By Ryan Harrison
A BRITISH-born academic lecturing in Palma this week, yesterday defended the Spanish reaction to the Madrid bombings.
Speaking at the 26th Annual Mediterranean Conference, Dr. Marcus Tye said that unlike America's knee-jerk reaction to terror, the Spanish were more measured. A Professor of Psychology at Dowling College in New York, he said: “The Spanish electorate were more responsible and nuanced in their reaction compared to the US.” He put this partly down to the Spanish having already experienced terrorism first hand, which gives them the chance to build up what he called ‘coping mechanisms.* “People who have experienced violent events can develop a cultural resilience.” “The US never had organised terror before September 11, so there was not the opportunity for people to develop these coping mechanisms,” he said. His comments come only days after Spain's former Prime Minister blamed the Madrid train bombings for the dramatic swing in voting. Jose Marie Aznar, whose party was ousted by the Socialists three days after the terrorist attack, admitted on Tuesday there was a direct link between the bombs and the result. Dr. Tye said: “From a psychological view-point, if demands are met on an individual level, say giving a hostage-taker his single demand, this would increase such activity.” “However, on a national level it is different. Separist groups in Spain have specific demands, but the terrorists behind the recent attacks do not. So I think responding to attacks, like those in Madrid, by backing away is not necessarily reinforcing the use of those attacks.” He warned that the US reaction to strike immediately, following an attack, is a dangerous tendency. “The unique history of the 20th Century has meant that Spain and the US react differently,” he added. After the Madrid train bombings on March 11, that killed 191 and injured 1'900, there was a public outpouring of emotion across Spain. Dr. Tye, who is speaking at his first Dowling Conference, said that although this was also the case in America for the September 11 attack, the main difference was in the Americans' war-mongering. “The danger of patriotism in America is that a large majority of people have rallied around Bush, but haven't examined the policies.” He added: “Europe has a different form of patriotism, partly due to European integration.” Speaking at the 26th Annual Dowling College Mediterranean Conference in Palma yesterday he said he was excited about the event. “It's great to be here with brilliant scholars from all over the world.” The conferences continue tomorrow at the Soller Museum, with talks on Majorca's contribution to archeology and population movement in the Mediterranean.


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