Friday, 18 August 2017

Barcelona: Another city, another tragedy

So another group of innocent people has been mindlessly killed, and numerous others have been injured ... and one has the question 'Why?' What did the perpetrators hope to achieve? Martyrdom? Revenge? If the latter, what supposed act was being avenged?

I first visited Barcelona in the mid 1960s when – like so many others – my family went on a package holiday to Spain. We stayed in a hotel along the coast from Barcelona, and travelled there by train for a day trip. Franco was still 'El Caudillo', and Catalonia sometimes seemed like an occupied country. During the daytime this was not obvious, but at night time there were regular army patrols along the beach and local roads. We were told that they were there to prevent smuggling ... but not what the smugglers were bringing in.

It was many years later that I returned to Barcelona, but since then my wife and I have been back there several times. We have walked up La Rambla, visited several of the cafés that line it, shopped in some of the stores in the Plaça de Catalunya, and wondered – somewhat frivolously – how the numerous living statues manage to make a living.

Our thoughts are with the families of the dead and injured as well as with all those people who have been affected by this terrible event.

One would hope that this will be last of these such attacks ... but I am terribly afraid that it won't be.

I wrote the above last night, just before I went to bed. I had originally intended to publish it right away, but for some reason I decided not to, just in case the situation became clearer overnight. It has ... and it would appear that the attack in the centre of Barcelona was part of a bigger, co-ordinated series of attacks, at least some of which have been foiled by the Police.

According to the BBC the casualties include people from Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Taiwan, and that the so-called Islamic State (or as I prefer to call them, Daesh, the Arabic acronym for the 'organisation') is claiming that the attacks were carried out by some of its 'soldiers'.

It has yet to be determined if the latter is true, or whether or not this appalling act of needless violence was committed by people who took their inspiration from the distorted and perverted view of the world that the leaders of Daesh continue to propound. Regardless of this, the second to last sentence of my original draft remains true ... at this time our thoughts must be with the families of the dead and injured as well as with all those people who have been affected by these terrible events


  1. Bob, I fear you will be posting these comments for a longtime to come.I love Barcelona and have been a regular visitor for many years. The vibrancy and life of the place is wonderful.The same can be said of so many wonderful European cities where ordinary people are 'just' enjoying life. Clearly the mindset of these pathetic individuals cant handle such a concept.

    1. Robbie Rodiss,

      I suspect that you are right; this campaign of violence is not going to end soon.

      In recent years I have visited almost everywhere that has been attacked over recent years: Stockholm, Barcelona, Nice, and - of course - central London. None of them - or the people who were there - deserved to be targeted by terrorists.

      All the best ... and keep safe,


  2. Displacement. France had been hit enough times to the point that they now have things locked down tight. Germany is probably in a similar state. So they hit another neighbor. They do this for the same reason all bigots act. "Because they are not like us." For the record, I prefer the "Un-Islamic State" because they are Muslims in name only.

    1. John,

      You are certainly right that Daesh is un-Islamic; its version of the religion is one of hate ... hate of everything and everybody who isn't 100% like them.

      I suspect that you are also right that as one country tightens up its ability to counter actual and potential terrorist threats, the terrorists will look elsewhere for soft targets.

      All the best,



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