Tuesday, February 01, 2005

New Perspectives

Following the March 11th attacks in Madrid, numerous explanations surfaced, both from within and outside of Spain as to the intent of al-Qaeda. Whether in support of the Bush administration or not, a great majority of the world agrees that the attacks stemmed primarily from Spain's initial support of the American effort in Iraq. Within Spain, nearly 75% of the population believed this logic, according to a June 2004 report issued by the Real Instituto Elcano. Nevertheless, the attacks occurred, the elections took place, and the PSOE came back to power in a "surprise" swing of events, led by the young politician and MP, Zapatero. However, this is often where the story takes an abrupt halt.

I remember in the days following March 11th, comments began to fill the Daily Collegian at Penn State along the lines of, "Let this be an example for the upcoming elections in November!" This horrified me, for could this be the end of democracy!? And I waited, and waited, and waited, and nobody took it that tiny step forward. Not in America, not in Europe, and certainly not in Spain. Was there nobody willing to stand up and admit that terrorism worked?. Terrorists, who must be classified as rational, goal-oriented individuals, seek objectives. In the eyes of al-Qaeda, they had a reason to attack, to instill fear as to weigh in on the election and it undoubtedly had visible and immediate consequences. However, for the short time that I have studied here, there seems to be no discussion as to this chapter of the story. For more information, check this out.

My interest was refocused upon this topic the other day in my class on Medieval Iberia. Our professor displayed an article which reported that a former Spanish government official upon a visit to the United States had provided yet a new explanation for the Madrid bombings. He claimed that the reasons were not modern, in fact not related to al-Qaeda, but rather were historical in nature, further claiming that the tensions were rooted in Arab hostilities from the 8th century. I then questioned as to why there is a lack of Jewish terrorism in Spain, considering the nearly identical history that the Jews shared with the Arabs during the time of the convivencia... no answer; however, this is somewhat unfair, for my professor was not the one that had issued the statement. Instead I was searching my professor to offer some form of explanation behind the figurehead's words. With that said, the reason that I came to Spain was to experience a new culture and share a perspective offered by the world. So here I am with an open mind. Hopefully some of the answers to these intriguing questions will come within the next several months.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guys your blog is great! Keep up the good work.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Aleksu said...

I think you need to factor in all the lies that Aznar and his underlings told the Spanish public after the attacks.

Yes, the same Aznar that came up with that rather idiotic version that the terrorist attacks were a result of the Reconquista.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Caterina said...

The most common explanation you will get out of a Spaniard in relation to 11M-attacks is exactly what Blex posted: Aznar lied, Aznar is to blame. If you dare to consider the option that ETA might have had something to do with the attacks (e.g. help al-Qaeda with the preparations of the attacks), you are immediately labeled as a "facha" or a facist who does not want to accept the results of the past elections; nevermind that the attacks had been planned right after 9/11 in order to teach a lesson to Europe. Nevermind that, even though ZP removed the Spanish troops from Iraq, there was a second terrorist attempt from Islamist radicals. Nevermind that ETA benefits directly from having ZP placed as leader of the Spanish goverment (PP had long ago determined that there would not be any more talks with the basque terrorist group).
I don't understand Spain anymore (and it's my own country). It's almost as if there is no center. If you are not from the left, then, you must be a cold-hearted, greedy, fascist. At least that is the attitude among my friends (we all are 26-30 year old).
I was embarrassed to see the response of Spain to the 11M-attacks. But not all Spaniards are cowards, you'll see. I hope you enjoy your stay in Barcelona.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Aleksu said...

Caterina, obviously Aznar precipitated his own downfall, taking down Rajoy with him.

If he had kept his mouth shut and waited for the police to actually do its job, Rajoy would be PM today.

The way you present your argument, about ETA profiting by having Zapatero at La Moncloa instead of Rajoy makes it look as if Aznar lied with that in mind.

And by the way, Aznar refused to talk to Ibarretxe, who has nothing to do with ETA, get your facts straight.

8:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aznar did refuse to talk to ETA back in 2000, after the terrorist group started killing again (after the peace talks in 1998).
Go to:
http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/10/30/spain.blast.05/

Aznar also refused to talk to Ibarretxe, but that's not what Caterina said.

10:04 AM  

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