Today black ribbons appeared throughout Spain and Europe.
In the corner of the screeb of every national TV channel in Spain. In the corner of every local cable TV station in Spain.
On the banner of most national newspapers.
On the doors of many shops, retail chains, ministry of culture, museums, libraries.
In madrid the route of the concentration was overlooked by black ribbons hanging from the tower blocks.
In Valencia the people assembled with black ribbons either drawn on impromtu posters,
some reading "No to Terrorism!", "No to War", "Peace", "We are all Victims".
In barcelona black ribbons appeared earliest on the ministry of culture, and by four o' clock all shops in the central city had closed the largest chain stores flying catalan colours with a black ribbon. In addition to the posters, banners and graffiti that proclaimed "We are all Victims" and "we are with Madrid", small groups moved through the concentration at 7pm with a banner "Bush/Aznar and Al Qaeda are two sides of the same coin", I have to report that the silence was broken by applause from every section of the crowd.
I have to write, that today was not "Auturem La Guerra!" nor was it the general strike. It was supposed to be simply silent.
and so all shops closed with the notalbe exception of those who primarily serve the tourist. As a companion remarked only the tourists seemed to be light-hearted.
Specifically The Irish bars of C/Ferran remained open after Mc Donalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken had closed. The Pakistani souvenir stores which were the only to remain open during the general strike remained open.
But today was not a general strike.
As President (in functions) Aznar addressed the nation, a black ribbon hung on the flag behind him.
As he joined with the leaders of trade unions, the prince Felipe, and the former president of Catalonia, black ribbons were drawn on the banner, he _too_ held.
Black Ribbons mean something.
When parents cut black cloth and pin a ribbon on their small children and bring them out into the street, to stand in silence something has been meant.
March 11th, for the Spanish "M11" for the american 3/11 is an atrocity the scale of which will not properly be felt in any period of state sponsered mourning. The effects of 198 dead and 1400 wounded in a city a few million, in a country of less than 40 million reach into every town and neighbourhood.
They reached Ireland and the UK too.
They reached France, where the state has reacted exactly as the US did to 9/11 by putting the country on alert. By three in the afternoon all metro stations of Paris had been clamped down in displays of armed security and the posters "Basta YA!" had appeared on every pillar.
┐Have black ribbons reached the USA?
Mr bush has promised the assistance of the USA to Spain, in the same week that he has tossed the sod for a monument to mourning.
Madrid 11th of March was and is an atrocity.
and we are all victims, from those who collapsed the telecom system yesterday in frantic bids to locate relatives, to those who today saw their beliefs called into question our subject to cruel eye of prejudice.
I stood in silence with my Israeli companion in a row with three imams of this city and thought, there is much I could write, there is a lot I could throw out into the ether and cyberspace. But sometimes less is more.
We Are All Victims.