Europe In The Spotlight

I am working on another post. I continue to think that Eta forms part of the picture in Madrid. I may be wrong. In any event this article summarises another part of the picture which I am sure as Europeans affects us all.

Europe in terrorism spotlight

By Erik Kirschbaum

The Madrid train bombings have shattered any complacency that Europe could be immune to mass attacks on civilians and the continent should gird itself for more, European newspapers say.

“The mass terror of Madrid was aimed at the heart of Spain, but we’re all in the crosshairs of terrorism,” wrote Germany’s mass circulation Bild. “Who is still safe today? Terror is like a hydra with a thousand heads.”

Thursday’s bomb attacks on rush-hour commuter trains killed at least 198 people and wounded 1,430 in Europe’s worst attack for 15 years. Spanish newspapers compared the scale and impact of the bombings to the September 11, 2001 suicide hijack attacks which killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

As investigators tried to pin down if Basque separatists or Muslim militants were behind the attacks, newspapers pondered what they meant for Europe.

“The most devastating terror attack since September 11, 2001 will change the consciousness of the people, and not only in Spain,” said Financial Times Deutschland.

Fear of mass attacks was no longer the preserve of the Americans, said Italian daily La Repubblica in an editorial.

“Whoever thought the American “devils” were the only ones in the sights of Islamic terrorism was wrong. We are all in the same boat,” it said.

“This is a European war that the EU…must fight in a much more unified way than in recent months. Afterwards we can decide if what happened yesterday was a result of the Iraq war,” read an editorial in Italian daily Corriere della Sera.


Some newspapers were simply were shocked that such a scene of horror could be witnessed in Europe at all. “This is Madrid, not Baghdad!” the Norwegian daily Aftenposten said in a banner headline, quoting a Spanish witness.

“It was like a modern version of the gruesome wartime images painted by Goya,” wrote the Guardian.

In an editorial, the Guardian said the attacks, geared to extracting the maximum possible casualties, were an example of “terror inflation”.

“For such a group to claim it is in business, it is no longer sufficient for casualty rates to be in their 10s. They have to be in the hundreds,” it said.

Israeli mass circulation Yedioth Ahronoth told Europeans: “Welcome to the real world”. Commentator Sever Plotzker said the Madrid attacks were the latest in a trail of mass attacks which have hit Kenya, Turkey, Russia and Iraq. “For some reason, Western Europe thought that it was immune,” Plotzker wrote.

Writing in Berlin tabloid B.Z., leading conservative columnist Michael Stuermer had a stark warning.

“Anyone who once believed that the big terror attacks only happen against the Americans has to have a re-think now. Terrorism isn’t a spectator sport for us in Europe.”

The question for some journalists: what could be the next target? Greek newspapers feared they had the answer.

“Thursday’s explosions in Madrid are weighing on Greece’s security plans for the Athens Olympic Games,” said Eleftherotypia.

“Greece has asked NATO to provide special security equipment and the possibility to transport injured people via air bridges to NATO hospitals.”
Source: Reuters

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

6 thoughts on “Europe In The Spotlight

  1. I guess they (the terrorists) “hate our way of life” too. When the war in Iraq started I knew that Europe would be in trouble too. In some way I naievely hoped the mass demonstrations against the war in Europe would prevent some of the backlash. If Madrid was indeed an AQ job, that hope is now dashed. We are all Westerners.

  2. There’s altogether too much linking of Iraq and al-Qaeda swirling around the blogosphere’s musings on Madrid for my liking. Has everyone (including A-q) decided to retroactively vindicate Rumsfeld’s belligerent pre-war ravings, or did somebody find some serious evidence of a link?

    And if “Western Europe thought it was immune” how in God’s name are we supposed to account for the enthusiasm of David Blunkett and much of the French government for confiscating any civil liberties they can lay their nasty little hands on – pure spite?

    The whole idea that terrorism is new to Yoorp is utterly laughable, and the Israeli suggestion that Yoorpeans will finally see the Palestinians for what they really are (and the corresponding Russian bollocks about the Chechens) is an offer I sincerely hope that Yoorp finds it in itself to decline.

  3. Israeli mass circulation Yedioth Ahronoth told Europeans: “Welcome to the real world”.

    I thought that liberals were supposed to be the ones who gloated over the deaths of innocents and regarded them as well-deserved punishment for the sins of their governments. Obviously I was misinformed.

  4. Al Qaeda wants to attack not only brutal but making symbolic statements too.
    11 March is exactly 2,5 years after 9-11. That’s a statement.

    Bob is right: we must get rid of Euro-centrism.
    Remember Bali, remember Istanbul, remember Dar es Salaam and certainly not Karbala: killing as many Shiites as possible on their most holy day.

    Yes, ETA could be linked to the mass-murder because of the Spanish elections, but Al-Qaeda as well. OBL knows that most Spaniards opposed the war in Iraq. He simply wants the Spanish people to vote against Spanish presence in Iraq. He already succeeded in chasing the USA out of Saudi-Arabia.

    The opposition in Spain now face a big responsibility: are they hiding away behind “the government”, trying to put some blame on the PP, hoping in some way that the massacre will cause a victory in the election or will they speak out firmly for worldwide cooperation against terrorism.

    After 9-11 almost all of the world could be united against terrorism. After Bush shifted focus from terrorism to Iraq the world became divided again. OBL is “asking” us to start cooperating again….
    Hard choices for Europe.

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