Mario Vargas Llosa har en nydelig hyldningsartikkel til Madrid i Guardian Review. Og noe meget kloke ord om kampen mot terror. Latinamerikanere faller ikke så lett for den europeiske cant. De er mer vant til volden og gjennomskuer den.

Viva Madrid

Mario Vargas Llosa has always loved Spain’s capital, and, after the bombs, he hopes the country’s new government can prevent further damage to the city’s free spirit

Saturday March 27, 2004

Llosa beskriver utviklingen av Madrid fra en provinsiell, innadvendt by til en internasjonal metropol:

Madrid’s modernity is not only in its buildings, new developments, infernal traffic jams, proliferating fast food outlets, the piebald invasion of tourists, or the alert ear that can, in the queues at the Prado or at night around the Plaza Mayor, hear all the languages in the world. It is in the mental cosmopolitanism of its people who, in their diversity, have grown emancipated from the stigma of a «municipal» Madrilenian identity (as Rubén Darío would say) and who, like the people of London, Paris or New York, have become citizens of the world. Thus, in an exhibition at the Galería Moriarty, the Japanese photographer Atsuko Arai a couple of years ago could show how, without leaving the historic centre of town, the capital of Spain was a microcosm harbouring the landscapes and cultures of half the planet.

Det er denne frie, urbane spirit som terroristene angriper, samtidig som de utnytter den til sitt destruktive formål:

It has been this free spirit and this unblinkered mentality of an open city, hospitable and democratic, the emblem city of a remarkable transformation of Spain in the last quarter-century, that the fanatics sought to destroy, on the morning of March 11, when they placed in Atocha the bombs that have left more than 200 dead and 1,500 wounded – 12 nationalities, typically enough, being represented among the victims – in the most ferocious terrorist massacre suffered in Western Europe in modern history.

The killers were not mistaken in their target: today’s Madrid represents precisely the negation of the radical inhumanity of the obtuse, exclusive tribal spirit of fundamentalism, religious or political, which hates mixture, diversity and tolerance and, above all, liberty. This is the first European battle in a savage war that began exactly two years ago with the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, and whose inroads will probably fill with blood and horror a good part of this new century. It is a war to the death, of course, and owing to the present fantastic development of the technology of destruction and the fanatic, suicidal zeal that inspires the international movement of terror, it is perhaps a trial even more difficult than those represented by fascism and communism for the culture of liberty.

Compared to September 11 in the United States, the March 11 attack in Madrid has an added factor in terrorist strategy: apart from causing the largest possible number of deaths, the intention to influence the political life of the victim country. It achieved this: thanks to the savage massacre, a considerable number of Spanish voters, hurt and infuriated, voted for the opposition and overthrew the governing party, for which the surveys had assured an easy victory.

According to unanimous consent, they punished the Aznar government for supporting the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, which was always unpopular in Spain. In this way José María Aznar, a figure who had given the Spanish economy its greatest impetus since the transition to democracy, created four and a half million jobs, modernised institutions and gave Spain a presence and dynamism on the international scene it had not had since the 17th century, was humiliated and made the scapegoat of the bestial rage of al-Qaida. Of such ingratitude is democracy made, and this defeat recalls the one inflicted on Winston Churchill, who had saved the United Kingdom from Hitler and won the war, only to be sent after the 1945 elections to paint watercolours in the South of France.

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