Thursday, March 11, 2004

The Horror of Terrorism

I am absolutely shocked by the series of terrorist attacks that have taken place today at the height of Madrid's rush hour (between 7:30 and 8:00 AM CET). As I'm writing these lines, the number of victims exceeds 150 people, and almost 500 are injured. The Basque terrorist group ETA have brutally hit civilian population indiscriminately (latest news coverage here). This day has already been labeled "Spain's September 11".

I can hardly blog, I can hardly express all the pain and indignation I am feeling right now. This, friends, is not off topic. I could have been on that train. One of my children could have been killed. You could have been there on vacation... The horror of terrorism IS our business. It is my conviction that we have to take a firm stand against all form and manner of terror. When I place my ballot on Sunday (general elections) I will keep in mind that many people have given their lives so that we may enjoy freedom and democracy. I pray that God will have mercy on us, and that he will comfort all those who are mourning.

When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then, Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned.

Martin Niemoeller (1892-1984), a Pastor in the Confessing Church (Congressional Record 14 October 1968, page 31636)

UPDATE (March 12): At least 198 people died and over 1,400 were injured in yesterday's blasts. It seems that al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the bombings, while other clues point to a possible joint attack, but nothing has been officially confirmed yet. Today, millions of people across Spain will participate in demonstrations against terrorism and in solidarity with the victims. Thank you for your prayers and support.

UPDATE (March 14): The terrible death toll has reached 200 people already, but over a dozen more are still in critical condition. Everything seems to indicate that al Qaeda is behind the terrorist attack. More than 11 million Spaniards attended the demonstrations last Friday. The main one took place in Madrid, with 2,3 million in attendance. I've never seen anything like that! Today we hold general of selections. We are grieved, but not defeated. Together we shall overcome terror. Thanks so much for your solidarity. I deeply appreciate all your heartfelt words of sympathy, in particular those from fellow bloggers Mark Goodacre and Jim Davila. Thank you!