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Mourning Spain’s March 11 loss

Cesar Javier Hernandez | Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Spring Break is normally a time to relax with friends and family. It is a break from midterms and stress. I chose to go back to my homeland for Spring Break to visit my friends and family. But a time of relaxation, catching up, and loving memories gave a way to terror. On Thursday, March 11, Spain’s culture and way of life were devastated by the horrific terrorist bombings of three main train stations during the morning rush hour. As a Spanish citizen going to school at Notre Dame, I feel angry, sad and powerless in the face of the uncertainty concerning the attack. Imagine the moments of desperation that I experienced as I tried to contact friends and family to make sure they were fine. Fortunately, they were. Exactly 911 days after Sept. 11, the bombings in Madrid – that have now taken the lives of over 200 people and injured 1400 – are the most cruel and deadliest terrorist act in Spain’s history. Whether the supposed terrorists are ETA (the Basque separatist terrorist group) or Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda, the massacre of 11-M has taken the lives of innocent men, women and children of many nationalities only three days before the national elections. These lives that were taken were those of workers, husbands, sons, daughters, wives, mothers and fathers who were going to earn a living. To me, and to the world, they are heroes. Heroes for living the freedom that is working to earn a living every morning. Heroes for preserving the simple rights that are given for being human beings. Madrid, a city formed by citizens who think of each other as brothers and neighbors, was attacked for upholding the simple truth of freedom. With screams of “Con las victimas, con la constitucion, por la derrota al terrorismo” and “Asesinos,” 2.3 million citizens of Madrid marched on Friday night to express their fight against terrorism and the sadness of the tragedy. I am proud to say that I was amongst those who screamed and cried that night in protest. We feel angry and impotent to the ignorance of the perpetrators of our culture and way of life. However, we stand united as a country and as a people of peace and solidarity in the fight against terrorism not only in Spain but also worldwide. Hundreds of cars are left on the parking lots of the Atocha, Santa Eugenia and El Pozo train stations from people who left that morning to take the train to work, but who will never come back. Nothing we do now will ever bring those brave men back. My sadness, my desperation, and my anger will not bring them back, but my personal fight for what I believe, and my voice against terrorism will certainly find sympathy among all of us.

Cesar Javier HernandezfreshmanFisher HallMarch 15