‘It was a stampede of people running for their lives’: UEA graduate retells the Barcelona attack

An interview with a witness of the Barcelona terror attack

Only a few days ago the city of Barcelona experienced an all too familiar event, a terror attack. The attack killed 13 pedestrians and injured more than 120 others.

We spoke to Eneko De Marcos, a UEA graduate who up until the attack was having a fairly average day in the city he now calls home.

What happened from your perspective?

Eneko: I went down to the plaza just to have a coffee. I was about to leave and walk down Las Ramblas when I heard a noise. People were running at me screaming and shouting.

I remember seeing the Borough Market incident, and it was just the same, just a stampede people running for their lives.

Eneko

Eneko

Because it's such a small city, you can't spread out. So when anything like this happens, the ambience and fear gets magnified 10-20 times.

I personally go home around 10pm, but a lot of people got back at 1am or 2am in the morning, because everything was closed off and there was panic.

However, like in the UK, terrorism is not a new phenomenon. Terrorism is not anything groundbreaking, it has been here since the 80s and 90s from political terrorists.

The attack sent shockwaves around the world

The attack sent shockwaves around the world

How is Barcelona retaining it's sense of community?

E: The next day people were on the streets. Spanish culture is different to English – we get on with it. People banded together, especially down Las Ramblas. At midday on Friday, a congregation and a minute of silence was held. Even politics was put on hold, the leaders put their differences on hold. It was a case of 'no tinc por', meaning we are not afraid.

Has the attack brought people together?

E: On the one hand it has brought people together. One other, you're enjoying life and the next moment you think it could have been me. But people start blaming certain groups, radical extremists start blaming the Muslim population, by that logic we wouldn't even be here.

Is there a potential to preach a message of tolerance?

E: These people [who committed the attack], they interpret the scripture in a way that doesn't reflect 99.9 per cent of the Muslim population. It's very important to not put everyone in the same boat. This would make us start to judge people and group them as the alien, as outsiders and scapegoats.

Eneko wants to emphasise tolerance over fear and hate.

Eneko wants to emphasise tolerance over fear and hate.

Have you felt any prejudice since the attack?

E: I'm Spanish and Indian and so quite tanned, but I haven't felt any prejudice and people aren't generally discriminating against scapegoats after the incident. Of course there are pockets of far-right people. Most of the Spanish people are pretty tolerant and far-right groups are being thankfully ignored, as they wisely should be.

Is the community banding together since the attack, like we saw in Manchester?

E: We had a festival called Fiesta Major de Gracia, which was meant to go on for the whole week. I was down there on the Saturday. Even though it wasn't packed, people were still playing music on guitars and having a good time. The message was we're not gonna allow anyone to disrupt our happy lives.

Worse events are happening around the world. These things are happening, and we only care when it's the West, it's a terrible attitude to have.

What message do you want to emphasise?

E: It's not time to single out this religion or that religion, it's time for compassion and to grieve those who've lost their lives. Even for the families of the attackers, who have a child whose possibly been brainwashed, how do you think they feel?

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