Remembering Madrid

OTB would be terribly remiss if it were to forget to memorialize the 192 victims of Europe’s worst modern terrorist attack. So heartfelt thoughts and prayers extend to our Spanish friends.

The indispensable Barcepundit posts the names of all the deceased. In the Independent, Elizabeth Nash describes the “sombre ceremony”:

Victims of Madrid Train Bombing Remembered with Silence and Tears (Independent)

[…T]he King and Queen of Spain, flanked by 12 heads of state and scores of national and international dignitaries, heard a lone cellist play Casals’ lament “Birds’ Song” in Madrid’s Grove of the Departed, which was created in memory of those who died in the al-Qa’ida attack. When the monument was opened to the public later in the day, scores of mourners entered, many in tears. Throughout the rest of Spain, trains and buses ground to a halt as the silence was observed. Mourners left candles and flowers outside Madrid’s Atocha station. One note read: “Today, after a year, we haven’t forgotten you.”[…]

One of Spain’s senior Muslim clerics said al-Qa’ida had forsaken Islam in committing the atrocity. Mansur Escudero, the secretary general of the Islamic Commission of Spain said: “Any group that invokes Islam to justify terrorist attacks places itself outside Islam.”

Meanwhile, a group of former world leaders and experts issued an anti-terror proposal:

Former World Leaders Promote ‘Madrid Agenda’ as Means of Fighting Terrorism (AP)

The document outlined general guidelines, saying terrorism is a global threat, the democratic response must address the causes of terrorism while also safeguarding civil rights, and military force should be a last resort in dealing with terrorists. “We believe that terrorism … threatens mankind as a whole,” Brazil’s former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso said. “And that it can’t be fought partially, by individual governments. No matter how powerful, a government can win a battle with terrorism, but the war is more difficult.”

The Madrid train bombings were the work of al-Qaeda militants, who struck Madrid stations and commuter trains at the height of the rush hour.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan endorsed the agenda and said, “I will take the findings here to New York and make the members of the agencies aware” of its recommendations. The document also will be sent to the European Union. “No cause justifies the targeting of civilians and noncombatants through intimidation and deadly acts of violence,” the document says.

The agenda was developed by police, intelligence, diplomatic, academic and other experts over several months, and discussed this week with two dozen world leaders.

The U.S. Senate sent a statement saying it “looks forward to receiving and considering the recommendations … for strengthening international cooperation against terrorism in all of its forms through democratic means.”

One hopes that the proper authorities actually act on these recommendations. But, judging by the content of the dispatch, it seems that only platitudes are at hand.

FILED UNDER: Europe, Terrorism, , , , , , , ,
Robert Garcia Tagorda
About Robert Garcia Tagorda
Robert blogged prolifically at OTB from November 2004 to August 2005, when career demands took him in a different direction. He graduated summa cum laude from Claremont McKenna College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and earned his Master in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.


  1. Clint Lovell says:

    They remember that without the United States’ involvement in the War On Terror that which happened on that awful day would only be a tithing of the fun they would get to experience again and again and again.

    They remember that their ability to speak Spanish (instead of Russian) only occurred because the United States was willing and is willing to fight to the death for THEIR freedom.

    They remember that when the United States has not been an active advocate for freedom, many Spainards died in their Spanish Civil War that was a presage of WWII.

    They remember, but they would rather forget hoping that by feeding everyone else to the dragon will somehow result in the dragon not turning on them and devouring them.

    Wise fools.

    Wise men remember that when you appease tyranny, sooner or later the tyrant turns upon you and destroys you too.

    Such is the way of things in the human experience.

    The only question is what will people remember about these decisions? Will they say they were wise? Will they say they were just?

    No. They will say they only sought to delay the inevitable showdown that had to occur, so the day of reckoning was only made that much more expensive in terms of lives and national treasury.