As you may imagine the Spanish media has been full of the events in Barcelona, Cambrils, Alcanar and Ripoll for the past couple of days. First the headlines, then the confused facts and incorrect information before the more accurate picture started to emerge, the political response, the tales of heroism, the eyewitness reports, the pundits and their views. The coverage was so intense that I don't think there was even football news in the main bulletins yesterday!
We watched the news, we speculated and we went to the silent demonstration outside Pinoso Town Hall to show our "solidarity." We clapped at the end of the three minutes silence and we clapped again when the councillor read out the council's statement of support. Spaniards applaud at funerals and all sorts of events.
I was skimming through Twitter and, in amongst the messages of support, the pictures of mangled corpses and the pleas to help find missing people was the usual crop of offensive, racist tripe suggesting mass deportations, complaints about symbolic gesturing and unworkable solutions like banning the hire of vehicles or curtailing the payment of benefits to terrorists. There were a few messages though that struck home. The ones about why an attack in Europe, the USA or Australasia is so much more newsworthy than an attack in Asia or Africa.
When I decided to put something on the blog I couldn't remember the two countries mentioned in one tweet about other terrorist attacks this week. One was Nigeria so I googled terrorist attacks in Nigeria 2017 and came up with a site that listed terrorist attacks. I was taken aback. The storymaps site told me that there had been 866 attacks and 5,224 fatalities in 2017. I noticed that the list wasn't up to date because the Finnish attack wasn't there. Nonetheless, in August (in just the first 18 days of August) the site listed attacks in Burkina Faso (several attacks the greatest with 18 dead), Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria (27 dead there in one attack but several more), Turkey, Mali, Somalia, Pakistan (15 dead), United States, Yemen, Cameroon (7), Venezuela, Philippines (5), Indonesia and Myanmar as well as Spain.
Al-Qaeda have killed 317 this year, Al-Shabaab 352, Boko Haram 452, Islamic State 2,186, PKK 33, Taliban 823 and other groups 1,061.
The Wikipedia site is more up to date. Since the Barcelona "vehicular attack" are listed: stabbing in Finland, executions in Kenya, ambush in Iraq, bombing in Iraq, bombing in Burkina Faso, bombing in Turkey, stabbing in Russia and car bombing in Iraq.
The definitions of what is a terrorist incident - the numbers above include deaths in the street riots in Venezuela for instance - may be arguable but even if you were to discount large percentages the figures are still astounding yet, apparently, at least in Europe, we are way behind the terrorist deaths through the 1970s and into the 1980s. And nowhere in Europe is in the top ten for terrorist deaths: Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria have the dubious honour of topping that list. The worst year for global terrorism so far? 32,765 deaths in 2014.
No tenim por is Catalan for we are not afraid - the shout that went up after the silent demonstration in Barcelona yesterday.