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after 20 years

after 20 years

Time passes inexorably. It has always done it, it is the fate of living. He leaves his marks, sometimes weak, sometimes deep. Although we don’t want to see or sense them. It all depends on the perspective and the moment in which we live. That morning of an incipient spring that we will never forget, several explosions shook the lives of 192 people, and left more than 1,800 injured. A tragedy unfolded that tore our soul as a people, as a society and even as a country. Silence and rage. Anguish and pain. Dismay and horror. Then the worst, the political disagreement. Misery and a certain feeling of nausea and shipwreck of principles, values ​​and respect.

Minutes and hours that stunned us, that plunged us into disbelief, into silent rage, into manifest but calm indignation. The trickle of news increasing the numbers of victims was incessant. The first images of the trains reduced to a twisted mass of iron and sheet metal, of blood and smoking blackness broke us inside. I remember the looks and the countenance of the people who said everything without having to speak. Sensitivity and emotionality, need for comfort. No words or tears were needed.

It was the largest criminal and miserable attack suffered in Spain. A tremendous blow, in the very verticality of a country that in 72 hours would go to the polls. A why, a how it is possible and a who has committed this abject, savage, merciless crime. Anonymous people, citizens, men and women, adolescents and children, retirees, the pulse and x-ray of our society was on those trains. We were all there, because we could all be on those trains. An indiscriminate and murderous attack. Planned on trains that became trains of death and horror. Only a few seconds separated the fact that the train that exploded on Téllez Street did not do so at the Atocha station and on a parallel track to another train that did explode with the intention of trapping the travelers waiting on the platforms. They had planned it to kill, to murder and take as many lives as possible.

I remember where I was, what I did, what I felt, who I called and who I thought of in those initial seconds. All of us who were in Madrid, as in the rest of this dull country, did the same. Overwhelmed, overwhelmed by the drama and what was seen coming. Thunderous silence in the streets, in offices, in universities, in schools. Citizen mobilization that wanted to help, donate blood, do whatever. Always peaceful, always based on solidarity and help. What a lesson those hours, that day. That afternoon, the smoke of death had dissipated and when the number of victims and pain was slowly approaching 200 victims, Madrid was still stunned by the incomprehension of unparalleled brutality.

Time stopped that fateful day for hundreds of families. Life and death became closer to everyone. We were more aware of what barbarism, violence, and terrorism are capable of causing. They hit us in our hearts. There were no explanations or whys. Just bombs ready to kill, like all of them. To innocents. We could all be on those trains. Regardless of religion, ideology or occupation.

Twenty years later, there remains an intense memory of that day and the days that followed where everything was tinged with meanness and a certain political and media contamination. Days where our democracy felt violated and where our society was tense to unthinkable extremes. It is advisable not to forget it. Fear, uncertainty and the human being’s own need to know the reasons why they explain or try to explain an atrocity of that caliber made their way with a lot of anger, indignation and in some extremes with behaviors that should never be admissible. That Friday the 12th, that sad and rainy afternoon in that demonstration, many gave vent to their rage, their indignation and to demand the truth.

I think now of the victims. Those who lost their relatives, parents, children, brothers, grandparents, etc. I think and wonder, without intending to invade their privacy, how they are, what these years have been like, how they have suffered the piercing pain of the death of their loved ones, of the days of that commission of inquiry where Spain was overwhelmed by the words by Pilar Manjón that exposed the politicians themselves.

March 11th. The silence of absence, the memory that fades in our mind, the voice that hammers and that we no longer perceive in its real clarity. Injuries that do not heal, that scar the soul. Aftermaths with which we learn to live and feel, through the pores of our skin, our feelings. The victims gave us a lesson in living, in humanity and courage in times where everything is relativized.

A date marked forever in our lives. I look at my children and see them with their whole lives ahead of them. Many times I have spoken to you about the madness of terrorism, the falsehood of wars and the lies about them and that they are killing, massacring or causing carnage. The tragedy in short, of the human being, the wolf towards himself and others. The tragedy of human fragility but also what the banality of evil is capable of. Twenty years have passed, but for the families it is just another day, not the photo of the politicians and the serious and apparently sad faces wearing laurel wreaths. The victims no longer cry for a long time, but they do suffer unspeakably in the loneliness of the hours and the heartbreaking and cold absence of those who did not return. The rest, politics.