Sunday, March 11, 2007

GOOD PIECE by on the Wall Street Journal on Spain's current political scenario (requires subscription, but the link should work for a few days):
Shrouded in white canvas, the memorial commemorating the March 11 terrorists attacks will be unveiled outside Atocha rail station here tomorrow, the third anniversary. Though the exact design is secret, the high glass structure is said to reflect light at different angles in tasteful tribute to the 191 lives extinguished that day.

It will be out of place in Spain. The aftermath of 11M -- once eme, as that day in known in Spanish -- has been anything but tasteful. If America unified following 9/11, Spain split along sharply sectarian lines within hours of the commuter-train bombings. An election swung from the ruling and favored center-right Popular Party, whose support for the Iraq war the left quickly blamed for inviting terror, lost to the anti-American Socialists. The Islamist architects couldn't have hoped for a better result in striking three days before polling day. But those traumatic events have been followed by others, shifting the course of Spanish history in ways no one then imagined possible.
The outtro is quite blunt:
The dominant presence in this edgy Spain is the leader, Mr. Zapatero. With an undistinguished academic and political record, little travel experience and no foreign languages -- a man even Socialists didn't expect to win -- he was once dismissed as the "accidental prime minister." With the tensions currently building up in Spanish politics, the country can ill afford any more accidents.
Make sure you read the rest.