Next weekend sees the 8th anniversary of the Madrid bombings. In many respects it will be a normal Sunday. Football matches will of course be played, many restaurants will be open, theatres and cinemas too. It's really business as usual, you could argue about whether that's a good or a bad thing - but that's the reality. There will also be the institutional ceremonies to mark the anniversary. And there will be the habitual attempts by sections of the right-wing press and the Partido Popular to use the bombings as a political weapon against their opponents, and if possible to earn a bit of money from it in the process.
This latter tradition has already begun, with a noisy campaign launched against the decision by Spain's trade unions to hold fresh protests against the government's labour market reform on March 11th. Government ministers and the Delegada del Gobierno in Madrid have claimed that the decision to hold the protests on this day shows a "lack of respect" for the victims. But surely, you'll be thinking, such a fuss is being made because it's not normal for demonstrations with a high political content to be held around the time of the anniversary of the bombings? Ah well, that seems not to be the case. It all depends who is doing the organizing. Did you spot the future prime minister?
All the talk about respecting the victims, coming from these people, is just a bit too much to take after 8 years of fabricated conspiracy theories. The largest association of 11M victims has already publicly disassociated itself from these pathetic attempts to use the victims of the bombings as a battering ram against the trade unions. But for those in the PP who like to claim to speak on behalf of the victims these people simply don't exist. The same victims association refused to swallow any of the conspiranoico nonsense that we have had to put up with for so long, with the result that they were denied public funding by those governing Madrid.
Perhaps it was their refusal to use such public funds to organise fraudulent demonstrations against Zapatero's government that has always counted against them, as they preferred to use their resources to assist their members. It's as if they don't exist. Alongside all of those victims who still carry shrapnel in their bodies as a reminder of that fateful day in 2004. The conspiracy theorists insist that no shrapnel was used in the bombs that exploded, so that's a another group of victims whose very existence must be denied. With the greatest possible respect, you understand.
Now I've never been a huge fan of those who have claimed that the Spanish right is somehow different from its European counterparts. Largely because such claims usually involve exaggerating the democratic credentials of the right in other countries to make the point. However, in the case of 11M it is the absolute absence of any kind of ethical baseline that does seem to mark a difference. I'll try to be fair, there are a few (far too few) on the Spanish right who find this repugnant exploitation of 11M to be too much and some have said so. The problem is that they are like voices in the wilderness, almost unheard.
You look for some sign of someone saying "perhaps we've gone a bit too far this time" but it's just not there. The 'todo vale' ruthless cynicism that we see suggests that life in a moral vacuum doesn't seem to affect the health of those who live in it at all. Just their judgement. It's sad and tiresome. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I'm still writing posts like this one after so many years of the same cynical, manipulative shit from these people. Then the new conservative attorney general throws a meaty bone to the hungry hounds by opening a formal investigation based on another piece of pseudo journalism from Libertad Digital. There will always be a few more bloodstained eurillos to be squeezed from inventing fake news stories, and a few more petty political points to be scored from Spain's worst ever terrorist attack. All because the subsequent election didn't turn out the way they wanted. That, you see, is what they call respect for the victims.