The terror van that killed 13 pedestrians at La Rambla stopped right in the promenade’s mosaic by
Joan Miró, an acclaimed Spanish painter who was a native of Barcelona
By Rose Maramba
It was not unexpected at all. Last Thursday, 17 August, Barcelona has joined the tragic ranks of many European cities that have fallen victim to senseless, sadistic, deadly terrorism. In 2016-2017 alone, these include Ansbach (Bavaria), Berlin, Brussels, London, Manchester, Munich, Nice, Paris, Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray (Normandy), Stockholm . . .
Realistically speaking, the list will grow longer before it is eradicated. In fact, immediately after Barcelona, an 18-year old Moroccan knifed to death two Finnish women and wounded six other Finns, a Swede and an Italian in Turku, Finland. Finnish authorities are investigating the crime as a terrorist attack. The perpetrator was shot in the leg and brought to a hospital. Four other suspects have been arrested.
In the Barcelona attack, there were 13 fatal victims; over a hundred were injured. Thirteen of the injured are in critical condition.
The attack started at 4:50 PM at the height of the tourist season, in a most popular – and therefore crowded – tourist place, La Rambla. A 1.2 km tree-lined promenade that begins at Plaza de Catalunya and ends at the beautiful waterfront harbor of Port Vell. Along 600 meters, a van plowed into the pedestrians, sowing panic and leaving scores dead. The police suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub, a 22-year old Moroccan living in the Catalan province of Girona, as the driver of the van. The Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy calls it a jihadist attack. ISIS claims responsibility.
It was horrendous but the well-organized terrorist cell in Catalonia wasn’t content with committing just their one barbaric crime in La Rambla. At 1:15 am the next day, Friday, another vehicle carrying five terrorists was out for a vicious repeat of the attack, this time in Cambrils, a resort town 120 km south of Barcelona. They killed one person and injured five others, three of whom were officers of the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force.
This brings the victims’ death toll in Catalonia to 14, not counting security forces’ fatalities.
The brutality of this barbarism is of such magnitude – regardless of the number of victims – that no amount of condemnation would ever suffice. But they’ll never win. No hate crime, no matter how lethal, can prevail. Plain and simple humanitarianism always predominates. Amid the pain and indignation caused by terrorism, simple human kindness has always shone through.
When following the attack at La Rambla central Barcelona was cordoned off by the police, hotels and tourist apartments in the area offered free lodging to the hundreds of people who were fenced in. Private citizens offered their homes through a campaign on Twitter under the hashtag “#Bedinbarcelona”.
People brought drinks of water to refresh the policemen guarding the blocked off part of the city in the August heat. They brought food and drink to those who were trapped for hours in the traffic jam caused by the shutting of central Barcelona.
People queued to donate blood. So much so that the Banc de Sang i Teixits was soon informing the donors that the blood bank now had more than sufficient supply to deal with the emergency.
For free cab drivers transported the injured from the scene of the savage attack to hospitals. A dying man was picked up by a motorcyclist and rushed to the hospital. Lawyers’ associations offered free legal assistance to the victims and their families.
If the terrorists would only look, they’d see their savagery only brings out the best in people. They’re going to reap no converts nor cow people into submission to their cause, what ever that is exactly. As Catalonia, and the whole of Spain, declares
Featured image: Jaume Meneses, CC BY-SA2.0
Cambrils/Javierme Mediavilla Ezquibela, CC BY-2.5
Donors/Banc de Sang Facebook page (facebook.com/donarsang)
Mass/lamoncloa.gob.es, Pool Moncloa