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Catalonia and all of Spain are in a process of mourning and resistance. The attack on Thursday, August 17, on one of the busiest streets in Barcelona, Las Ramblas, left 13 people dead and continues to keep authorities on high alert. Residents and visitors of Barcelona, one of the most touristic cities in Europe, are in shock. Just a few hours afterwards, another attack followed on the resort city of Cambrils, where six people, including a policeman, were hurt and one died. The attack in Cambrils was stopped by Catalonia's security forces, the Mossos d'Esquadra, but its effect was strongly felt.
In spite of the recent events, Plaza Cataluña was packed with people who came out to honor the victims with a minute of silence. The homage ended with expressions of collective strength and solidarity reflected in the impromptu chant, No Tinc Por: We are not afraid.
Reflection and resistance
Soon Twitter echoed the people at the Plaza. Users shared several support messages under the hashtag, #NoTincPor, which became a global trending topic:
— The Invisible Man (@invisibleman_17) August 18, 2017
— Liz Castro (@lizcastro) August 18, 2017
# Barcelona #Notincpor Todos contra el terror que unos pocos quieren sembrar por el mundo!
— NoeCosta (@NoeCostaRiu) August 18, 2017
#Barcelona #Notincpor Everyone against the terror that a few want to sow in the world!
And the Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, emphasized:
— Ada Colau (@AdaColau) August 18, 2017
Fear will not triumph. We walk again at las #Ramblas and we will do it with freedom and love for our city and our lives. #NoTincPor
Others took time to write more extensively about the possible meaning of the attacks that have happened in Europe in the last years. Ideas of differences, migration policies, international alliances, recent history and the hard shock of losing innocent lives moved Martí Rodríguez Vidal, like many other online contributors, to share his reflections.
… la verdad -en toda su pureza y en toda su dureza- es que en días como hoy, lo que realmente le apetecería a uno es bajarse del mundo. […] Pero además, a uno le gustaría bajarse de esto por la tremenda pereza intelectual de hacer un juicio justo. De poner matices y no generalizar. Hay que buscar más causas que el puro odio irracional. Porque si sembramos la venda en los ojos, los pasos de página y las vueltas a la normalidad, recogeremos más atentados. Seguro. La dinámica terrorista está en marcha y se retroalimenta. […] ¿Quién, en una situación normal, toma la decisión de matar a desconocidos? […] ¿En qué momento piensa que los culpables de su fracaso social son los que le rodean? ¿Es posible que el que vive en el Raval pueda sentirse abandonado por la sociedad?
…the truth is — in all its purity and rawness — that on days like this, what really comes to mind is to step away from the world. […] But also, one would like to step away from this because of extreme intellectual laziness in the face of the effort it takes to come to a fair judgement. To look at nuances and avoid generalizations. We have to look for more causes other than pure irrational hatred. Because if we put a blindfold on our eyes, turn the page and go back to normal, we will get more attacks. Sure. The terrorist dynamic is ongoing and feeding itself. […] Who, in a normal situation, makes the decision to kill unknown people? […] In which moment does this person think that the people around him are guilty for his social failure? Is it possible that someone who lives in El Raval feels abandoned by society?
… los que tenemos el atrevimiento de escribir tenemos el deber de hablar de la esperanza. No por imperativo sintáctico, ni moral; sino por pura humanidad. ¿Saben que hoy un taxista musulmán ha hecho varios viajes para transportar a los afectados del atentado, no les ha cobrado nada y les ha dicho “no todos somos iguales”? ¿Que los hoteles de la zona del atentado han abierto sus puertas a los afectados y les han dado habitaciones gratuitamente?¿Que decenas de policías y Mossos de Esquadra se han jugado la vida por nuestra seguridad?¿Que en apenas un par de horas todos los hospitales han alcanzado el límite de la sangre que pueden almacenar por la respuesta masiva de la gente que ha ido a donar sangre?
Eso también son preguntas. Y son esperanza.
Those of us who dare to write have the duty to talk about hope. Not because of a moral or syntactic imperative, but simply for pure humanity's sake. Do you know that a Muslim taxi driver transported a lot of the people affected by the attack, he didn’t charge them and told them “not all Muslims are the same”; or that the hotels in the area opened their doors and made their rooms available for free? [Did you know that] dozens of policemen and Mossos de Esquadra (a local police force) risked their lives for our safety? Or that in a couple of hours all the hospitals reached the limit of blood they can store because of the massive response of people going to donate their blood?
Those are also questions. And they are also hope.
Online solidarity and respect for the victims
During the attack, Spain's national police force shared this note of thanks for the respectful treatment given to the victims:
GRACIAS a todos los medios y particulares que estáis pixelando y obviando imágenes duras de víctimas y de operativo policial. #RESPETO
— Policía Nacional (@policia) August 17, 2017
Thank you to the media and the users that are pixelating and putting aside harsh images of victims and the police operations. #RESPECT.
Today, Twitter user ‘Dora’ reported that the supermarket chain Caprabo, refused to sell Spanish newspapers with graphic images of victims.
— Dora (@scervell) August 18, 2017
Respect.In the image: Out of respect for the victims of yesterday’s attack in Barcelona, we won’t sell some of the newspapers that have sensationalist and explicit images on their first pages.
During police operations, social media also avoided sharing pictures and videos of the attack, both out of respect and also to avoid sharing sensitive information with the perpetrators. They were inspired by the people of Brussels, who after the attack they suffered in 2015, shared only pictures of cats and pets.
Expressions of solidarity online and the banding together of those in the city, seem to show that the people of Barcelona and its visitors will always remember Las Ramblas in the same way that beloved Spanish poet Federico García Lorca did:
La calle más alegre del mundo, la calle donde viven juntas a la vez las cuatro estaciones del año, la única calle de la tierra que yo desearía que no se acabara nunca, rica en sonidos, abundante de brisas, hermosa de encuentros, antigua de sangre: Rambla de Barcelona.
The most joyful street in the world, the street were all the four seasons live together. The only street I wish would never end. Rich in sounds, abundant in breeze, beautiful in its encounters, old in its blood: Rambla de Barcelona.
This article was published on Global Voices on August 18, 2017