The city of Madrid experienced its terrorist tragedy on 11th March 2004 at Atocha railway station, where 192 people died, and the city of Barcelona stood by its side. Barcelona also felt global terrorism on its streets this 17th August 2017, with fifteen confirmed dead up to now, and the city of Madrid has stood by its side. People, in the face of tragedies, are equal everywhere: kind and caring. Generous and close in the face of fatalities.
But of 11-M and the days that followed it, not only is the solidarity between citizens remembered. The manipulation of information about the authors of the attacks is also remembered, with the government of José Maria Aznar at the time trying to win the Spanish elections, just three days later, with the idea that it had been ETA; the exploitation of power, breaking the unity of political strength and imposing a supposedly unitarian agenda for those tragic hours; and also, the consensus to hold the 2004 elections with a clear message: that terrorism will not mark the electoral agenda. And it did mark it, a fact that must be retained for the future.
It is necessary to say before it is too late: there are many things that come to mind about those days between 11th and 14th March 2004. With a difference, there was a government of the PP (Popular Party) in power, but there was also an opposition prepared to face up to the speeches of Angel Acebes (then Interior Minister) & Co, as being in government was at stake. And the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party) took advantage of the PP's errors. The management of those three days gave them an electoral victory, bringing José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero to power by the largest number of votes ever obtained by the socialists.
Now there are not elections, but in Spanish politics and in a great deal of media there is something even more serious, such as the fact that the Catalans want to celebrate a referendum on 1st October. There are still many weeks left, and it was not necessary to start a dirty campaign that dealt with comparing the fight against terrorism with the referendum. But regrettably, with just 24 hours gone, even before the Mossos (Catalan police) successfully resolved the attempted terror attack in Cambrils, the campaign had begun. And since then it has not stopped. Trying to break the emotional fibre of pain that exists in Catalonia. Declarations, editorials, bulletins, cartoons ... it seems anything goes, whilst the vibrant civil unity that we have seen these days in Catalonia is to respect the pain and to maintain the solidarity.
A lively society such as the Catalan, knows how to find the right moment for each thing, and not allow itself to be distracted by cruel and perverse emotional blackmail. The clearest example was the call this Saturday for a large rally within seven days by the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, and the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau. The motto will be 'We are not afraid', an icon that the Catalan citizens have already made their own, in the midst of their deep grief. And there is no better response to tragedy, fanaticism, malice and insult than shouting it loud and strong: We are not afraid.