By Langston Myers
The recent terrorist attacks in Barcelona sent another shockwave throughout the world concerning the safety of countries. Learn more about how this attack affected the St. Mary's community.
Spain has been on the minds of many St. Mary’s girls in the past year, as seven students traveled there to study abroad this summer as a part of the Spanish immersion program. Though the girls that travelled to Spain remember it as an awe-inspiring, but more importantly, safe place, this is not the way the world will remember the Spain of these past couple of weeks.
On August 17th, a man killed 13 and injured 120 when his van barrelled through a crowd on Las Ramblas in downtown Barcelona. Because ISIS claimed responsibility for this attack and a similar attack in a town south of Barcelona, the Spanish police treated this as a terrorist attack. The police shot and killed five suspects of the attack south of Barcelona, but the suspected driver of the Las Ramblas attack went on the run until he was shot by the police on August 21 while he was wearing a fake suicide belt. The 22 year old, Younes Abouyaaqoub, was part of a much larger terrorist cell in Barcelona operating out of an old bomb factory.
Bella Zafer, who was one of the seven to study in Spain this summer, (11) says, “Everyone in Spain walks, in Barcelona, in Salamanca, in every city in Spain we traveled to. It makes me sad that the driver obviously used this to his advantage when he drove through that innocent crowd.”
Mrs. Avant also spent last spring break in Barcelona and notes that her hotel was extremely close to the attacks. She notes that Barcelona is a walking city, and it was rare to see cars driving the streets. “Those types of crowds on Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s most popular street, were something we saw everyday, something we were a part of everyday.” While experiencing Barcelona, Mrs. Avant loved the vast amounts of diversity, and this act of prejudice ruins that whole aspect for her.
She says, “I thought it was safe,” but, now, Barcelona appears “tarnished in [her] eyes.”