Tuesday, March 11, 2004 is a date many Spaniards will never forget. It was the day almost 200 people lost their lives and roughly 1,800 were wounded in explosions on multiple trains. It was the biggest terrorist attack ever suffered by Spain. The people to be held responsible for the crimes were never found nor charged.
The government that came to power right after the March 11 attacks did not try to solve the case and refused to point the blame at anyone (especially the ETA terrorist group). This inaction made the families of the victims and the Spanish nation feel abandoned. Spanish people needed closure which never came.
I've always thought that you can find a bit of good in every evil. Even though these attacks shocked the entire nation, I thought that they had the potential to bring the nation together; something that has not happened since the end of the Spanish Civil War when Spain became a dictatorship that essentially split us into two Spains. The country has been divided in socialist and conservatives ever since.
Unfortunately, my hope for union was wrong. In the days following the attacks there was a change, but as time passed by, people forgot about it, moved on, and separated again. This obscurity was felt this past March 11 when people demonstrated against a new work law that was recently passed. My first reaction was of acceptance, until I checked the date: I could not believe it. The mourning for the victims was forgotten.
This past March 11 turned into a of political battle. The labor union was at the head of the demonstrations and claimed that at least half a million showed up in Madrid, but the official count reduced the number to just 30,000. Strangely enough, the number of participants in every autonomic region was much higher when counted by the labor union, in contrast with the local police counts.
In my opinion, March 11, 2004 should always be honored as a day to remember the 2,000 victims. And, once in a while, we should forget about our differences and work united together for a more peaceful world.