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Constitutional conventions: best practice

After the devastating March 2004 terrorist attacks on Madrid, openDemocracy writers from Spain, Lebanon, Morocco, and Britain assess their impact on the national, European and global landscape. *One year later, see openDemocracy’s new debate on Democracy & Terrorism in collaboration with an international summit in Madrid on democratic responses to terrorism.

The Madrid blasts, ten years later

In the tenth anniversary of the attack on Madrid’s rail network, Diego Muro analyses the consequences of the blasts for both the European Union and Spain. "Europe’s 9/11", he says, contributed to the decline of the Basque group ETA and to the creation of new mechanisms of coordination and cooperation at the European level.

Terrorism in historical perspective

All human beings are locked into a conflict that will endure for decades, the outcome of which is not certain. In face of it, says Fred Halliday, citizens need five resources: a clear sense of history; recognition of the reality of the danger; steady, intelligent, political leadership; the building of mass support for resistance to this major threat; and above all, a commitment to liberal and democratic values.

(This article was first published on 22 April 2004)

Spain's politics of memory

The Madrid train-bombings on 11 March 2004 provoked a dignified outpouring of collective grief. But the moment was soon reclaimed by Spain’s enduring political warfare over the national past, says Guy Hedgecoe.

Spain's 11-M and the right's revenge

The Madrid massacre of 11 March 2004 was the prelude to the political defeat of Spain’s political right. Two years on, says Mariano Aguirre, it is deploying a conspiracy theory about 11-M as part of its comeback.

Dreaming of Spain: migration and Morocco

Morocco matters. Its Islamist-secularist tensions, huge resource-pool of aspiring migrants to Europe, intimate relationship with Spain, and experience of terrorism place the North African country at the heart of current global concerns. In Tangiers, Ivan Briscoe discovers a link between its political frustrations and the longing of so many of its people for escape.

Madrid through American eyes

In the election after the terrorist atrocity of 11 March, Spain’s people rallied against government lies and bad anti-terrorist policies. An American scholar in Madrid compares the American reaction to 9/11 and asks whether his compatriots can learn from the Spanish example.

America and the Iraq war, or thinking 'inside out'

The seizure of United States foreign policy by neo-conservatives made possible the Iraq war. The result has been a disaster for the international community. After the Madrid bombs, Spanish citizens sounded the alert. Will Americans follow?

Atocha: a view from Washington

The shared horror and sympathy following the Madrid terrorist bombings reveal a transatlantic relationship alive but in need of unity against a common enemy, says John C. Hulsman of the Heritage Foundation.

Madrid in the world's eyes

The terrorist atrocities in Madrid on 11 March, and the national election three days later, raise hard questions for Spaniards and Europeans, for Muslims and world citizens. What should they – we – do? openDemocracy invited 100 people from twelve countries to discuss the meaning and implications of these events. Caspar Henderson summarises a quietly passionate discussion.

Morocco and Spain: united by tragedy?

Moroccans in Spain were victims of the Madrid bombs and, it seems, also perpetrators. How will the relationship between the two states, equally ambiguous, be affected?

Terrorism, democracy and Muslims after the Madrid bombs

openDemocracy responds to the 11 March bombings in Madrid with a swift, intelligent online discussion involving eight writers from six countries. Was the Spanish people's election of a new government an act of cowardice or a mighty democratic roar? What does Europe need to do, both to meet the danger and to include its Muslim communities?

A victory for Spain, not al-Qaida

The proximity of the Madrid blasts and the electoral defeat of Spain’s ruling party has been interpreted as a victory for terrorism. For Ivan Briscoe in Madrid, this is a profound misunderstanding of what happened in Spain.

The electoral victory of Spain’s Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE), three days after the devastating train bombings in central Madrid that killed over 200 citizens, was astounding.

Spain's shame

The Spanish people responded to the Madrid massacre by voting in a government opposed to the “war on terror”. An act of surrender and dishonour, says Douglas Murray.

ETA after Madrid: the beginning of the end?

Even if it is exonerated of responsibility for the pre-election Madrid massacre, the militant Basque group that has waged a thirty-six year struggle against the Spanish state faces a difficult future.

Why the Spanish government lost

The defeat of the ruling party in the Spanish elections three days after the attacks in Madrid on 11 March marks an extraordinary and unexpected turnaround. A founder of “El Pais”, Spain’s premier national newspaper, assesses the reasons for the government’s defeat and looks to the future of democracy in Europe.

First lessons from Spain

The Madrid bombings have taught us a powerful lesson: the ‘war on terror’ plays into the hands of its enemies. Politicians must learn to be modest in the face of those who perpetrate • “jihad”.

How to say 'no' to terrorism

The real challenge of terrorism is to the quality of Europe's democracy. A response fueled by unchecked power can become fuel for a global civil war. There is, there must be, a better way.

The Madrid bombings: the 'war on terror' comes to Europe

The implications of the "11-M" bombings go far beyond the Madrid carnage. In the heart of Europe, coordinated security failed to detect the coordination of terror. The impact on Washington’s wider war will be substantial.

Living through terrorism

The attack in Madrid should not be looked at as only European, or even only political, but in the context of a human chain of being and responsibility.

Madrid 3/11: democracy after atrocity

The death of 200 people in Spain’s worst-ever terrorist attack is a landmark in the country’s politics as well as its modern history.
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