The horrid events in Barcelona last week appear to have reached their conclusion, with the shooting of the homicidal van driver by the Catalonian police, the Mossos d'Esquadra. There is some political and social fallout still to come, no doubt (including a squabble over who should be present in the solemn ‘no tinc por – we aren’t afraid’ Barcelona march on Saturday), but the greatest effect on all of this may be on tourism.
Spain has known that it was – and is – a perfect target for the nihilism of the jihadists. This fine country is easily attacked, as it relies so heavily on tourism – an industry that can, under certain circumstances, disappear pretty much overnight. Perhaps those that visit the cities with their monuments and museums are a different type of visitor to those who choose the beach and its attractions. Perhaps the fear will be contained. ETA knew this, with its bombs in Benidorm and the Costa Blanca during the eighties and nineties. The simple tourist, looking for time with his family, away from the drab factory workplace, will be quickly convinced to change his travel plans following the threat of an attack (the foreign resident, of course, will stay put, with his heels dug in).
How can we stop these creatures? Bollards may stop a swerving truck here, but how about there? Do we need more police... or more ‘intelligence’... or more controls...? Should we concentrate just on tourism – are other areas less likely to be attacked? What about some other alternate but equally vile plan from the jihadists to bring us down – poisoning the water or kidnapping someone famous? Presumably, someone somewhere is hatching a fresh plot right now. Meanwhile, as both feared and anticipated, we have a small but growing call for some form of massive institutional violence on our part, a pogrom or even a war. We are discovering hatred growing on our side, on what should be the Side of Reason. Racism, ignorance and bigotry. The terrorists had planned a larger attack, says The Local here, including a plan to destroy the Sagrada Familia. That would have probably tipped the Spanish into entertaining the most terrible reaction.
Meanwhile, the political parties have broadly agreed to an ‘anti-jihadist pact’, which Podemos has sent observers to, but won’t join. The Government of the Partido Popular, says Podemos, is blithely doing business with several Middle Eastern sponsors of terrorism. Maybe if we did attack them, they would use those very weapons we have been selling them for decades against us.