Hush, Memory

Publicado el

A TALL structure, vaguely temple-shaped and covered with long sheets of canvas, stands on a busy intersection right by the Atocha railway station, in downtown Madrid, where bombs planted in commuter trains went off on the morning of March 11, 2004, killing 191 people. This memorial to the victims of that terrorist attack will undoubtedly be completed long before the one in New York for those killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Yet the actual memory of the Madrid dead seems to have faded from Spain’s public consciousness much faster than the sorrow and mourning for those who died in Lower Manhattan.

As a Spaniard living in Madrid and in New York, I must confess to a feeling of envy, a kind of civic melancholy. You will hardly find any stories about March 11 in Spanish newspapers, let alone in books or documentary films. The police and the judges here did their jobs with remarkable alacrity and efficiency, and most of the terrorists involved in the attacks have been in jail for some time now. And yet there seems to be a void at the center of the events of those days.