So why were you inspired to paint this theme?
I heard of the tragic accident at Lac-Magentic with the whole town basically obliterated and grew curious to how this explosion happened. A train was parked by itself above the town, the conductor goes for a cup of coffee, the train runs away downhill and then blows up an entire town.
Who do you think is to blame in this tragedy?
Well definitely the policy of allowing one conductor to a train with hazardous material looks very foolish. I think the fact that this train carrying such type of explosive material should be under guard 24/7 to prevent such a catastrophe.
Isn’t guarding this oil 24/7 extreme?
Well, look at the situation this way, what if the explosion was intentional or had been intentional? The minimum thing MMA, a US based company, could do was at least guard the train. Looking at the statistics of declining train derailments from 3000 in 1980 to 500 in 2010, the advent of a terrorist connection is unlikely.
Has there been a major train terrorist attack post 9/11?
Yes, in 2004, terrorists hit a major train depot in Madrid. They blew up the four trains three days before the election and thanks to the initial bungled investigation of the PP, the party was overthrown in the elections.
Have you ever been close to a terrorist attack?
In fact, I landed a few hours after the terrorist bombing of the Madrid airport garage. We were stuck in the plane for an hour at least before they secured the airport for people to evacuate the planes. As we came out of the airport we saw 4-5 levels of the front of the garage blown up.
When I lived in Spain there were bombings by the local Basque terrorists called ETA. In 1993, they blew up seven people in a van in the streets of Madrid. Additionally, they set a second bomb next to the US and French Embassies, but the second bomb cause was unsolved. I lived about 6 km away at the time.
Why is ETA striking terror in Spain?
Well, Spain suffered a dictatorship after the Civil War in the 1930s. Franco used very repressive ways to eliminate other language groups and political competitors: anarchists, communists, socialists and regionalists throughout Spain with the exception of his native Galician. People were forced to learn only Castillian (what we know as Spanish that conquered the Americas). During the dictatorship of 42 years, the only political action was to use terror. In this case ETA formed to overthrow the dictatorship and establish themselves as a free country. After democracy the group continued in their terror campaign despite having achieved language protection, preservation and respect within Spain’s new democracy.
ETA mural in the Basque Country
March against ETA, 2010
Why do you think ETA continues?
In many ways it represents the poor transition to democracy in the 1930s and the continuation of the original Civil War of 1936-39. Hopefully one day the terror will end.
Is this work available?
Yes, at Toxic Cafe of Lac Magentic painting link.
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