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2 de set. 2017

Pere Grau 1

(Translation of the article in German published in Pere Grau's blog on 21 August. The link to the original is:

After the attack.

terrible attack on Barcelona has promoted - how could it be otherwise? - A wave of solidarity in the Catalan population and around the world. Mourning and pain in the face of the victims. Outrage and disgust as regards those who were guilty. In spite of everything there are aspects - before and after the crime - that abroad are generally unknown, that - unfortunately - are related to the conflict between Catalonia and Spain, and that should not be silenced.

***** To read the rest, click on "Més informació" below *****
It is now being discussed - as always after a similar misfortune - if it would have been possible to track the authors in time and to prevent the attack. There will never be one hundred percent security, and crimes such as these can never be ruled out. But always and everywhere everything that can be done should be done to ensure prevention as much as possible. And precisely on this point, Spain cannot evade criticism.

onia’s autonomous police force is known by their historic name, “Mossos d’Esquadra”, equivalent to "national militia". And this force is seen from Madrid with a lot of distrust, because law enforcement officers who are under the orders of the Catalan government seem to be suspect "per se". Perhaps for that, and without respecting agreements taken more than ten years ago, the central government has excluded this police force from several important security agencies. On the one hand, from CITCO, the centre for coordinating the fight against terrorism and organized crime, with which all the other autonomous police are connected, even the "traditionally suspicious" Basque police. According to agreements taken years ago the Catalan police should now have 1,600 more agents than they have. But this reinforcement has been constantly blocked. Recently, at the beginning of the year, a request from Catalonia for Madrid to authorize 500 new places was once more turned down (see my article "Vexations and threats" in June of this year).

Secondly, and also by
a Spanish central government decision, the Catalan police do not have access to the data banks of the European security organs (Europol, Siena, Sirene), which makes it difficult for any prevention. This ban, against all reasonable logic, remains in force. The Spanish government has been reproached several times in recent months for its political intrigues in a conscious or unconscious manner endangering the security of the population. The August 17 crime is a sad confirmation of this warning.

Some foreign newspapers have praised the "quick" reaction of Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy,
who went straight to Barcelona. But in Catalonia, on the part both of supporters of independence and those opposed to it, many have criticized it strongly. For it was the Catalan government, which from the first moment reacted quickly and efficiently - as is its duty - while Rajoy only had a short phone call with the Catalan president Puigdemont and took a long time to meet up with him. Moreover, the brunt of the rapid intervention against the terrorists was borne by the members of the Catalan police force, while the Spanish national police and the civil guard supported only marginally. This is not a reproach, but only evidence that everyone did what they had to do according to the laws in force. Rajoy, however, met only with the Spanish security forces, and not with the Catalans who had borne the full brunt of the action. This has been reported as a petty thing to do.

nother sad fact has yet to be presented. A year ago (July 2016) I already informed in two articles of the extreme hatred of some Spaniards against the Catalans, which with electoral aims in sight is still stirred up by some Spanish politicians. Once again we have been able to see in the social media evidence of this catalanophobia, as shown by the following three citations:
  • Couldn’t this Moor have killed more Catalans?”
  • Didn’t you want fewer tourists? Well there you are.”
  • It is good that you give the news about Barcelona, but no need to get excited. It was Catalans that died, not people.”
It is understandable that many Catalans are angry. It just makes me immensely sad. This environment, which has been created by irresponsible, short-sighted politicians for decades, does not help anyone and makes it even harder to find a reasonable solution to the current crisis.

It was these anonymous Catalans, wherever they were born, who after the attack hosted strangers in their homes, who brought food and drink to those who were trapped in traffic jams around the city, it was the taxi drivers who took the tourists to their hotels free of charge. And it was also those who after the attack made long queues in front of the hospitals to donate their blood. 

Many will dismiss these hate phrases as slips made by a few incorrigible people. But some "advice" given, for example, in the editorials of large Spanish newspapers such as El País or El Mundo, after the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, weighs even more: in these, as as frivolous and ill-intentioned ways, they related the terrorist threat in Catalonia with the independence movement.

In these, it was said that Catalonia is the region with the highest number of Muslim communities marked by fundamentalism, and "advised": "This should make the Catalan leaders think about changing their reception policy, which has often made them lose sight of national security, which has remained in the shadows of electoral interests in relation to independence." We forget, or want to forget, that the Catalan government has no influence on the migration policy of Spain. Everything that is related to the exterior borders is the responsibility only of the central government in Madrid, and it, in a proven way, has often brought immigrants from Arab or Maghreb countries in buses directly to Catalonia, in order not to take them to other regions. We forget, or want to forget, that the high number of arrests of suspects of terror that the Catalan police can present is due to their own research work, which has been recognized by the police of other Europeans countries and has possibly prevented other attacks.

Unfortunately there are German media that have once again hooked onto the Madrid train, although not all. It is to be hoped that journalistic research be based on the facts and not – with closed eyes - on sources with dubious interpretations, even though events such as these need to be worked on very quickly.

Click here to read the second part.  

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