Strength and resolve needed to face terror
The best response to such attacks is for life to return to normal as soon as possible, while politicians and leaders should take care not to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment
The horrific scenes witnessed in the aftermath of two appalling terror attacks in Spain are, sadly, all too familiar. These are the latest in a string of attacks in Europe in which vehicles have been used to mow down innocent pedestrians. But the shock and outrage felt at these callous actions in Catalonia is not in any way dimmed by the fact that we have seen such tragic scenes before. Each new outrage must spark greater resolve to overcome and defeat the terrorists.
The first attack was on Las Ramblas, the famous shaded boulevard in Barcelona, so popular with tourists. A van was driven at speed along the crowded street, leaving it strewn with dead and injured. A few hours later, a car ran over and injured six civilians and a police officer in the seaside town of Cambril, 120km away. At least 13 people have been killed and more than 100 injured. The victims come from 24 countries. Many of them are tourists and some are children. The attackers did not care who they killed and maimed.
The attacks follow similar atrocities in France, Germany, Sweden and the UK. Vans are easy to hire and little planning is needed. Such crimes are difficult to detect. But every effort must be made to protect the public. In London, barriers have been erected at likely targets in an attempt to protect pedestrians. Governments must invest more in combating terror and must step up efforts to gather and share intelligence.
Responsibility for the latest attacks has been claimed by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS). Nothing will cause IS to drop its twisted ideology. We can expect further such attacks, as it loses ground in Syria and Iraq. But politicians should be careful not to inflame anti-Muslim sentiment. Australian senator Pauline Hanson’s donning of a burka in parliament and US President Donald Trump’s anti-Islam rhetoric only make matters worse.
Our thoughts are with the families of the victims in Spain, as the country enters a period of national mourning. But as terrible as the attacks are, the best way to defeat them is to return to normal life as soon as possible. Las Ramblas is renowned for its vibrancy, colour and energy. It is to be hoped the crowds will return soon.