Caught up in the trivia of my day-to-day activity it escaped me when I woke up yesterday that it was not just yet another day, but it was the 11th of March – or as it is now remembered here in Spain, 11-M.
I attended my language class in the morning, then went to my usual cyber cafe for coffee and to connect my laptop, check mail and make my diary entry. It wasn’t until I left the cafe and walked through town I realised yesterday was a nation in mourning.
9-11 spurred the US into even greater nationalism and an extravagant display of military power. Spain, as a reflection of its European culture and values, showed its grief in a different way. Here, absent are the commercialism of car stickers and lapel pins or the desire to seek violent revenge.
Yet Spain is no less repulsed and saddened by the events of a year ago. "Spain weeps for the March 11th victims", runs one news story, "Massacre in Madrid" runs another.
192 people died and over 1,500 were injured in Europe’s worst terrorist attack last year.
Last night I watched one of the news stations on TV and throughout the coverage the presenters remembered each and every victim – their name, their age and a small fragment of their life. One commuter usually drove, but their car had broken down and on March 11 last year they took the train into Madrid for the first time. Another victim had just fallen in love but never had the chance to introduce their loved one to their family. Another victim never saw their new born child.
The coverage was discreet but exceptionally poignant- one death, one story, one wasted life, as the journalist so poignantly said.
In Madrid’s El Parque de Retiro, is a monument to the victims killed in the early morning commuter rush attacks at Atocha, El Pozo and Santa Eugenia stations; 192 olive and cypress trees in a sculptural, architectural garden.
Today I went to a workshop held by Amyn Dahya, a scientist and author that teaches healing and self empowerment. Having been invited by some friends, I wanted to go as I am fascinated by holistic medicine and on a more superficial level, I thought it would be good to meet other people.
In his talk, Amyn focused on "living in the moment" – the only time we have any control over, and the only time when we can experience genuine joy. We have all heard it before I am sure, but we should never lose grasp of the desire to enjoy the moment. In a sad echo of yesterday’s remembrance of those that had died on 11-M, Amyn said that each day is a life. In the morning we are reborn into a new day of new possibilities and each evening we die. Each day is a life to be enjoyed and lived. It’s so hard to follow that advice, but when one thinks of the 192 victims of last years bombing and the 1,500 injured, each day truly is valuable.