Unfortunately, two days ago some terrorists have attempted to destroy our supposedly tolerant, open and democratic way of life, trying to spread hatred and panic among Spanish society. And actually, they have definitely succeeded at spreading hate. From Thursday, I have seen several islamophobic articles published on online news channels as well as people on social media echoing these publications; therefore I have decided to write an open letter to the racist and islamophobic rubbish published after the sad attacks of Catalonia.
Tabloids and hate
I have read in various online publications comments emphasizing that our beautiful and tolerant country (see the irony) had “taken in & welcomed” these terrorists and given them benefits (setting examples of alleged terrorists detained earlier in the year who don’t seem related to this attack). This same publication claims that immigrants come to Spain knowing that a wonderfully idle life is awaiting them (whoever has written this clearly has not been in Spain in his fucking life). Listening to these statements of such dubious validity, the first thing that comes to my mind is the thousands of front pages that were given to Brexit by sensationalist newspapers with racist and untruthful comments and headlines about European immigrants in the UK claiming that they were taking advantage of the benefits offered by the state. It is surprising how the same media that now publishes these racist comments about (mainly Muslim and non-white) immigrants coming to Spain to live without working and to take advantage of the benefits offered by the state are the same that complained about how British sensationalist media treated Spaniards living in the UK. So, how does this work? If you are white, you are less of an immigrant and entitled therefore to receive state’s benefits?
It seems clear to me that this type of media only wants to spread hate, islamophobia and racism and take advantage of any unfortunate circumstances, such as a terrorist attack to justify their nationalism, and their anti-immigration policies. In addition, this type of publication, lies, lies ruthlessly, we do not welcome immigrants with open arms, neither in Spain nor in any other country in Europe. We don’t welcome any immigrants unless they are multimillionaires, or have some sort of higher education with which they can benefit the state, and of course, they are white-. All Western countries continue to live in a predominantly sexist, classist, homophobic and racist society. And forgive me, but Spain and its Catholic, apostolic and Roman tradition, as well as our history of conquest and reconquest, does not help us to be more kind towards Muslims specifically.
These young terrorists who have unjustly and mercilessly murdered innocent people, have not grown up in an open-minded and tolerant society in the neighborhood of Pedralbes, no sirs, no. These kids have probably grown up in slums, or on the streets with not-very-recommendable acquaintances because their parents, in most cases, were working from sunrise to sunset to try to give them a better life. These children have probably been isolated, insulted and scorned by their schoolmates for being “Moors” – yes, in Spain Morocans and everyone from a muslim-majority country is called a Moo, actually a “fucking por”-. Let’s not be naive, we all heard these comments daily at school, at work or on the streets.
I believe that as a society we should all do a little conscientiousness effort. If we do, we will realize that these youngsters aged 17 to 24 (who is the age of the oldest terrorist responsible for the attack) should normally be thinking about being with friends, drinking, having a spliff and flirting, and those who have had the luck of having an education, taking up a career or going to university. If these boys have been seduced by a terrorist network, and they are almost willing to die for this cause, surely there must be a reason for it. What have we all done wrong as a society for these young boys grown up in our country to be seduced by a terrorist network thousands of kilometres away? Why are they able to recruit a 17 year old Moroccan and not a German? It is not because of Islam, it is because these terrorist groups take advantage of the status of isolation and racism to which these citizens are subject in the European countries. It is fairly easy to use this situation of isolation to victimize these young boys and to foment their hatred towards the rest of their fellow citizens by making them believe that us, our western society is the enemy. And of course, their tolerant and open-minded neighbours and schoolmates shouting “go to your fucking country you motherfucking shitty moor” does not help.
Collective and shared responsibility
We face a type of terrorism in which this junk terror network called ISIS, uses children and young people born or bred in European countries that, in some cases, do not even follow Islam, to kill and spread hatred and fear among Western society.
In the development of ISIS and the attacks they are committing, there are a number of enablers, not just the perpetrators: the terrorists themselves are surely responsible for the crimes committed, but also the governments of the West who have ‘supported’ from the start the opponents of the Assad regime in Syria and continue to arm many others Countries in the Middle East (see Saudi Arabia) to defend economic interests and maintain a certain (in)stability, which benefits the status quo of the world in which we live in.
Another major issue is the press, the press that echoes and demonizes the attacks of this type of terrorism in the West but does not echo the massacre that ISIS carries out EVERY DAY in Syria or Iraq, or the number of civilians that the armies of certain Western countries kill in their missions in those countries. This only shows that our lives matter more or less depending on where we are, or what religion we profess, which reinforces the idea that ISIS injects into these children that they are victims of our Western society.
There is a final responsibility, or rather, there is a collective responsibility to which nobody wants to make allusions to. Us,society, you and I, all, we are also responsible of this situation. All of us are responsible for creating a society in which minorities, including immigrants, of course, are in such a situation of isolation and social exclusion that any band of soulless terrorists is capable of making them lose their lives and above all turn them into ruthless terrorists and murderers.
If these young people had a life like most of us, access to higher education, living in less conflictive neighborhoods, not hearing “you’re a fucking shitty moor” every day, probably; they would not have turned into criminals and terrorists.
I am not trying and I don’t want to justify any act of terrorism or any act of violence, but I find it hypocritical and inhumane, to pretend that Spain or Europe is this open-minded territory in which every immigrant is welcomed and now ‘they are turning against us’. This type of media publishing this type of information are just spreading more hatred and promoting an increase on islamophobic and racist attacks. If we all united and tried to create a better, more tolerant and compassionate society if we promoted education and integration, we will probably be able to prevent young people at risk of social exclusion from becoming disgusting terrorists and murderers.