12 November 2023
The other day, when Vidal-Quadras was shot, I was stroking my grandson Lluc, who has caught pneumonia. Next to me, Lluc’s grandmother, looking at the phone, said in alarm: “An attack in Madrid! We’re lost, I thought. In a climate of maximum tension, any spark can start a fire. That is what happened in 1936. Years earlier, in 1914, point-blank shots fired by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip at Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria also caused tensions to escalate between the major European powers, leading to the First World War.
As is happening now in Spain, in that distant 1914, European political leaders, instead of holding back and restraining themselves, exaggerated their positions because they believed that the war would be favourable to them or because they were convinced that a generalised war would not happen anyway. They tensed the rope, confident. But war broke out. It was one of the most destructive in history.
What do we offer our grandchildren? Hatred, confrontation, hysteria
Fortunately, Vidal-Quadras is alive and the attack has nothing to do with our politics. But contemplating my grandson, I imagined, for an instant, the outbreak of a new civil war and I cursed myself. Knowing that Europe’s umbrella protects us from the spectre of domestic war did not stop an acidic feeling of guilt inside me. The current generations received two precious gifts: welfare, after the hunger of the post-war period, and the word, after the silence imposed by Franco. But in 40 years of protagonism, we have squandered the word with shouts, attacks, insults and all kinds of exaggerations. We had the responsibility of dialogue and we have perverted it with a binge of hostility. What do we offer our grandchildren? Apart from a voracious, insatiable, predation of territory, we offer them hatred, confrontation, hysteria. This is our testament.