April 17, 2014

The songs of the Revolution

Portugal's Radio Renascenca played a folk song called Grândola Vila Morena at 25 minutes past midnight on Thursday, 25 April 1974 - Fair town of Grândola, land of fraternity, the people is the one who rules most within you, city

For more than a hundred army officers that song was was the signal they were waiting to start the move to Lisbon. This was a song from Zeca Afonso. This composer/singer and songwriter is aclaimed for his folk/social intervention and protest music.

But 90 minutes earlier the radio station played the first agreed signal, another song called E depois do adeus.(After Good-bye) This song was Portugal's 1974 entry in the Eurovision song contest in Brighton. The singer Paulo de Carvalho had also no idea that his song would become so famous and a symbol of the revolution.

Grândola Vila Morena - a creative and revolutionary protest in Parliament February 2013. 

Parliamentary debate saw an intervention by 20 people from a social movement called Que se lixe a troika. They sung Grândola and interrupted Prime Minister. He said: "of all the ways work might be interrupted, this would seem to be in the best possible taste." Last year, 38 years after the Carnation Revolution, the former soldiers who made it happen did not take place in official celebrations at the Parliament. Instead they choose to participate on a demonstration on the streets of Lisbon. They joined a protest against the economic crisis and the austerity measures adopted by the government of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho. The conservative government of Passos Coelho is still aiming to reduce the fiscal deficit, a condition imposed by the "troika" of creditors - the International Monetary fund (IMF), the EU and the European Central Bank (ECB) - that approved a 110-billion dollar financial bailout for Portugal in 2011. How? Everybody says that he's killing April's conquests. We are facing pay and pension cuts, more tax imposition, the possible end of free universal public healthcare. Prices for natural gas, electricity, fuel, transport are rising. Now it's easier to hire and fire workers. Unemployment benefits were reduced also, among other measures.


Grândola Vila Morena sung by huge crowd (Oporto demonstration, March 2013) 

Music and movies inspired by the Carnation Revolution! If you want to go shopping I found these for you at Amazon's store!

Capitaes De Abril - April Captains
by  Antonio Victorino D' Almeida
Original soundatrack of the movie with the same name. Curiosity: the composer is the father od the director Maria de Medeiros.
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Capitaes De Abril (Widescreen Edition)

Portuguese movie with subtitles in English.The film pays tribute to the men that plotted the coup. The script could be better. Still it's a nice way to learn about Captain Salgueiro Maia deeds and Portuguese Carnation revolution.
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Portugal's Revolution: Ten Years On 
by Hugo Gil Ferreira, Michael W. Marshall
Major socio-political study of the fate of Portugal in the decade since the coup d'état.Buy Now

Vivo: 50 Anos De Carreira

A romantic concert! Paulo de Carvalho will be forever connected to the history of the country. But there's more to the artist than the song E depois do adeus!
Live concert from 2010 at Fundação Oriente when he was celebrating 50 th year of his career. In this record Paulo de Carvalho revisits some of his most iconic themes.
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José Afonso - ao vivo no Coliseu

The one and great recorded concert with Zeca Afonso. Lisbon Coliseum.January 1983. The author of Grândola Vila Morena was already very sick when he performed. He died 4 years later. Memorable!
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April 16, 2014

Why did Carnation Revolution take place?

Hello friends and Zazzlers!

Here I am with a few more facts about Carnation Revolution. I don't know if you're fond of history. I am! So, why did this revolution take place? 

- Civil liberties and political freedoms were inexistent.

- People could not assembly or make a demonstration or create freely. Just an example of someone who likes movies, me! Foreign movies could not be dubbed, only subtitled. The subtitles were more easily adjusted by the censors if they disapproved the original dialogues.

- The "blue pencil" was the symbol of censorship. Censors used a blue pencil to make cuts of any text, image or design that should not be published in the press. Books were seized.

