Sunday, March 12, 2006

March 11th- On terror and Politics

Reaching the second anniversary of the M-11 (2004) massacre in Madrid commuter trains I watch with certain despair the attitudes of the Spanish opposition party, the Popular Party.

In the memorial celebrations held in the park area designated as Memorial for the Absent there have been cries and shouts demanding a “full investigation” on the grounds that the truth of what happened is not fully known. A convoluted theory of conspiracies has been proposed after the claims of putting the blame on the Basque independents ETA terrorist had proved wrong.
The whole point is that the attacks were so closed to the general elections that the reason for them was to generate a change in the electorate against the incumbent PP government. This was actually what happened, but everybody believes that the reason for the switch vote was precisely the way the aftermath of the attacks was handled by the PP government. To think otherwise would put too much foresight in the terrorist minds.
Previous experience, such as the 9/11 New York City WTC Twin Towers catastrophe and the London bombs of July 7, 2005 afterwards, produced a rally around the standing government. In fact both instances somehow reinforced the standing of both GW Bush and Tony Blair. Why would in Spain happen differently?

Obviously the conspiracy claims are just a smoke curtain to stave off the responsibilities of the then-acting government, that of the Popular Party. It’s just peculiar that the main advocate of the conspiracy theory happens to be the former Minister of Interior, Mr Acebes, who could be easily charged with negligence for not preventing the attacks. Should the attacks had taken place in any other inter-elections period, then opposition parties would had demanded an inquiry on the responsibilities of the Interior Ministry and surely asked for his resignation. The immediate elections took care of that and the Spanish people, by voting against the PP, sacked them.

The Popular Party have not digested yet their defeat and, worse, by acting as it has, seems that the undemocratic roots of the Spanish Right are still present and active.

But I believe that it’s just their top leaders, still shocked and entangled in their own contradictions. If they do not change, the electorate will tell them in the next elections. Watch for it.

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