25 de Abril Sempre!!!!!!!!!
Salgueiro Maia e outros capitaes de Abril. Photo from here
Para uma celebracao do 25 de Abril como deve ser vejam a pagina da minha mae. Nao tive tempo para nada, snif... Mas nao me esqueci e o 25 de Abril estara sempre no meu coracao. E hoje sem pensar nisso, vesti-me de vermelho-cravo, nem sei bem porque... :) Segue-se uma explicacao para turista do que eh o 25 de Abril.
Sorry for that small paragraph in portuguese but today is a very special day for many portuguese. For others it is a hateful day. Anyway. Today, 32 years ago, there was a revolution in Portugal. This revolution was done by the army, mainly by lower rank officers - they are now called the Captains of April. For 40 years before that day, Portugal was under a fascist regime which had led us into never ending wars in our colonies throughout the world and to being openly ostracized by democratic governments. Portugal was isolated (proudly alone, was the motto for this regime) and kept in darkness. Due to our isolation, a lot of regions were pretty much as developed as in the 19th century, and poverty was abundant. People were obviously not allowed to speak their minds against the government, and there was only one political party allowed. We had the same prime minister for something like 30 years. The one time when a real opposer tried to run, not for prime minister, that was a sure assignment, but for President, he lost misteriously and died not so misteriously shortly after. My grandfather used to listen to his campaign on the radio. My mother was very young, still in primary school. Her teacher asked them who used to listen at home to the political campaigns on the radio, and my mother said innocently her father did. After that, my grandfather was taken to questionning by the political police. He was "lucky" because he had no affiliation they could prove to any forbidden organisation, but members of the then underground Communist Party and Socialist Party were often put in prison for years, questioned and tortured. Many died there.
In 1974, the politicized faction of the army decided to take a stand and in few more than 24 hours, with no support from higher ranking officers, the Captains of April made the perfect revolution... In the dawn, they started to move and take all the important points where resistance could be met. When people started to wake up, they heard warnings from the revolutionary movement to stay at home. But they just couldn't. They came to the street to show their support and agreement, and to finally express their desire for freedom. In the frantic hours after that, the only bloodshed that occurred was caused by the political police forces who tried to resist and shot randomly out of a window to a square filled with not an angry but hopeful crowd.
The street sellers were selling red carnations. I don't know and no one will ever be sure who thought of it, but somehow red carnations were placed in the soldiers' machine guns. For me this is the most emblematic image of this revolution, also called the Revolution of Carnations, and even though I never lived it, I will always be very happy on this day. Because I know it was one of the happiest days in my parents' life, my grandparents', my uncles', and it makes me happy that they could see it, they were there, they watched this amazing change in the face of the people and turned to the mirror in surprise at their own expression of happiness to be at last, free.
This is where the story ends, and I say they lived happilly ever after. But that's bulshit, everyone knows THAT!
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this bit of portuguese recent history. If not... ah, what the hell.
Elevador da Gloria, Lisboa, on April 25th 1974. Photo by Victor Valente