No Good Cause Is Served By Such Savagery
by Bill Onasch

The death toll in Madrid nears 200. The victims were mainly workers and students, on their way to the job or class room.

This is not a political act. It is a relapse into savagery, a reminder of how tenuous our claim to civilization really is.

At this writing no group has claimed responsibility. Speculation centers on ETA and el Qaeda.

ETA is a group that espouses a worthy aspiration—self-determination for the Basque nation ruled by the Spanish state (and partially France.) Such a horrible crime would not advance that goal. It is not something that the oppressed Basque people can take pride or comfort in.

Qaeda seems more likely both because of the scale of the murder and because they have gloried in such butchery in the past.

One theory is that Qaeda attacked in retaliation for the Spanish government's participation in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Iraqi resistance fighters attacking Spanish soldiers—and other foreign occupiers—in their country is one thing. Only paragons and hypocrites can equate the violence of the oppressed to that of their oppressor.

But the workers and students in Spain are not Iraq's enemy. Undoubtedly many of the victims were among the hundreds of thousands in the Spanish state who carried out mass demonstrations and strikes against their government's war drive.

While always denouncing the crimes of government sponsored violence everywhere, the workers movement should also reject in no uncertain terms the indiscriminate bombings of trains and buses, restaurants and theaters, office buildings and places of worship. Far from liberation they rob us of our humanity.

March 12, 2004