Spain is bleeding…
Today, it is difficult to write or speak with any degree of dispassion. The events which unfolded yesterday morning in Madrid, mark a turning point in European history. It’s possible a turning point in human history. The “War on Terror” which has been wreaking political, economic and social havoc across our planet since September the 11th took a dark and hideous turn. 200 people are dead. Over 1000 are injured. Of that 1000, many will be maimed for life.
Spain is reeling. All political campaigning (there is a General election on Sunday) has been postponed. Valencia, the city in which I now live, has postponed much of the daily activity for Fallas, the annual fire festival, taking place this week. People are crying in their homes and standing horror struck in the streets. From the window beside which I now sit and type, I have just witnessed the entire Friday market stop and stand silently for five minutes. The entire city fell silent.
ETA? Al Qaeda? Both of them? Neither of them? The IRA? The UDA? Does it matter anymore? Who precisley carried out this atrocity is still unknown. I don’t even care that much. No, wait. I do care. I want them punished. But that won’t stop it.
What does concern me is the inexorable slide to the right which will be a result of this crime. Spain, will now, almost certainly, re-elect the PP government this week and then the war of words and legalities shall begin. I fear that Spain will have the same kind of fear-induced program of civil liberties curtaliment foisted upon it that America suffered after 9/11.
But the real issue is much, much bigger. People are already debating the consequences of this event. Is this Europe’s 9/11? Is this just another atrocity which we all sigh about and ignore, or is this the one where we all sit up and shit ourselves?
If yesterday Madrid, then when London? Or Paris? Or Berlin? Or Moscow? But Moscow has already seen unspeakable terror in recent memory. So has Paris, Bali, New York, Omagh, London and Barcelona. Madrid joins a notorious list: the list of places where acts of indiscriminate violence occur and force a change in the national psyche. The global psyche.
This is Omagh. This is 9/11. This is an atrocity and it doesn’t matter who did it. It might have been ETA. It might have been Al Qaeda. The debate will be endless on this point.
But what horrifies me, is that we now live in an age where hyperterrorism is the norm. Where suicide bombings have become commonplace. Where children are killed in the wombs of their mothers. Where a teenager strapping explosives to their body and murdering a bus full of school children is the standard fodder of the Six O’Clock news. Where blood runs in the streets of cities, thousands of miles away from a war which nobody wanted, and for which, it now appears, we all run the risk of being punished.
It’s time to say it: The War on Terror is a joke. It’s bullshit. And whatsmore, by anyones’ definition, it is an abject faliure. It matters nothing to have Saddam Hussein in a cage, if Madrid can see 200 people killed in a morning. It matters nothing that Taliban fighters stand for TV pictures from American jails, when people in Valencia, my city, look scared when using the Metro. It doesn’t count for shit, so long as people are dying.
Europe is fracturing. The Middle East is a seething bed of hate and rage. America is riddled with fear. Russia is teetering on Dictatorship. Pakistan and India are staring at each other across a border. With Nuclear Fucking Weapons. France is declaring war on religion in the classroom. Berlusconi, Aznar, Schroeder, Chirac, humourless, Blair, Bush. We are sliding to the right and dragging the rest of the planet with us off the edge.
Islam is Rising. The Christians are Mobilising. The World is on it’s hands and knees. It’s forgotten the message and worships the creeds.
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