Tombers is the President of Intermat,
Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection
of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced
the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for
the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the
Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat
recently sold METEORS TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael
ORourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television
movie. Visit his
web site at http://www.intermat.tv
Blood on the Streets, Just Not Here Thursday began with the
staccato beat of bad news from Spain, where a series of explosions
ripped through a line of railcars during the rush hour in
Madrid, destroying nearly two hundred lives while wounding
fourteen hundred others.
Blame was, early on, put on Basque Separatists though news
reporters were careful to state that if indeed this was the
act of the separatists, it marked a serious departure from
their general tactics.
When I saw the events on television while sipping my morning
coffee and while doing my morning e-mails I thought: this
is Madrid's 9/11. Unfortunately, it seemed all too prescient
a thought as later in the day it was revealed that responsibility
for the tragic events was claimed by Al Qaida and not the
My heart ached for Madrid, a city I have visited several times
and whose streets I have strolled and whose museums I have
admired. It is a city that has been reborn in the years since
Franco, transforming itself from a faded beauty to a cosmopolitan
This, I am afraid, may be the price they are paying for having
sided with us on Iraq. What better way to make a statement?
Spain is not as tightly guarded as Britain, a country that
has more experience with terrorist activities than any other
in the world perhaps.
As Spain suffered, our news gave it weight but not precedence.
We sailed straight into the ongoing Martha drama, the controversy
over gay marriage, the demand from the Bush Campaign that
Kerry offer an apology for calling some Republicans ?crooks?,
a train wreck in Queens where one went runaway.
As the day went on I found myself wondering what it was that
was bothering me regarding the Madrid story. By evening I
had the answer: I was not getting enough information from
the U.S. news channels to satisfy me.
And with the realization that this may well have been an attack
by Al Qaida I felt I wanted to know even more. I felt a unity
with Madrid based in the fact I was in New York, when 9/11
came. Nothing I saw on U.S. television took me inside the
event. And having been inside that event, I wanted, needed
to feel inside this event.
God love the BBC as their coverage took me there and helped
me be in Madrid. Whether it was ETA or Al Qaida it was an
act of terrorism and the results of terrorism is something
I have seen in the face. The weeping faces in Madrid were
like the weeping faces I saw coming up West Broadway from
the World Trade Center. The lines of people giving blood were
like the lines of people giving blood in New York.
It is the reality of our world; it is part of the new ?normal?
that has become part of our lives, a reality that terror must
now be thought of on a daily basis as a genuine threat and
a real possibility.
Certainly I thought of it as I rode the subway up from downtown
to my office and will think of as I ride it again tomorrow
and every day until there is a time when terror is not part
of our lives ? and that, I am afraid, will not come in my
There is a part of me that wants to go to Madrid and stand
with them at one of their vigils, hold a candle with them
and say prayers with them. As Al Qaida claimed responsibility
for Madrid, it also announced it was 90% finished with planning
another attack on the United States. Wall Street plunged on
the news of possible Al Qaida involvement and whether it was
ETA or Al Qaida, hundreds are hurt and too many are dead.
One of the Spanish individuals interviewed by the BBC said,
"All of Spain was riding on that train."
Not just all of Spain was riding on that train but all of