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Quiet anniversary of a mysterious terrorist attack
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, 10 2014

There are still many unanswered questions about the March 11th, 2004, Madrid bombings

March 11th marks the 10th anniversary of the largest terrorist attack in the history of Spain. Bombs planted by terrorists on four Madrid commuter trains killed 191and injured 1,858. Dozens remain invalids after the attack.


All of this is well remembered in Spain, but the tenth anniversary of the tragedy, like all previous ones, will be observed very quietly and modestly. Opposition to noisy memorial services consists of psychologists and the public organizations of survivors and the victims' relatives, who believe that excessive emotion could have adverse effects on the mental state of some of the injured. Therefore ceremonies will be limited, as always, to laying flowers at a monument to the victims of the tragedy at the Atocha train station, the Pozo and Santa Eugenia suburban platforms, in a memorial park, and at the regional administrative building. Amemorial mass will be held, as well as a classical music concert.

Jesus Fernandez, spokesman for the Madrid regional government, explains: “They say that time can cure everything, but the wound inflicted on us on March 11th, 2004, cannot heal and that may be for the best. After all, we must never forget that freedom does not fall from the sky. Wemust defend it every day defend it resolutely, and firmly, in order to avoid losing it. Whydo Isay this? Because those who committed these acts of terrorism, as well all other terrorists, are the enemies of freedom. Soon each anniversary of the tragedy, we not only remember the dead, but vow to always be faithful to the ideals of freedom, to never give in to blackmail and political or religious totalitarianism. Andso it will alwaysbe.

Image“It is well-known that these terrorist attacks, which involved immigrants from Arab countries, did not summon a wave of xenophobia from Spaniards. There were no anti-Muslim or anti-Arab speeches in the country, even though passions were considerably inflamed. Thecondemnation by both public opinion and the secret services focused only on the bearers of extremist ideas, not on representatives of any nationality or religion.”

Jesus Fernandez describes feelings of Madrid residents during the first few days following the tragedy: “Sadness, anger, helplessness Ofcourse, none of us could ever imagine themselves in shoes of the dead or their relatives. Weembraced the deepest pain and feeling of helplessness, perhaps because we are also free citizens of the West and did not understand the fanaticism of those who commit such atrocities. These are persons with venomous, poisonous doctrines in their heads. Onlythey could commit murder on those who had never wronged anyone. Similarly, there is no excuse.”

The Spanish government allocated nearly 50million euros to individuals who suffered as a result of the terrorist attack. Families of the slain received 50,000 euros. Foreign immigrants, who were victims of the terrorist attacks, and their close relatives, were granted Spanish citizenship in addition to monetary compensation. Medical treatment of the wounded, of course, was also free of charge.

The government also subsidizes an association of victims of the March 11th terrorist attack. Theassociation assists disabled people and families left without a breadwinner, and, if necessary, advocates for the rights of the surviving victims and relatives of slain victims. However, this organization has another concern its members believe that the judicial investigation was insufficient, and that the Spanish public still does not know the names of the principal authors of the tragedy.

According to Angeles Pedraza, chairman of the Association of victims of the terrorist attack: “There are still many obscure details and unanswered questions, so once again Iam appealing to those in power that they finally, and fully, get the facts about the very grave terrorist attack that took place in Spain.”

According to representatives of the association, after the investigation, which took three years, and a trial held in 2007, they are still unable to answer the question of exactly who organized the terrorist attack and directed the actions of terrorists. Ofthe 24convicted of the act, only one is considered to have directly carried it out, while the rest were merely accomplices. Itis also believed that the seven main participants, those who planted the bombs on the commuter trains, committed suicide two weeks after explosions in order to avoid capture. Meanwhile it is known that these were merely illiterate persons who got involved in the terrorist attack for the money. Theterrorist attack on the Spanish capital on March 11th, 2004, was not committed by a group of hysterical hobbyists, but was actually well-planned, large-scale sabotage operation. According to experts, only technically trained, experienced professionals could have carried it out. Whoare they? Whobuilt the bombs that could be set them off at a distance by remote control? Whoput in precisely the right amount of explosives? TheSpanish public demands an answer to these questions.

Luis del Pino, journalist from the Liberdad Digital media group: “The saddest part of the March 11th story is the absolute silence with respect of the ins and outs of the events. Inthe mean time, the case has more and more unanswered questions. There are new details, but the Attorney General does not seem to notice these, and is in no hurry to resume the investigation in order to fully explore the history of the March 11th massacre.”

Eight who were convicted of the terrorist attacks have already been released. Twoof these had been falsely convicted, which further undermines Spaniards' confidence that the investigation succeeded in finding the real perpetrators of the crime. Sodemands to reopen the case, according to Luis del Pino, will be heard on the day of the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.

On Radio Svoboda

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