Juan Juliá, president of Axel Hotels and Chair of the IGLTA Board of directors, whose hometown is the city of Barcelona, wrote a letter to the global tourism community, expressing his pain as a result of the attacks that took place last Thursday, August 17th in the Catalan capital. In his letter, he reafirms that we must stay strong as a whole community, without fear, and he reafirms that “they will not beat us with hatred”. His words are touching and encouraging. You can read the whole letter here:
Barcelona 21 August 2017
My dear Barcelona was attacked 4 days ago by fanaticism and hatred. Barcelona in now joined with other beautiful cities like New York, London, Boston, Paris, Orlando, Nice, Brussels, Istanbul, Stockholm and many others that have suffered similar tragedies caused by lack of humanity, resentment and barbarism. It is very difficult to find words of comfort for the pain we feel or to explain this lack of compassion. We have lost many innocent lives because of the unfounded cruelty of righteous fanaticism and it is not easy to find relief from a such a misfortune. People who are obsessed with fanaticism feel such aversion to our way of life, our values, our deep belief in freedom and respect for the diversity of human beings that they try to eliminate them through fear and terror. But they will not succeed! And I am convinced that they will not manage because the Barcelona people have once again proclaimed themselves with a clear message to counteract fear and terror, as did the citizens of the rest of the cities attacked, by saying: No tinc por. I am not afraid was the spontaneous and beautiful song that we offered to Barcelona the next day and in the same place of the barbarous attack as a response to all those who pretend to cover with a blanket of darkness the light that shines from freedom and respect for diversity, from joy, from peace and from love. They will not defeat us with threatening messages. They will not beat us with hatred. They will not buck us up by attacking our cities. They will not take over us by killing our loved ones. Barcelona, like many other cities before, has shown the attitude and temperance emanating from a mature society which, with simple gestures of courage and kindness has managed to comfort the wounded and offer shelter, which is certainly representative of the value and strength of a society which they will not be able to destroy.
As chairman of the IGLTA board of directors, I would like to send a message of encouragement to all travelers of the world of any age, sex, creed, nationality, skin color or community of any origin to continue traveling. We must continue to travel to promote the values that are being attacked. I firmly believe that through awareness and closeness hatred is combated; that means that when we travel we carry a great responsibility as human beings: to behave in a gentle and respectful way. If we can manage to share wherever we go a message of respect for freedom, by preaching with our own example through tolerance for diversity for every culture and for any individual or collective identity, then we will have succeeded in opening a huge breach of light in the darkness of fanaticism.
We, the people from Barcelona have already gone back to our daily lives in the freedom and the enthusiasm that characterize us because this is the best tribute we can offer to those who lived here or who came from different parts of the world to visit Las Ramblas with the intention of enjoying our beautiful Barcelona and who today they are no longer with us. Barcelona, I love you!