In Es Castell, today, at 12:00 a number of us gathered with the leaders of the Ajuntamiento to observe a minute of silence for the victims of the attack in Barcelona yesterday.
I know that there are many who feel anger, but I can only feel deep sadness.
I watched the ferry from Barcelona arrive in Menorca at 7 this morning and thought of the scenes that the passengers had left behind when setting sail last night. La Rambla is quite close to the ferry terminal in Barcelona. We know the area well – must have walked along it dozens of times. This is the intent of terrorist attacks, of course: to make it personal, to bring fear into normal life; to suck up hope and leave despair; to take joy and tarnish or destroy it. In reality, there is no point in such actions, at least no constructive point: it’s just nihilism, and contributes nothing to the values or worth of life. It is antithetical to the religion(s) claimed by the perpetrators of violence, because the basic values of all religions include upholding and nurturing the value of life. How sad, how terrible, that there are those who have such little appreciation for the worth of their own lives that they can find no purpose but to inflict pain, suffering and death on others.
Our bishop, David Hamid, offered his thoughts and this prayer:
Welcome into your arms the victims of violence and terrorism.
Comfort their families and all who grieve for them.
Help us in our fear and uncertainty,
And bless us with the knowledge that we are secure in your love.
Strengthen all those who work for peace,
And may the peace the world cannot give reign in our hearts.
We pray also for those who were called upon to serve the ones who were hurt or died: emergency service workers, police, fire, ambulance, nurses, doctors; who witnessed such evidence of man’s inhumanity to man as no one should ever have to see.
There is one silver lining, one crumb of hopefulness in all of this. The images from the aftermath of the attack yesterday are overwhelmingly of people taking care of one another. Terrorist acts cannot suppress the basic, decent, human qualities of compassion and care.