Saturday, April 03, 2004

Maybe Europe is Just a Target

The grand theory behind the bombing of Spanish trains is that the terrorism is in response to Spain's previous backing of the United States.

Ah. Previous. The March 11 bombings at Madrid's Atocha Station and on the trains that run out of it caused a change in elections towards electing a Socialist prime minister who vowed to pull Spainsh troops out of Iraq, pronto. This is what the terrorists wanted, right? Mission accomplished! So why this new planting of a bomb? Spain cannot possibly be in line for punishment for reacting as the terrorists wanted, could it?

No. Yet, once again, a bomb has been planted on the Madrid-Savilla line I rode twice just two months ago. The high-speed AVE trains had to be halted in their tracks as a bag on dynamite was detected on the tracks. But Spain is the world's friend now. Why is this happening?

Maybe the terrorism really has had nothing to do with the previous backing of the US. Maybe Islamic hatred of the West is sufficient. Spain is definitely a part of Western culture, with some 70% of Spanish citizens smoking American Marlboros, and even more talking on cell phones. Spanish nightlife is significantly more decadent than American partying, with Spanish youth drunk in the streets en mass on weekend nights.

Maybe there are enough lasting reminders of an earlier, more glorious Islamic presence to stir the kind of blind seething that spurs a desire for revenge. We toured the Alhambra in Grenada in January. It is a marvel to behold, and an amazing monument to the former Islamic power and wealth in Spain. See some of my pictures at the Alhambra.

The legend has it that as the last sheik left the Alhambra, he turned for one last glance and heaved a sigh. His mother, so the legend goes, scolded her defeated son thusly, 'may you cry like a woman for that which you failed to defend as a man'. The Wall Street Journal recently had an article about the Alhambra and Islamic terrorism against Spain. Unfortunately, I am not a WSJ susbcriber, so I cannot provide you with a link.

There are likely a million reasons for Islamic terrorists to have Europe as targets. French zeal for a homogenized monoculture- banning the burka at French schools- has created the most notable one recently. When revenge and jealousy is such a prevailing motive for planning a population's daily life, much of the world ought to take notice and consider whether or not their country is a potential target. We are beginning to see that being allied with the United States is not the greatest determining factor.

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