26 October 2008

The Fado of Being Portuguese

By Our Guest Author Textusa

"O Fado", by José Malhoa (1855 - 1933)

Portugal is a crazy place. History has proven time and time again that it simply cannot govern itself. Once having taken its destiny in its own hands, we brilliantly mess everything up. All because the Portuguese are envious of one another. Any success coming from others than ourselves, instead of being reason for inspiration and achievement, it’s taken as a violent poke into one’s personal ego. As if one could hear shouted directly into one’s ear “see-how-I-could-do-it-and
-you-weren’t-able-to”!!! The Portuguese simply hate to be considered less intelligent than next person. So, as logic dictates, the only way to prove that you’re not less smart than anybody is by proving that you are smarter than everybody. Howzat!

So how do the Portuguese go about that? They meddle in everybody else’s business but resenting profoundly whenever they, in turn, get meddled upon. See the logic? It defies it, doesn’t it? But that’s the Portuguese way of life. On a personal, professional and institutional level.

Example of this is how the pillars of society are totally amuck. You don’t see the Legislative pillar producing laws. You do see them approve what has been written up by the Executive pillar. And that is in rare cases, usually the media-relevant ones, as in most, the government itself simply approves whatever it has written. The government, instead of running the country is busy legislating. The Parliament, instead of legislating, is checking up on irregularities and does some crime-watching, like in the case of a Prime-Minister that was killed back in 1980 (28 years ago!!!), and to this day we still live in the ping-pong of it’s-a-crime
-it’s-not-a-crime to this day. Fabulously unique in the whole of the western civilization! Give me a similar example anywhere else, and I’ll say the McCann’s didn’t do it. You couldn’t? I know… By the way, even if you could, I wouldn’t keep my side of the bargain.

And how about the Judicial pillar? I do enjoy a game of word-playing as you know, but to synthesize in as few words as possible what is my perception of the issue is an impossible task. To say the least. So, before your brain gets confused, let me just blurt out what I think is the public perception of it: a joke. A huge, humongous, tasteless joke. That said, let’s proceed.

While in the other two pillars everything is clarified through various polite arrangements, namely in the style of “I-don’t-do-anything-
today-and-it-will-be-your-turn-tomorrow”, in this pillar a war is raging on.

Some of the actors: Ministry of Justice (MJ), Ministry of Internal Administration (MAI), Republic’s Public Ministry (PGR), Judiciary Police (PJ) and the Lawyer’s Bar (OA). Oh, and the Parliament. I was forgetting it. Although not taken very seriously (I’m recalling the ridiculous episode when a CEO made the MPs get up earlier, and they complied, because he had better things to do with his life) it does do a great job of keeping certain crimes simmering-warm. All playing the “see-how-I-could-do-it-and-you-weren’t-able-to” game. And putting their best players on the field.

It’s like a soccer championship, where each team tries to get the best players on their side so that they, in turn, contribute in the achievement of intended objectives, be it the title, or simply remaining in the current league. The best players are those with known technical abilities that can make a difference. Brilliant in the game. But in soccer the rules are known, at least most of the time. In this game, the only rule is survival of the fittest. So, you can just imagine what qualities are required for a player in this game. Now, you can understand why Mr. Alípio Ribeiro completely out of the blue comes on national TV and surprises the nation by stating that the McCanns were incorrectly given “arguido” status. And you can also understand the coincidence it was for the same Mr. Ribeiro to be nominated, recently, to a very interesting and certainly experience-rewarding job… Competence certainly gets you far.

I’ve read a lot of about alleged sophisticated power games between these actors. That would credit them with capabilities that they don’t possess. I think it’s a simpler, and a much more shallow and petty kind of thing. Sort of seeing hookers fighting for a street-corner. No offense to hookers, please. At least they don’t try to fake virtue.

I could now expand on each of these actors and their players, but I won’t. Maybe one day. Today, of them, I’ll single out one, the OA. For its ridiculousness and hypocrisy.

Its current Head, Dr. Marinho Pinto, was elected on a Robin Hood type of campaign. Heroically carrying the flag of the weak in their rightful battle against the evil powerful. But we all know that that chap from Sherwood just enjoyed robbing, and that the thing about the poor was pure plain marketing. If you walked in the forest in those days, you were either part of the gang, or immediately considered rich. The Head of the OA very quickly found out that the real-politick is not exactly as compliant with demagogy as he had voiced. As far as I know, the powerful firms of law remain powerful, and employment for new lawyers is as difficult and exploited as ever was. Realizing that he was powerless against the powerful, he turned all his artillery into, what I call, the Pseudo-Ideological Fight for the Pureness of the Law (PIFPL). And I, who invented the name, don’t even know what it means. Just a sophisticated way of saying that he started to put the foot in his mouth.

Dr. Pinto decided to undertake, almost single-handed, the task of bringing the Law back to its most pure ideological values. The PIFPL War. Text-book fundamentalism. And like all fundamentalists, distorted whatever he was trying to achieve, if ever was trying. In the case of the Casa Pia, he publicly denounced it as political process driven directly against one of the current Portuguese political parties. I will not state my opinion about that particular process; will just concentrate on the gentleman’s attitude. If he were a journalist, a blogger or a soccer player, nothing to oppose. In fact, everything to applaud.

But he is the Head of the OA. Outside those directly involved in the referred process he is the ONLY one who couldn’t, and more importantly should have had the foresight that he shouldn’t, say anything about it. Why? Need I explain? A clue: there are lawyers on BOTH sides of the fence. Alleging unjustness within the process is stating in total clear terms that the lawyers working for the accusation are ethically and politically corrupt. Are they not professionals that he should defend in the same manner as those that are on the defending team?

