The shadows and the memory of 17-A

2 min
Spontaneous citizen tribute to the Rambla of Barcelona, the days after the attack of 17-A

The sentence of the trial for the jihadist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on 17 August 2017, with even harsher sentences than the Prosecutor's Office had requested, will still not allow Catalan society to turn the page on a tragedy that had a profound impact on it, both for the brutality of the murders and their authorship (a group of young Catalans of Maghribi origin, apparently very integrated). The well-documented, precise and exhaustive ruling - it is 1,000 pages long - despite the fact that for the first time it establishes the total number of victims - which rises to more than 300 between the different scenarios (in addition to Barcelona and Cambrils, also Alcanar), describes them as "the great forgotten ones" and compensates some of them, has left many unsatisfied, who have already announced through their legal representatives that they will appeal the court's decision.

The 17-A will hardly be erased from the collective memory. It is one of those events that almost everyone remembers how they lived it and how they mourned it. The citizen shock still sends shivers down the spine in all the aforementioned scenarios, and also in Ripoll, where the radicalised kids came from. It is very difficult to find rational explanations for such extreme events. The wave of attacks in Europe seems to have passed, and police action must have something to do with it, but it is not clear that we have understood this terrorist scourge, nor that we have conjured up all the demons. There are too many unanswered questions. The trial, in this sense, is important, not only to define guilt and impose penalties, but also to provide data, facts and explanations that collectively help us to answer all the questions: the what, the how and, of course, the always difficult why. And this applies above all to the citizens who suffered the consequences most directly and to those who experienced it most closely, but also to society as a whole. And it is in this sense that the sentence made public yesterday leaves gaps. In particular, around the figure of the imam Es-Satty, to whom the responsibility for the radicalization of the boys who committed this barbarity is attributed, who, therefore, were not alone when introduced to this universe. On the other hand, however, the sentence completely ignores the possible link between the imam and the Spanish secret services, the CNI, who visited him when he was in prison. Did the state bear any responsibility or negligence in relation to the figure of Es-Satty? Until a question as delicate as this one is clarified, we will hardly be able to be satisfied about an event that attacked the heart of our precious collective coexistence. The appeals filed by the victims will therefore keep alive the controversy and the sad memory of a criminal fanaticism that is at the antipodes of the essential tolerance of differences inherent to a democratic and modern society such as the Catalan one. Be that as it may, the spirit of citizen solidarity that followed the attacks is what we should never forget.