Monday, March 26, 2007

scary stuff!



Something scary happened last night in Portugal. There was a contest to elect the best portuguese in history (this was already made in many european countries with some scary results as well...) and the winner was António de Oliveira Salazar - the man that introduced Fascism in Portugal from 1933 until 1974 (though he died in the late sixties), or in other words a Dictator.

These were more than 40 years of a right-wing regime, not as bad as Hitler's or Mussolini's but with the same basic ingredients: censorship, torture, denial of individual freedom, isolation from the rest of the Western countries, a war to keep the power over the colonies in Africa, imperialism. 40 years that have enhanced the gap between the most developed countries in Europe and us, 40 years without being able to talk in a small group in the streets (or you could be arrested for conspiring against the regime), of not being able to read or listen to anything that could perhaps help you "make up your own mind" about the world, 40 years of saying poverty and illiteracy were a good thing.

And YET, the man won the pole with an astonishing 41%, against a communist leader that fought and was arrested for our democracy (19%) and a diplomat that helped 30 thousand Jews escape the claws of Hitler (13%). The King that started our country in the 12th century stayed at 4th place, the navigators that showed us the world stood behind, the amazing poets were left behind too. There wasn't a single woman in the top 10.

But what does this say about a country? The annalists were saying there is a great discontent with our democracy, with the way things are going, that this vote was a protest. True, things aren't going so well ... but when you leave a dictatorship of 40 years, you can't except 30 years to get us back in our feet, even with the european money, my friends. Lately, I've come across opinions of philosophers and writers that reach the same conclusion: people don't know how to live in liberty. They fight for it, they get it, but when they do...what do they do? They work, get home, drink a beer, watch the footie, read tabloids, watch soap operas. Do they read Rilke or travel to know other countries and cultures? No, they read soppy novels and travel to Brazil or southern Spain to get tanned. Yeah, freedom is good. Ignorance is bliss.

So, even though the results of the contest did surprise me, it doesn't surprise me that they wish they had a leader, that someone was there on top of their work desks telling them EXACTLY what to do...because, by themselves, they don't know.

12 comments:

Ps said...

Its news to me--and that is truly scary.Most of these prejudices happen because people do not think, they are afraid to be different--and want to go with the masses.Most people want to be sheep--and someone with a small resemblance of a lion, finds it easy to (mis)lead them.

Devil Mood said...

PS: Exactly!
Well, this was only a contest, not an indicator that fascism is coming back, but it's still amazing.

holy chaos said...

you are so right in the conclusion that you came to. it is very perplexing that people would want to go back...is the economy that bad that people feel that they faired better under the dictator?

i love your line "freedom is good. Ignorance is bliss."

great!

Scholiast said...

It could be that low-life side of Portugal just had a well-organised voting team, it happened here before (text message voting), a group of people just decided to win a vote, and there was literally no end to the number of votes they produced. What I mean is - hopefully 41% wasn't actually people, but votes...

It reminds me of the lyrics of one Norwegian poet (translated, hastily & poorly, by yours truly); "I woke up and realised the children of daylight were longing for night / Where freedom is a matter of course, suppression looks romantic / But the right to romance the wrong things is also part of freedom"

(Sorry for taking up so much space..)

Devil Mood said...

Holychaos: I don't know. I don't think the majority of the people that voted would want fascism back, they're probably just disappointed or protesting.

Scholiast: I think that happened too. People were afraid that the communist leader won, so they voted for the dictator. lol And there was also a scam that made people vote without knowing for a while. It was insane. Great poem and the translation is fine! :) Space is no problem in the internet!

Niall said...

I am baffled!..why not Ronaldo?

Devil Mood said...

Niall: lol Exactly! He wasn't even in the top10. In fact, there were no footballers in the top10, which was a little surprising, I must say. But, to be honest, it would be even more worrying if Ronaldo won. The boy is younger than me....:P

Niall said...

Now who's feeling old?

Stephanie said...

The conclusions at the end were some of the same we reached about the majority of voters in our last (2) presidential elections. Aside from those who did vote very deliberatly...what were the rest of them thinking that we could elect this idiot...twice?

I guess what I like about blogging, is that people here seem more...awake..than most people I meet out in my day-to-day world.

PS - Your post brought this song to mind.

Devil Mood said...

Niall: I actually feel old very often, so this isn't a real exception ;) Wow, Magritte, I love his work. No wonder you're such an artist!

Stephanie: That's true. I think you need a certain amount of consciousness to write a blog, even if not a social conscious, simply a personal one. And that's a start :)
That video is great!

Crafty Green Poet said...

This is very scary. But I think the comment about people not knowing how to live in liberty is so true. Perhaps a lot of people feel safe being told what to do....

Devil Mood said...

Crafty Green Poet: Thanks for commenting. I think that must be true for a certain amount of people: it's easier to be guided than to guide.