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The fact that, two years after the tragic attacks on Barcelona and Cambrils, relatives of the victims have appeared on the Rambla with placards bearing the slogan We want to know the truth shows that, at the least, something has not been done as well as it should have been. That August 17th, 2017 changed many things, many lives were lost and there is the impression, as time goes on, that there is a fear of finding out just what it was that failed. The suspicions about the imam of Ripoll and his relationship with the Spanish security services as an informer have not been conclusive. The sustained refusal by the three political parties that underpin Spain's 1978 constitution - the PSOE, the PP and Cs - to create an investigative commission in Congress has only generated new doubts about the real reasons for the stubbornness of these groups.

The commemoration in the La Rambla, austere and brief as requested by the families, was held in the presence of the Catalan authorities and with the notable absences of king Felipe VI and Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez, who unlike in 2017 and 2018, did not interrupt their holidays and delegated the interior minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska. When the focus weakens, and the passing of time has a lot to do with that, the institutional disputes of the past disappear and it becomes clearer that everything was very forced.

It is at this moment that, beyond the tragedy of the attack, which will leave its mark for many years on the residents of Barcelona and Cambrils for having found themselves at the epicentre of terrorist barbarism, what persistently stands out is the invaluable response of the Mossos d'Esquadra, which appeared as the Catalan police force that had been envisioned, capable of an exhaustive reaction to such an exceptional situation as this one. And at the head of that force, Catalan interior minister Quim Forn, who has now been in preventative prison for 654 days, and police chief Josep Lluís Trapero, still awaiting his trial on a charge of rebellion, which is due to start at the National Audience court on January 20th.

In any other country, Forn and Trapero would, these days, be at the centre of tributes and continuing gratitude. Here, one of them is in prison for a crime he did not commit, and the other has been removed from his position and awaits trial. This column written in homage to the victims of the attack is also a tribute to Forn and Trapero. Thank you, minister; thank you, chief.

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