Thursday, March 11, 2004

This Mornings Bomb Attacks

It is absolute bedlam in Madrid. The metro is empty as everybody anticipates yet another explosion.

The army have begun patrolling all public transport which has been completely disrupted by the attacks. The lines where the explosions occurred are some of the busiest at morning time. From what we hear, most of the injured and fatalities were people living in the immediate area, aswell as those commuting by train. Given the early hour, most were on the first leg of their daily journey across the city.

The vast majority of the four million Madrid inhabitants use the metro and trains such as those attacked. For this reason everybody has the same numbing feeling that "it could easily have been me" , often only depending on whether or not they were late or early for work. As you can guess people have spent all morning calling friends and family. I had the misfortune of witnessing one or two people receive unwanted news as they waited for their own train. Most of us only learned of the bombs by overhearing metro conversations, receiving worried text messages, or by asking the reason for so many sirens and ambulances.

In the main square there is a queue already developing, almost two hundred meters long, as offices send their employees out to donate badly needed blood.

There is huge anger and worry amongst the populace. This is Spains "Omagh Bombing" and will undoubtedly make the people more vociferous than ever in their condemnation of ETA. In the Basque region, where support for ETA is not as strong as they would have you believe, the local people are afraid to speak out due to widespread intimidation.

This mornings attack is different from previous incidents in that there was absolutely no prior warning given. Only two weeks ago the police had intercepted a massive amount of explosives believed to be intended for the main election campaign days. The elections were due to be held next sunday. All campaigning has now been postponed.