Maggie Schmitt, 2004:
Around the rest of Europe and the US the hypothesis that the bombings were produced by Al Qaeda was circulating since midday: here in Madrid the media has treated that hypothesis as a "subversive campaign" and suppressed it entirely. The government has called for a massive demonstration under the slogan "With the victims, For the Constitution, Against Terrorism." "For the Constitution," you must understand, is to say 'for the centralized state', perhaps even 'for the present government': the Spanish Constitution of 1978 was a compromise made to facilitate the transition from Francoism, but which left many (from the Left and from the autonomous regions) extremely dissatisfied. It continues to be a point of tension. Thus the demonstration proposed is a means of gathering up all the pain and fear and anger and confusion of the people and soldering this into a national consensus of support for the PP, a ban on any criticism. Three days before elections.
Now as I troll through newspapers all around the world, the hypothesis that Al Qaeda is responsible for the attacks seems more and more generally confirmed. Still the Spanish news insists on ETA. Who knows? As was the case with September 11th, to the degree that I don't have any access to the truth or any criteria for judging what is true and what is not in this case, what is important to think about is not so much 'who did it' as 'what are the consequences.' On the level of immediate consequences, many people from social movements breathed a sigh of relief to hear that Al Qaeda claimed the bombings: at least about that we have something to say. At least about that we can intervene, we can respond with things like: "This is the fault of the government that got us involved in a global war despite the opposition of 90% of the population." Or we can denounce them for having assumed it was ETA. Or we can group around the migrants' organizations, which will no doubt find themselves bombarded by a new intensified islamophobic criminalization.