Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Easter in Newark
“Got to take care of our own, it’s how we survive.”
Everyday more Portuguese are forced to emigrate to earn their lives…It has been a constant in our History and so is now. My direct family contributes with one of my brothers, soon another one will go too and several cousins.
Portugal has always been too poor to support all of us, when the Estado Novo regime crashed in the seventies of last century, everybody thought, at least for a brief utopian, noisy, messy while that this could be changed and Portugal would be the coronation of all the sixties revolutions and hopes.
Reality soon set in and the country started slowly to adapt to “normalidade”(normality) and with the signing into the European Union in the eighties, this accelerated even more. Now we have come a long way from where we were on the seventies, but still, we are not a more fair, a more balanced country.
Opportunity just doesn’t knock the same way at every door and the Sun doesn’t shine the same way to all the children of the land.
At the same time, there's an opposite phenomena, being part of the European Union we attract thousands of others who want to enter Europe and access its riches, also we are becoming an elderly people with a low fertility rate, emigrants are our way of renewing the social tissue, not counting the added value to our pension system and the cheap labor force they constitute. Being the destination port of thousands of people coming back from Africa after Portuguese decolonization in the late seventies of the XXth century, we also have a lot of second generation, local born African descendants.
Will we be able to use all this forces to forge a new country? will we use all this connections in the right way? can we face prejudice and overcome it – even the well established one, that we Portuguese don’t harbor no prejudices…Africa, Latin America and Asia, are emerging and some of its countries are becoming major players in world affairs, we have been there, we have dealt with those peoples for centuries can we still do it now ? Can we function as a link between all this interests and the interests of the West that we are part ?