Dr. Pinto, not satisfied in placing is foot in his mouth, kept on swallowing, and is now with his leg so much in it that the description could be mistaken for trying to imply something about the gentleman’s sexual orientation which clearly is NOT the intended. On the Cipriano case, once again, he discriminates against professionals that he is supposed to protect. Yes, there is the remote possibility of the existence of crimes against humanity (CAH). But CAH, within Portugal, rank as high as gay-marriage in the population’s priorities. No matter how much politicians say otherwise. So Dr. Pinto, like Napoleon before him, saw the opportunity seized it by choosing the exact location on where to fight the next battle in his PIFPL War. Yet, he forgot two details. One is that nobody is very much interested in it. The lawyers as a class are not that well perceived by the public, and certainly it’s not the defense of human rights in a western civilized country that will change that. The other thing is that he is, or at least should be, first and utmost, the paladin of his professional class and should not use his position to pursue his ideals, however honest and quixotesque they are. The fact of the matter is that there are, once again, lawyers on both sides.

Imagine that you’re the coach of a high-school soccer team, and heading for the national finals, when the FIFA’s President decides to make available, as assistants to your opponents, the Brazil soccer team, just because your adversaries come from a poorer neighborhood than yours. A noble attitude by a certainly noble man.

You, on the other hand, feel treated unfairly. The game is still going to go on, and nothing says you are going to lose, but, shall we say, it’s convenient that you do. Please don’t you dare spoil what the papers are expecting. The headlines have already been made up and the papers are on the press, ready to hit the streets.

How many soccer games have seen assisted by FIFA itself? But who are you going to complain to? FIFA? Good luck to you, mate.

e tudo isto é fado...


9 comments:

  1. Joana.... is this 'Textusa' your new alter ego ? (in these dull news-less autumn times..)
    Go on... enjoy yourself !

    ReplyDelete
  2. KC

    What a honour to be confused with Joana!

    Thank you for such a HUGE compliment!

    Textusa

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  3. At the age of 5, I along with my parents emigrated from Portugal to Canada. Many a time I have had bad experiences with Portuguese immigrants. After thinking about it, I too came to the same conclusion that it has to do with envy. Don’t get me wrong not all Portuguese people are like this but I have noticed that people of other races are more apt to help each other to succeed than the Portuguese. I think it’s this kind of attitude that is holding the country back.
    We catch some of the Portuguese channels and I was shocked to see this Dr. Pinto character engage in a tirade in front of the cameras. I would never have expected something like this from a person in his position.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Textusa,

    There's no evidence to support your wild assumptions and theories.

    The Portuguese value and respect democracy having lived under dictatorship.

    British government ministers documented intervention in Madeleine's tragedy have shown their contempt for democracy, law and justice. It's 'iron first' media control/censorship is the antithesis of 'democracy'.

    Using 'all means possible' for oppression/corruption is unique - a 'dictatorship' deeply affecting Britain's ancient democracy and Portugal's democratic rights.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nice to see that both joana and 'Textusa' have dropped all pretence at nicey-nicey on the 3As.
    What a nasty couple of little cows you are. You denigrate and swear at anyone who disagrees with you. YOur articles are ridiculous - the one on the menaing of justice is text book tripe written by someone with as much insight as a drug-addled moron.

    And what do the 3a mods do? Join in the rancid mobbing, cheer you on and bump the thread. It's gut churning. You have lost any credibility you once had by such despicable, bullying behaviour.

    ReplyDelete
  6. O artigo é redutor... os portugueses não podem ser colocados todos no mesmo saco. Penso até que o autor, português à imagem daqueles que ele pretende descrever. acaba por se retratar a ele mesmo.

    ReplyDelete
  7. To Anonymous 27/10/08 09:36:

    Oh, Pleease do stop! You're embarassing me!
    (blush)

    A big wet kiss on that cute, cuddly face of yours...
    (wink)

    You're such a doll!
    (smile) (tilt of the head)


    Textusa

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  8. 2345

    Overlooking your use of the word “wild”, your comment deserves a civilized response.

    Agree that the Portuguese value democracy.

    Agree to disagree that they respect it. But then again, they are not respected by it.

    Did not, anywhere, exempt Great Britain (GB) in the whole Madeleine case. Various times was very harsh towards it and continue to do so, as I’m moved by my conscience and everything points to the fact that the British do deserve some serious reprimands for their shameful behavior.

    However, although I do believe that there is interference from GB, not only but also in the exact terms you refer, I didn’t think relevant to mention it in an article about the shameful behavior of the Portuguese.

    Textusa

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  9. To anonymous, 27/10/08 10:51

    What makes you think that I’m Portuguese? Is it because I happen to write and read in the language? Are Joana and Astro English because they write in the Shakespearian way? And can, apparently, also read it?

    Portuguese, is, as English, a “civilized” language used worldwide. So is French (Paulo Reis and Duarte Levy), Spanish, German, Dutch, etc.

    Is it because I once wrote “you Brits”? Being one, it excludes me from the expression. And if I am American, Canadian or Kenyan, I may use it?

    Now, I think you’re Portuguese. Not by the language used, but by the way you answered. Quoting my own words “they meddle in everybody else’s business but resenting profoundly whenever they, in turn, get meddled upon”, you, my friend, reacted accordingly.

    Conscious that it’s a negative trait, did not mean to offend, but simply to state. Cannot avoid, though, that offense is taken.

    Read Guerra’s comment. I understand fully what he says. And he will understand what I will say next. Although spiteful between each other, the Portuguese immigrants, when working multinationally, make Portugal proud. So much that they are very much sought after for their competence. It makes one wonder why your homeland simply refuses to leap forward and evolve.

    If you, and people like you, stopped being so easily offended, it would be a first step.

    Textusa

    ReplyDelete