Incredible compassion

I watched a programme on TV a couple of nights ago about the aftermath of the Madrid bombings on 11 March 2004. The bombs killed 192 people and injured 2050.

The programme followed the day of some of the victims, describing what happened before and after the bombs.

The bombs were placed on the floor, causing maximum damage to lower body parts. The description of the scene afterwards was like a picture of hell on earth. On one platform, bodies of people were stacked all over the platform. With just one doctor present on this particular platform to begin with, ordinary people who were in a position to do so, volunteered to look after the dying and wounded. There were about two people looking after every wounded person. And this is what I found very moving – the commentator said they would not budge from their charges under any circumstances! And this is what I find difficult to get my head around – at other times, the self-same “ordinary people” will support a war!

Although in this particular case, 80% of the Spanish people had been against being dragged into a war in Iraq. Their government had gone ahead none the less. For a long time after the bombing, the Spanish government lied about who were behind the attacks. They kept saying it was ETA, when all the evidence pointed to al Qaeda style bombers. The reason was that elections were coming up and they did not want to “alarm the people”. They wanted to be re-elected. In the event, Spanish demonstrators took to the streets in force and demanded the truth, which they eventually got – and the government was not re-elected.

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