Statement: Novact’s reflection on the attack in Barcelona

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Barcelona city of peace: we work for the prevention of all violent extremisms

The violence that we see and live everyday in Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, France, Belgium and many other places … today has closely touched us. Even with partial information, but deeply moved and saddened, we feel very close to the victims and the wounded of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils and we want to show our affection and support to all their relatives and friends. We will work to accompany them in the best possible way with all the public and private resources from both cities and the country.

The consternation for this tragic event must be as intense as the condemnation of the terror, hatred and intolerance perpetrated by the perpetrators of violence. Barcelona, like the whole country, is an open, tolerant and welcoming city that in any situation will succumb to the intentions of those who promote violent extremism. Those who want to sow hatred and terror, will find our reaffirmation in the values of peace, human rights and democracy.

The rage and impotence that make us like this awaken us, should not make us fall into the trap of responding to hatred with more hatred. Also today, and with the open wound, we reaffirm our conviction that violence and intolerance can not be the answer to the current terror. Fear can not be the weapon that foment xenophobia and racism. For this reason, we must not fall down or legitimize any hate speech that some sectors would like to impose, especially towards the Islamic community of Barcelona and Catalonia or towards refugees. The Islamic community has condemned these attacks, and refugees are forced to leave home just to flee from the same violent extremism that has hit us today. We are all on the same side: the condemnation of hatred, intolerance and violence.

We also recall that in the past decades, our governments have sought a solution to violent extremism only in a set of anti-terrorist measures based exclusively on police action, as well as military, security and the limitation of our rights and freedoms. In the name of the fight against terrorism, we have seen an extensive use of police force and the adoption of a repressive legal tools that has been responsible for dramatic violations of human rights, wars, bombardments of the civilian population with growing suffering in all over the Mediterranean.

Barcelona must be able to offer better solutions to the challenge of dealing with all types of terror that we are living today. And beyond the pain and what seems to us absurd, we must ask ourselves what can impel someone to do an act like this. Without finding the right answers, without fighting the structural conditions that can provoke it, we will not find the means to avoid new ones.

In January 2017, more than 172 civil society organizations and social movements from 22 countries across the Mediterranean met in Barcelona to discuss how we could work together to prevent violent extremism.

The result was the “Civil Society Action Plan to Prevent All Forms of Violent Extremism“.

This Plan, which offers 10 objectives and more than 90 actions, is an unprecedented effort to reconcile civil society’s vision of the northern and southern shores, east and west of the Mediterranean. We believe that only a transnational, dialogue and citizens’ partnership can help us establish an effective way to prevent all forms of violent extremism, coming from individuals, groups or states.

The world is in solidarity with Barcelona and it is our responsibility to help curb the barbarism, offering a path of commitment to the values of peace, democracy and human rights.

* Cover image 
SERGIO PEREZ (REUTERS)