The August 17th was quite the sad day.
It coincided that it was the day of my 35th birthday.
When it happened, I was outside, in Ibiza celebrating my birthday with my friends, or trying.
Because the first news I got in the morning, was the death of my great-uncle.
He died of old age.
Of course, my mother was very sad, and when it was lunch time, all that happened during the morning, a friend of mine came and said to me, “Listen Alexis, have you seen about the terrorist attack in Barcelona?” And I say, “What terrorist attack?”
I started looking it up. The first I found was those horrible videos with the victims on the street, it was quite the sad thing, unacceptable for the media too.
The first thing I though was, “Damn, my mother surely went to get the wreath to the ‘Rambla de les Flors’. I’ll write to her and see how she is.”
I wrote to her worried and sad. Sad because just in one of the most happy, most welcoming streets, with most tourists and everything in this our city of Barcelona, had been attacked.
Attacked by the absurd, by terrorism.
My mother answered. She hadn’t gone to ‘les Rambles, she had gone to a florist nearby, on Pau Clarís street.
She had seen people running in the street as she passed with her motorcycle, but didn’t understand why. She had seen real human tides.
Later I explained to her and she realized.
We were lucky that she wasn’t there.
But then came all the sadness, the true attack.
To see how our city was attacked. A city that is all smiles, a city that is humble, had been attacked by madmen.
I kept following the news, worried, my birthday was the least of my concerns.
Now my birthday is left as a day to celebrate life, to celebrate glory, to celebrate this city, which is something we’ll never forget.
It was all very moving, it was a day loaded with many emotions. Maybe what made me happier, was to see how our city, which is a welcoming city, answered.
We saw the taxi drivers, companies like Cabify, giving free transport to victims or people who were nearby.
We saw people who lived nearby bringing down water bottles.
The hotels and restaurants too were offering food and lodgings to victims in the area, because they couldn’t move from the area for security reasons.
All in all, we saw the whole city answer.
The next day, there were many volunteers. Even my sister, who has a native-like level of English went to help to the Vall d’Hebrón [hospital] to act as an interpreter for the victims, the families, the psychologists, everything.
As she tells it, it was a very tough experience. People who were very affected, wrecked. We don’t even mean those who had lost their families, but people who were there wounded, and severely so.
It was a really really tough day, but I think that our city answered really well, wonderfully.
Can you explain again that story from the last interview?
During the civil war, my great-grandparents went to live, or rather hide, to ‘La Garriga’, running away from the bombs in Barcelona.
With the bad luck that, well, my great-grandfather got away because the red-winged put them in a truck to go fight against the nationals.
He didn’t believe in anything, so he escaped, reached home and hid.
But with the bad luck that the nationals, together with the condor aviation, bombed ‘La Garriga, the train station so that no supplies could go through. Besides the train station, there was a boys’ orphanage where my great-grandmother was a volunteer.
Unfortunately, one of the bombs fell too near the orphanage. It demolished the house, fell on it. Many of the people were buried and she got a piece of shrapnel on her hip.
Which rendered her limping for life.
With time, my great-grandfather became one of the most important businessmen of Spain, founding the Plaça-Janés editorial group.
Of course, being a big businessperson, you couldn’t say no, so he had to go meet Franco, Queen Sofía, shake hands with them when his wife was home limping because of a Francoist bomb.
Are you willing to talk about the reasons why you are disappointed with Barça nowadays?