Madrid, March 11, 2004

by Julio Lopez Saguar

Alonso Martínez Station
Julio Lopez Saguar © 2004


I would like to symbolize yesterday’s attacks in Madrid with this image. I took this photograph yesterday at Alonso Martínez station, about an hour after the attacks. Many should not have been there. I should not have been there; I should have been in Atocha station half an hour earlier.

There are nearly two hundred people in the picture, approximately the same number of casualties. It is quite a diverse group not very different from the group of people that was traveling on the fateful trains. We were very lucky.

I have been traveling all across Madrid for 35 years using the public transport, as a photographer and observer I take a good look at my surroundings everyday. Whether inside the wagon of a suburban train or a subway train it is the same kind of crowd.

I could picture that girl with the headphones listening to the latest CD from the band Estopa; the kid with the marker skimming before morning class, and next to him there is a girl about 18 going through the traffic rules book before taking her drivers test. A South American immigrant reading a free paper, his discolored hands giving away yesterday’s long hours of work. A group of women in their 50’s loudly commenting on the meal they are cooking, the clothing they have to iron or singer Isabel Pantoja’s latest scandal. Behind them a tanned man sleeping profoundly, his face pressed against the window but not bothering the 30 year-old mother sitting next to him that has her daughter sitting on her lap; she is on the way to drop her off at the nursery before going to work. Standing further in the back is a woman reading a book, and despite her evident pregnancy no one offers her a seat; some people just stare, others are absorbed by their newspapers, three boys in their 20’s -one of them wearing a suit but carrying a backpack- talks enthusiastically about Zidane’s goal in yesterday’s match.

There are people from every corner of the world: Ukrainians, Polish, North Africans, Colombians and Ecuadorians, people from La Mancha, Extremadura, Leon and Madrid; people of every trade: construction workers, waiters, secretaries, salespeople, executives. A cell phone rings and a 15-year-old girl answers, bringing that special smile into her face, we can imagine who she is talking to. Another 20 year-old is sending a message, a middle aged man avidly reads his sports newspaper …suddenly there is a great blast and I can’t imagine anything else... I am crying and the cell phones keep on ringing...

Julio Lopez Saguar

Exterior and Hall of the Atocha station. People have constantly been gathering here over the last days and have turned the station into a real shrine.