The statement below was released by four mayors of cities in the Spanish state — Barcelona, Cadiz, Zaragoza and A Coruna — and signed by many well-known figures from Spanish media and culture. It was translated for Green Left Weekly by Dick Nichols.
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The brutal attacks in Paris on November 13 were designed to install a climate of terror in the population, raising walls of suspicion and hatred between neighbours, shattering community life and bringing the politics of fear into our daily lives.
If the response to such barbarism involves suspending rights, cutting back on liberties and locking ourselves in our homes, the victory of terrorism will be complete.
If we respond to the pain of innocent victims by causing pain to more innocent victims, the spiral of violence will be unstoppable.
If we look for culprits among our neighbours simply because they dress or think differently, if we criminalise those fleeing the same horror, we will help to reinforce the walls that the fanatics want to create. We cannot allow this.
The terrorist fanaticism of Daesh (ISIS) is a function of, and feeds, racist European fanaticism, while our governments cut social rights and fundamental freedoms, and practise institutional xenophobia and the indiscriminate bombing that has proven ineffective.
We refuse to get involved in a false trade-off between rights and security. Whether here in Spain, in Paris, in Iraq or in Syria, it is ordinary people who die while others traffic in influence, weapons or their own geostrategic interests. The fanatical hatred of a few cannot be used to justify new hatreds. We refuse to be hostages to hatred, terror and intolerance — that would be to give in to terrorism.
We, the undersigned, believe that democracy, human rights and the desire for peace and justice are not a bargaining chip, but are, in themselves, the objective, the way forward and the best answer to those who want to destroy them. That is why we vehemently oppose any response to hatred that implies more hatred, more intolerance, more deaths of innocent people and fewer rights and freedoms.
Convinced that this is a time not only when citizens should not hide but when we should lead the response to terrorism, we will come together on Saturday November 28 at 12pm in the Plaza del Reina Sofia Museum to condemn the terrorist attacks in Paris and Lebanon and to express our rejection: of the bombings of the civilian population of Syria; of cuts to democratic rights as futile guarantees of security; of the militaristic foreign policy initiated by Bush, Blair and Aznar.
We invite other municipalities to join this initiative and to promote similar citizen demonstrations.
We say no to terrorism, Islamophobia and war. Neither cuts to our freedoms nor bombings will bring us security and peace. Not in our name.