Cross-posted at Larvatus Prodeo, where the very first commenter called me "stupid".
It’s not often that the Vatican and I agree on anything, but I was pleased to read that they have criticised - I might even go so far as to say “attacked” - the Dakar rally as “a bloody, irresponsible, violent and cynical attempt to impose questionable Western tastes on the developing world”.
It’s not the first time they’ve criticised it - the Wikipedia link above has a reference to a 1988 Vatican article which called the rally a “vulgar display of power and wealth in places where men [sic] continue to die from hunger and thirst”. (And from being run over by rally vehicles.)
Now they go further and say that an “undeniable component of violence … lies behind every attempt to export Western models to human environments and ecosystems that have little to do with the West”.
Motor racing in general has no appeal for me at all, but whenever I see news clips of rally vehicles ploughing through the Sahara, it does always look like a violent imposition of metal on sand, of noise on silence, of arrogance onto people unknown.
A year ago Australian motorbike rider Andy Caldecott was killed in the Dakar Rally. In the days immediately following his death two children were killed by rally vehicles. Their deaths didn’t make headlines.