaper has an online photo gallery of beautiful, haunting images from Holy Week celebrations around Spain. (More) 20 minutos also has a great gallery. Even for nonbelievers, the spectacle is impressive. Wikipedia explains a little about the traditions, and addresses the sartorial similarities between the procession participants and Klan members.
An Islamic History of Europe: (90 minute BBC documentary on Google video.) Rageh Omaar uncovers the hidden story of Europe's Islamic past and looks back to a golden age when European civilisation was enriched by Islamic learning. When the Moors Ruled in Europe:(102 minute BBC documentary on Google video.) A look at the Islamic past of Spain and the influence it has on the present.
The Columbus Day Threat "Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalusia be repeated in Palestine," Osama bin Laden said in his taped cave-side address. "We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish." Reuven Koret's Israel Insider column may explain the FBI's alert to terrorist activity: "Columbus Day, October 12, commemorates the founding of America in 1492, and 1492 represents the year in which Islam was driven out by Christianity. In bin Laden's mind, these two events are inextricably linked."