Sunday, 3 August 2008

My opinion about British people (*)

I have a strong admiration for the British people and it’s History. There are three countries that may be considered the “fathers” of all the Rights and Freedoms that we, European people, have: England, with the “Magna Carta”, France, with its ideas of “Liberté, Egalité et Fraternité” and the USA, when representatives of the 13 states wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights (...)”

I lived and worked in London, for some months, in 2005, during a financially difficult period of my life. I shared a flat with two Portuguese and three Brazilians, all immigrants working at cleaning services and in restaurants. I have a son who is studying in the University, in London. I admire the efficiency and the fairness of British society, in dealing with serious problems like racism and xenophobia. When I watch debates in the British Parliament, on TV, I always remember that the place where those debates happen is were modern Parliaments, an essential part of Democracy, were born.

For around 28 years, reading the weekly edition of “The Economist” has been some kind of a ritual, for me. I wish that I could be able to write with that accuracy, mixed with a touch of irony, giving to their readers a clear analysis and explanation of what happens, all over the world. And I don’t believe that a pack of blood-thirsty and howling tabloid journalists, willing to kill – or let someone be killed – to have a story that helps them to keep their jobs, is representative of the British people.

In 1941, my father was drafted to the Army, Infantry Battalion nº 13. As soon as the Portuguese Government gave permission to the Allied Forces to use the Azores Air Base, everybody in Portugal was convinced that, in a few weeks, the Nazi war machine would run over our country. A short-wave radio was a luxury item that few people could afford. There was an officer, at my father's Battalion, that had one. Many times, late at night, a few friends would gather around that radio, to listen to what was called “The Voice of Truth” - BBC radio broadcastings, in Portuguese.

I admire the British people, his achievements, his contribution to the History of Mankind. Great-Britain is one of the great nations of the world and if it wasn’t the decision to “fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills”, if necessary, and “never surrender (...) until in God's good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old”, all Europe – including Portugal – could have been, for a long time, under the darkest of all evil powers that have threatened Humankind, since the beginning of time.

I still believe that British people will never surrender.

(*) Now, that some people is talking about negative effects of the McCann case in the relations between Portuguese and British people, I think it's a good idea to remember what I wrote on October 12, 2007.