Waking up last week to the news of a terror attack in Barcelona was jarring. Beyond having just visited the Catalan capital in May of this year, it is also a place considered a “home away from home.”
While living in the New York City metropolitan area, Barcelona became an annual vacation getaway – including this last trip, there have been a total four visits. There was even a point where people would ask, “Why would you go to the same place over and over again?” or “You need to see other places” – which is very true. However, there was something about the city that was a draw every year. Every visit brought more familiarity and every piece of the city that seared itself into memory made it all the more warm and comforting on every visit.
It is the place introduced to the wonder that is jamón, the legendary dry-cured ham so famous across Spain; enjoyed paella for the first time at a restaurant near La Barceloneta beach; found out how something as simple as pa amb tomàquet (bread, tomatoes, and garlic) could be so satisfying; fell in love with FC Barcelona and star striker Lionel Messi; witnessed the grandeur of the Sagrada Família in person and have never been so moved by a piece of architecture; among numerous other memories.
To see the news and read reports about terrorists ramming people while zig-zagging down Las Ramblas in a van was heartbreaking. 13 lives were lost, with even more injured, just from leisurely strolling down the world-famous walking street or taking in the sites or making their way home.
Have walked the street countless times; made several visits on this last trip and, prior to that, it was essentially an everyday occasion to end up along Las Ramblas, usually to pick up food from La Boqueria market.
Shortly after, a similar attack took place in Cambrils, south of Barcelona, where three people were mowed down by a vehicle being driven by machete-wielding terrorists.
It is a similar feeling to when the 9/11 attacks occurred. Terror striking a beloved city and witnessing it from the outside; in this case, was still in college at Rutgers University, a 45-minute train ride from the city. Obviously, the two incidents are of differing scope, but they both speak to the underlying problem with global terrorism – something many European governments refuse to recognize and a situation the minority in the Philippine government want to downplay, particularly with the ongoing struggle in Marawi City.
Not to mention, similar attacks using a vehicle to run over innocent people had previously taken place in Nice, France in July 2016; at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in the United States in November 2016; at a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016; along the London Bridge this past June; yet many still ignore the problem of radical Islamic terrorism – hitting back by calling those who wish to address the issue as “racist” or “Islamophobic.”
Similar attitudes are also prevalent in the United States, as made evident by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer who ignored all of the aforementioned occasions of cars being used as weapons by radical Islamic terrorists and questioned if the Barcelona attack was a mere “copycat” of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked by a white nationalist demonstration and the resulting counter-protest.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in Barcelona, just as they back the Maute terror group in based in Mindanao.
In most cases, trying to formulate a proper system of prevention and security should be the utmost priority. Yet, as shown in the Philippines, many in the minority are using the issue for politics. Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law throughout the island of Mindanao, many in the minority played word games with the public and instead of looking at it as a means to quell violence, the (expected) references to the administration of former President Ferdinand Marcos were almost immediately raised.
When the president sought an extension to Martial Law, after the initial timeframe proved to be too short to suppress the violence, despite ongoing attacks, Senator Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, in terms of there being basis for the extension, said, “I don’t see it.”
Liberal Party (LP) president, Senator Francis Pangilinan, responded to the issue of extending Martial Law in Mindanao with, “We do not believe that Martial Law should be declared in the Visayas or Luzon.”
Clearly, the answer completed dodged the point of the question and is merely a throwaway line meant to suggest Martial Law is set to be declared nationwide – a typical scare tactic, and the only strategy the party has utilized since losing the presidential election of 2016 – one they seemed to believe was destined for former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas.
The terror cell operating in Barcelona is composed of radicalized mostly Moroccan immigrants. According to a report by The Washington Post, “Most of the 12 people identified as members of the cell come from the same small town near the French border, almost all are of Moroccan immigrant origins and all are younger than 35.”
Ami Horowitz released a documentary last year called “Stockholm Syndrome,” a result of his investigation into the growing rape culture in Sweden, which took in over 190,000 refugees in 2015, while the government denies the influx has had any impact on domestic crime. He documented visiting one of the “no-go zones” in town, small Muslim enclaves where police or government officials refuse to visit – places government officials claim they do not exist.
“[The government] narrative of being a humanitarian superpower is something – they’re so proud of it,” he said during an interview with Glenn Beck. “They’ll come up with these happy stats.”
“Don’t get me wrong, they’re trying to reach out and do this selfless act of humanity, “Horowitz added. “But like the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished – and, boy, are they being punished.”
During the interview, Horowitz explained the Swedish government used to keep track of perpetrator demographics, which in 2011, he said showed 70 percent of criminal assailants were immigrants.
“The rise in rape and the rise in murder dovetails almost exactly with the extreme rise in Islamic immigration,” he explained. “The most important part is nobody has an alternative theory on why these rapes and murders are going up.”
Much like the way the LP operates, they want to portray a certain narrative. For Sweden, they want to claim a purely “humanitarian” effort is good for all and, by manipulating the way crime statistics are gathered, they put on a façade for the world; for the LP, they want the public to see a tyrannical dictator declaring Martial Law, while ignoring the dire need to tamp down on the potential spread of terrorism in the Philippines.
Many say these are trying times, but it is often framed as a matter of being politically correct or not. The real question is whether one is seeking to eradicate radical Islamic terror or willing to cower to the threat for the sake of short-lived political glory – short-lived because once the terrorists are given a foothold, their sympathizers in elected office will not be their chosen leaders./WDJ