Viva a Liberdade!!!

This blog is a direct product of the revolution that comemorates today its 34th anniversary. April 25th 1974 marks the end of almost fifty-year long dictatorship that sought relentlessly to mold an entire society to a rigid and paternalist way of seeing the world. Having an opinion was a crime, and every political dissent was to be squashed beyond all existence. The individual had no rights, nothing should exist beyond the model of society and morality that the gentlemen in power saw as the right one. There was a special branch of police to round up everyone that didn’t fall in line. There were family members, co-workers and neighbours ready to denounce anyone that didn’t conform. There were concentration camps, torture and death in prisons and previous censorship of every public manifestation of media reports or cultural production. There was a 13 year-long Colonial War that wiped out the better part of a generation, killing them or leaving them physically and psychologically maimed for life.

Yet, there was never a time without opposition. There was never a time without someone willing to speak out against the regime, at the cost of their own lives. No matter how many books made the forbidden list, there was always someone willing to risk everything to distribute them.

I don’t really care what ideology those men and women professed. I know there were a lot of communists risking their lives in clandestinity, as there were socialists and anarchists. But there were many who weren’t communists, socialists or anarchists, who also risked their lives, who also stood up for their democratic beliefs in the face of impossible odds. No matter what ideological background they had, they all had in common the dream of a better society, a better country, where learning, talking and discussing were possible. A country where art and literature were seen as more than a propaganda tool, where every individual spirit could grow and search for knowledge.

My generation was born immediately before or after the revolution. We never knew what it was to live in a non-democratic society. Though we can understand and relate to a degree, we have no personal experience of those times and our feelings aren’t half as strong about the revolution, as are our parents’ and grandparents’. The younger generations are even more distant from it and seem to have some difficulty, at times, to understand the full consequences of living under such a regime. To them, I propose some reflexion on the following:

If the regime would have been able to perpetuate itself, there would be no free and open internet services in Portugal. Writing a blog like this would be consider subversive. Role-playing games would probably be forbbiden and considered morally corruptive. So would computer games. The remarkable command of English that my generation seems to have would have never come to be. All the music we’ve been hearing for the last three decades would probably never reach us. The technological gadgets we love so much and can now order from anywhere in the world would be dificult to get and expensive beyond all limits. The rampant poverty in which more than half the population lived in those days would be our reality today. Our literacy rate would be laughable and those few that would be able to rise above this limitations would probably flee the country or end up in jail. The European Union would be a distant dream for us. Brand name products would be a mirage.

For all those reasons and many more we cannot afford to forget what this date means. Every new generation should be made aware of what transpired that day and why. Again, I don’t care what was the starting point of every individual group that fought the regime and ultimately brought the revolution into existence. I don’t care about the different agendas. I don’t care about petty political differences. What I do care is that the collective result of all that courage was the dream of a better Portugal, where I’m able to write without fear. A country where I know my 4 month-old nephew will have the opportunity to be the best he can be, and where his voice will be heard, no matter what he choses to say.

Madrugada

Dos que morreram sem saber porquê
Dos que teimaram em silêncio e frio
Da força nascida do medo
Da raiva à solta manhã cedo
Fazem-se as margens do meu rio.

Das cicatrizes do meu chão antigo
E da memória do meu sangue em fogo
Da escuridão a abrir em cor
De braço dado e a arma flor
Fazem-se as margens do meu povo

Canta-se a gente que a si mesma se descobre
E acordem luzes arraiais
Canta-se a terra que a si mesma se devolve
Que o canto assim nunca é demais

Em cada veia o sangue espera a vez
Em cada fala se persegue o dia
E assim se aprendem as marés
Assim se cresce e ganha pé
Rompe a canção que não havia

Acordem luzes nos umbrais que a tarde cega
Acordem vozes, arraiais
Cantam despertos na manhã que a noite entrega
Que o canto assim nunca é demais

Cantem marés por essas praias de sargaços
Acordem vozes, arraiais
Corram descalços rente ao cais, abram abraços
Que o canto assim nunca é demais
O canto assim nunca é demais

José Luís Tinoco

About Ana Carrilho

I'm a portuguese forty-year-old wife of a gamer geek. I'm also a buddhist, the mother to a beautiful toddler girl and like to think of myself as something of a craft artist.
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