14 May 2009

On giving up*

In his novel ‘The Old Man and The Sea’, Hemingway recounts one of the most touching tales about humility, effort and determination that I have ever read.

It’s the story of an old Cuban fisherman, Santiago, who went eighty-four days without catching any fish at all. Nobody wanted to go out fishing with Santiago anymore, and even his young apprentice was forbidden by his parents to sail with the old man and was ordered to fish with more successful fishermen.

Santiago could have given up, an old man that he was.

But instead of giving up, he gambled everything – including his own life.

On the eighty-fifth day, Santiago took out to the sea, in his tiny boat, far into the Gulf. He set his lines and, by noon of the first day, a big fish took his bait. Being on his own, the old man was unable to pull the fish, which he thought was a marlin, and the fish ended up pulling the small boat, following the current to open sea. There was no way to stop him, unless the old man cut the line.

But Santiago didn’t give up. For two days and two nights, he bore the tension of the line with his own body. When the marlin finally gave up, the sharks arrived. The old man still found the strength to pull the fish towards him, and strapped it to the boat, as he wasn’t able to pull the animal on board.

Thus the fish was at the mercy of the sharks that ate from it until all that was left was the skeleton, tied to the boat. But it was an eighteen-feet-long skeleton. And when the old man returned to the beach, after fighting the bravest battle of his life, he was celebrated as a hero – the same man who only three days earlier had been despised by everyone.

‘The Old Man and The Sea’ won Hemingway the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953, and the Nobel Prize in Literature, in 1954. It is an unforgettable lesson of how dignity and persistence rise above arrogance.

At a time when quite a few of us feel tired and barely see a reason not to give up, in the face of an arrogance that starts to become unbearable, I think we could draw some strength from the example of Santiago. At a time when seemingly nothing relevant has happened for much more than eighty-four days, I believe that there will come a day when we will find the necessary strength to take out into the sea of power that seems to be retaining that fish that we so desperately seek: Justice.

And just like Santiago – who reminds me of another intrepid man who, despite not being nearly as old as the Cuban fisherman, is not one for giving up in the face of adversity either – I believe that we will win our battle, a battle that we do not fight for ourselves, but for a little girl whose memory deserves to be honoured.


* Dedicated to my friend Joana, and to Dr Gonçalo Amaral.

Added by JM - thank you Astro

«The Old Man and the Sea» is a painted-on-glass-animated (pastel oil paintings on glass) short film directed by outstanding Russian animator Aleksandr Petrov based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. A veritable masterpiece who won many awards, including the Oscar Academy Award for Animated Short Film in 1999. Work on the film took place in Montreal over a period of two and a half years and was funded by an assortment of Canadian, Russian and Japanese companies. French and English-language soundtracks to the film were released concurrently. It was the first animated film to be released in IMAX. Enjoy.







17 comments:

  1. on the contrary, Astro... I think a lot has happened in the past 84 days.

    We've had 2 documentaries, various interviews & chat shows and a book that is growing in popularity and being translated into many languages.

    The McCann's are being forced to defend themselves with ever lamer excuses.
    They have lied so many times they are forgetting their original lies. Unfortunately for them, their original lies are on a DVD on the internet for everyone to read.

    Slowly the tide is turning for fisherman Amaral.

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  2. Thank you dear astro, for a timely reminder of this classic story, which you deservedly dedicate to Gonçalo Amaral and Joana.

    "....dignity and persistence rise above arrogance."

    May I, in turn, also dedicate the moral of this story to you too.

    Here's to integrity, dignity, courage and determination!

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  3. An excellent and inspiring post- thank you!

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  4. I honestly believe there is more reason to be hopeful that Madeleine will get justice now then for a long time.

    The latest documentary from the McCanns showed clearly how it was almost impossible for an abductor to have been inside the apartment at the same time as Mr McCann.
    As for an abductor that feels he needs to close the curtains after him, but feels happy to leave the shutters and window open as Mrs McCann seems to imply just adds to the puzzlement of why an abductor would even choose the window as means of escape.

    I personally know at least a dozen people who watched that Channel 4 programme and saw the same things that I did and all of them are dubious about the McCanns version of events.

