There is too much life on La Rambla to be able to kill it. Barcelona’s boulevard has regained its well-known looks only hours after the barbarism it experienced. The odd kiosk is shut and there are no flowers on display, nor open markets, but hundreds of people are strolling up and down and, from Canaletes to Pla de l’Ós , they spontaneously gather around expanding shrines with messages of solidarity, perseverance and sadness.
The picture will hardly come as a surprise to anyone: we have seen it before in other cities. The actual novelty is the cry of a civil crowd that fills the thoroughfare while crying out “We are not afraid”. With a determined voice, they challenge those who seek to devastate the open society that we have built upon respect for difference. We are not afraid of them, no siree. We will fight them with words, but will not tolerate violence or any attempt to undermine our democratic values and the defence of human rights. We will strive to understand the reasons for their totalitarian mindset, but we will not justify it at any rate, nor will we accept any complicity. We will also fight those who try to incubate the serpent’s egg of islamophobia.
This war is about values. It is clear who our allies are in the combat between the tolerant democrats of all colours and creeds against those who aim to impose a totalitarianism that is incompatible with the open world represented by Barcelona and, in particular, by this sort of small laboratory of the western world called La Rambla.