The Madrid bombings should be Europe’s 9/11. But do we really feel as if we have been hit? Or did we respond more spontaneously and emotionally when the victims were in New York? And if this is Europe’s 9/11, what’s Europe going to do about it? asks Timothy Garton Ash in the Guardian.
Part of his answer:
A great deal will obviously depend on who was responsible for the attack. If it was al-Qaida, then few will doubt that this is Europe’s 9/11. Those commuters will have been murdered as punishment for the sins of the west. (No matter that the innocent victims included Muslims from north Africa now living in the suburbs of Madrid. Don’t bother Islamist terrorists with such details.) To prevent future attacks will require even closer cooperation between European police and intelligence services, and Europe-wide immigration and asylum procedures. We will finally wake up to the fact that Islamist terrorism is a threat geographically closer to us than to America. It will be clear what Europe has to do, although no easier to do it.
There will also be a deeper case for European solidarity. If Aznar’s government is being singled out for joining what al-Qaida calls the “Crusader-Zionist alliance” in the Iraq war, the lesson to be learned in this moment is not that no European government should ever participate in any action in the Muslim world for fear of reprisals. It’s that Europeans should stick closer together, one way or the other.
He has some other important points to make.