A Letter to Maria Inês
by Teresa Baptista
Hello, Inês. You have a very pretty name that recalls a great love story featuring a Portuguese King, which unfortunately was condemned to end in a tragic way. Oh, but that was many, many years ago!
You don’t know me, but I know very well who you are! And I even know that you became 6 years old, only a few days ago. I know that this year you did not have the usual birthday party, that you are living strangely sad days, and that this year, you may not even enjoy Christmas, like the other children in Portimão, the city where you live with your parents.
I know, Inês, that you are Dr. Gonçalo Amaral’s daughter and that fact has been bringing you disadvantages, and that you have already started to feel, in your home, the result of the siege that is being built around your father, just because the work that he was developing was uncomfortable for a few important and rich foreigners, people with high level influence at the top of the English government, who through those connections ended up pulling the strings in Portugal. They managed to have the Polícia Judiciária discharging your father from the process that he was involved in, and later on, frustrated and disappointed with all the evident professional persecution, he exonerated himself, retiring too early, just when he was developing serious investigations that sought to discover a presumably criminal action, a hideous one, in which the parents themselves conceal the truth about the facts that led to their daughter’s death, a little girl exactly your age.
Your life is completely different now, I know that. Where once was largeness, there is now tightness, where there was joy and happiness, now reign sadness, fear and anguish.
Maybe you cannot understand this strange world of adults, and maybe you are upset that after all, by fighting for the truth, your father suffers on his skin, the weight of ingratitude, of disrespect and of humiliation. If he had bowed to the hypocrisy and the lie of a staging of gigantic proportions, your peace and quiet would maybe have been secure. But he chose the hardest path, and he chose well: the path of competence, of dignity and of truth.
A harrowing coincidence: that Portuguese King that I mentioned earlier, his name was Pedro, and when the wife that he loved was murdered – Dona Inês -, he, too, decided to face up to the Court’s convenience, and walked a rough, rocky path, to persecute those who were responsible, to punish with his own hands, those who had dared to lie and to practise a crime of indescribable cruelty.
Inês, yours is a sad fate, as this year you will not enjoy a Christmas like you deserve and like you were used to.
Nonetheless, trust your father, trust the good Men that surround him and cheer him with your smile, with your spontaneous laughs, with the care of your gentleness and the warmth of your charming little voice. You will see your parents smile again, and you will certainly enjoy a blessed Christmas evening, again.
Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do you know that sometimes he arrives and even though he does not bring presents in the red bag that he carries with the reindeers’ help, he brings along true friendship, justice, happiness and the tranquil and proud conscience of a verticality that is hard to sustain. That is something that the homes of those English people, and of those who engineered the plot of the Injunction, will never enjoy again, no matter how high they raise their hands towards the sky, in a lying and inconsequent supplication.
You see, Inês… God does not sleep… and neither do some Men!
Please receive a tender kiss from a friend whose weapons are the pen, and the typewriter’s keyboard. Some day, we will all celebrate the victory of dignity and of truth, over imbecility and lie.
in A Folha do Café Regional Newspaper, nº230, 10 December 2009, paper edition