Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
19 August 2017, 13:48
Owen Jones magnificently sums up why Barcelona was right not to be cowed following the horror attack - because it's the opposite of what the terrorists want.
Following the horror attack in Barcelona on Thursday, the city remained strong and carried on, business as usual.
Owen Jones opened his LBC show by paying tribute to some of the identified casualties, because those are the names which should be publicised - not the names of the terrorists.
He continued his powerful soliloquy by commending Barcelona for refusing to be cowed by the horrific incident, explaining why it's the best thing to do.
Owen said: "We all have choices, don't we? Choices about what we do with our lives. We could be a nurse, who looks after the sick.
"A teacher who educates and broadens the minds of the young, we could do whatever we do in life, kind acts to strangers, smiling at those who seem down, looking after our friends when they need our help.
"The terrorists of Barcelona had a choice as well, and their choice was to see a crowd of happy smiling families, enjoying the sun with their loved ones, and they ploughed a van into them.
"That was their choice, to cause death, injury, misery and grief, which will never go away. We shouldn't remember those murderers, who should rot in the scrap heap of history in ignominy.
"We should remember those who died, like Ian Moore-Wilson, a Canadian granddad described by his family as "compassionate, generous, and adventurous".
"A 42-year-old Jared Tucker celebrating his first wedding anniversary. Or Bruno Gullota, a loving father who died in front of their son.
"Those are the people we should remember; their achievements and what they represented, and what they meant to their loved ones.
"Not those who murdered them, who wanted to be martyred, to be splashed on the front pages of news bulletins and newspapers, but deserve nothing but a moment of contempt and to be forgotten forever.
"But this is what I want to ask today, on LBC, terrorism has one objective, and the clue is in the name. It is to spread terror, it is to make us feel afraid, scared, and to change the way we live our lives, to turn on each other, to hate those who are innocent. Am I saying we shouldn't feel grief or burning anger?
"No. Am I saying that we shouldn't make sure our police and security services aren't properly resourced to take on these threats? No I'm not. But this is how Barcelona responded, and it is pretty instructive.
"They're not cowed, or scared. They took to the streets and they chanted 'we are not afraid, we are not afraid'.
"They continued to drink, and dance, and spend time with their loved ones. The next day stallholders reopened on La Rambla, where the attack happened.
"They could have chosen to have locked themselves, in their houses or flats, or fled the city, and the terrorists would have won.
"But they didn't. And this is what I want to ask. By becoming scared and fearful, aren't we doing what the terrorists want us to do?
"Yes we need to debate how we tackle the danger, the horror of of terrorism, but don't we need to show, as an act of defiance, that we will continue to live our lives as we always do?
"That our love for each other will never die, or change, and that we won't turn in on each other? It's instructive actually, just thinking of a man, a very brave Frenchman called Nicolas Henin, now Nicolas Henin was held hostage by ISIS, and after the Paris terrorist attacks, he'd been released by then, he said that the Islamist extremist terrorists would scour social media in the news, and be heartened by every single sign they saw of overreaction, as he put it, of division, of fear, of racism and xenophobia.
"We have to defeat these people, no one disputes that. Every single one of them. But we have to look at the factors that drive them as well, and that's a whole range of different factors that drives people to murder and to maim, and to cause incredible misery, anguish, and pain.
"But as soon as we're scared, and frightened, and hateful, then these terrorists - they win. They score huge triumphs, they change the way we live our lives, they watch the news, they scour social media, and they see people who are terrified. And that is terrorism. Terrorism is achieving political goals by making people scared. Terror."