    For anyone considering giving up, please don't. I truly believe Madeleine is closer now than she has been for a long time to the truth finally being known.

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  5. that should be dedicated to gerry McCann too... Amaral's battle is not as desperate as Gerry and Kate's one. You do not know the truth by now, nor do I, a bit of neutralism whould be welcome

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  6. Oh, yes! The tide has turned already in favor of ´fisherman´Amaral. The time for the McCanns and their cabale is almost up. You will understand that I am not revealing my name for good reason. Even though I live in Portugal for some years, I am not Portuguese. However, I am a retired collegue of Gonçalo from a European country with 27 years of professional experience. I had the pleasure of meeting Gonçalo Amaral and discuss matters with him thoroughly. And I do agree with him without any reservation. Therefore, I am fully supporting his efforts to solve the case by working ´undercover´ digging-up further evidence – and, I am sure, many other retired PJ-Inspectors from various European countries do the same . And there is plenty already that has not been revealed to the public. Gonçalo does not fight for his own ends and benefit. He is fighting for moral standards, dignity and above all – justice, and I am proud of having the opportunity of assisting him in this fight. Not far from now the pressure will be high enough to blow the lid from the pot. And that will be the beginning of the end of the McCann cabale and their supporters whoever they are. What is going to follow is an earth shaking event, good enough to topple governments. Truth and justice shall prevail. That is exactly what we are fighting for. Gonçalo, go ahead! You have more collegues, friends and supporters than you may be ware of. Time is on our side. And time is running out for the other party!

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  7. Beautiful post Astro, and I know you are a "Santiago" too. Thank you!

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  8. Anon 13.34, I don't know if you speak portuguese but QUE DEUS TE OUÇA!
    Thank you for your post.Sometimes we all feel that justice will never be done.But you have given me some hope.

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  9. For the person who suggests some neutrality, could I suggest reading more of the evidence? The only evidence for an abduction by a third party is the McCanns statements. Where does that leave the possibilities?

    Great and thoughtful post! I'm sure Amaral and colleagues will sort things out one day.

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  10. Yes, I do speak Portuguese. And don´t worry. God will not only hear me but also the voices of all the honorable PJ-Inspectors, retired or still on active duty, from various countries who stand up for the truth and justice, and on whose unconditional support Gonçalo Amaral can count. Things have gone further already as you probably can immagine. Just keep your faith and wait for some more time. This case is not only about »Maddie«. The background is an entirely different one and makes it necessary to dig into the muddy waters of greed,corruption, blackmail. Believe me, we are at it and Godf is on our side!

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  11. 13.34, anonymous,

    I love you in pieces.
    Great to hear from you.
    May God bless you every second of your life!

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  12. I have heard many times of people sending goodwill messages to Goncalo Amaral.

    Can someone please tell ME how to contact him. If it is not possible I will use this opportunity to post my message of support via your forum and hope that it will be communicated to him.

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  13. "But instead of giving up, he gambled everything – including his own life."


    Passou-se algo quanto à segurança e bem estar de J.M. e G.A.?

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  14. You will surely understand that I can not give out Gonçalo Amaral´s phone no. freely. Hoever, if you wantto semd him a message of support, I suggest you mail it to the diditors of his book. Their address and e-mail is:
    Jorge Silva

    Tel. (351) 213 144 488
    Fax. (351) 213 144 489
    Mobile (351) 914 959 190
    jorgesilva@guerraepaz.net
    www.guerraepaz.net

    Guerra e Paz, Editores SA
    Rua Conde Redondo, 8 – 5.º Esq.
    1150-105 Lisboa - PORTUGAL

    Surely, they will forward your message to Amaral without delay. Hope, this helps.

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  15. Dr. Amaral, bem haja pela luta que tem mantido a favor da verdade e da justiça. Ambas hão de prevalecer.

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  16. The truth is:., Who lies must have a very good memory.

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  17. Querem ver que todos nós e de vez vamos conseguir a reabertura do processo da Maddie? E ajudar quem for chateado?
    Contem comigo.
    mcr

    BBC


    MC

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