29 March 2004

Acting Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio (from Aznar’s outgoing govt) on CSPAN3 just about lost it when she was asked “Do you see Muslims viewing Spain differently than the rest of Europe?” I typed as she was talking and obviously couldn’t get it all, as there was not a single complete sentence in her answer:
(much coughing and fumbling for words)
Its true that Spain has an Arab Muslim influence that is unique among neighboring countries which does not mean in Spain we have been that aware in the last centuries… as I say we have lived… I would say going against our Arab roots or forgetting or turning our backs on that reality…. monuments ….Arab words in our vocabulary…Toledo …we cannot negate our roots but we have just lived far from this reality. What is true is that now Al Qaeda and these extremist groups tend to speak of Spain as Al Andalus and they view it as territory to be reconquered. This is an awkward idea present in many messages by Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
I think Spain can play a key role…. by recovering these roots we can play a role of being a conveyor belt… in a cultural relationship Mediterranean/European… Transatlantic… Latin American cultural ties with Spain …. cultural border shifting towards United States
Trails off, covers mouth, sinks wide-eyed behind microphone….

She also stood up for the rule of law and denounced the idea that there is terrorism with a small t and Terrorism with a capital T, that some terrorists have more moral standing and some terrorists have less. She says they all threaten the rule of law and no fine moral distinctions should be made between Al Qaeda, Hamas and ETA.