- The people was tired of the oppressive government. Polícia Internacional e de Defesa do Estado or P.I.D.E. (International State Defence Police) was a wide network that spread its tentacules throughout Portugal and its overseas territories.

- The police encouraged citizens to denounce suspicious activities against it. These men and women were called bufos (snitches). Everyone lived in fear. Private, social and profissional life was under constant surveillance.

- The prison of Tarrafal was created in the Portuguese colony of Cape Verde. It was the destination for those political prisoners considered dangerous by the regime. Tarrafal was known for its severe methods of torture. More than 30 persons were killed there. It was a real concentration camp.

No one managed to escape this concentration camp. It was called Campo da morte lenta - Camp of the slow death. Tarrafal was a place for the physical elimination of antifascist prisoners, through abuse, punishments and diseases. When the prisoners arrived at the concentration camp they were housed in canvas tents. For two years they underwent authentic forced labor to built the accommodation for soldiers under hot sun of the tropics. Soon they fell ill with malaria and other tropical diseases. There was no doctor or nurse, or medicine in the camp. One of the camp's Captain's had been part of a military commission in Nazi German charged with studying the operation of concentration camps. An example of punishments inflicted was "the pan" - a cement building with just three holes made in the heavy iron door for light and air. Inside prisoners suffer from the heat. They survived in small compartments with small quantities of water and bread. Horror.

- The start of the sixties brought with it the Portuguese Colonial War. Salazar had refused to give up Portugals' colonies in Africa - Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. The dictatorship's 14 years efforts to hold on to the colonies was responsible for countless deaths among the young generation.

- Many young men were emigrating, often illegally, as a means of avoiding conscription. Many escaped because they could not stand the lack of freedom.

- Portugal was living under a strong influence of the Catholic Church. Portugal was the 3 F's country: Fátima, futebol and fado.

More about April 25 on my next postage!

April 15, 2014

What is Carnation Revolution?

Images on this video show how the siege of Carmo Headquarters by the Armed Forces Movement took place. Salgueiro Maia leads the operation. The military are surrounded by thousands of people who supported the revolution. There was eminent danger as no one knew how the government forces would react. Marcelo Caetano and two ministers of his cabinet were inside. The siege began at 12:30 and 16:30 Marcelo Caetano announced that he would surrender. An hour later, General Spinola entered the Carmo Headquarters to negotiate the surrender of the Government.The Carmo Headquarters hoisted the white flag. At 19:30 Marcelo Caetano surrenders. Victory!

In a nutshell:

- A bloodless coup occurred 25th April 1974 which ended the repressive and dictatorial leadership of the country.

- The longest dictatorship in Europe, the Estado Novo, had prevailed for almost 50 years - Old regime or Estado Novo was founded by 1933. It was led by António de Oliveira Salazar, Prime Minister of Portugal from 1932 to 1968. Then Marcelo Caetano took over.

- Just past midnight tanks moved into Lisbon and took control of television, radio centres and the airport. Troops armed with machineguns stormed the barracks where the Prime Minister and two of his ministers had taken refuge. Spontaneous demonstrations filled the streets. Thousands of civilians mingled with the soldiers, the newly formed MFA - Movement of Armed Forces - despite orders to stay inside.They shouted O Povo unido, jamais será vencido! This means The united people will never be defeated.

- General António de Spínola received the surrender of the prime minister Marcelo Caetano. Caetano spent the rest of his life in exile in Brazil.

- Above is the most famous poster of April 25th. The kid was three years old and his name is Diogo Bandeira Freire. Today he lives in the UK and married an English woman. He never voted in Portugal.

Salgueiro Maia was Carnation Revolution's hero

"Fed up with almost 50 years of oppression,
- Sick of incompetence,
- Fed of cannon fodder manufacture,
- Tired of helping a handful of gluttons eating on the budget account,
- Tired of "fighting" for lost causes,
I decided to say "enough."

(...) After the first radio signal with the song E depois do adeus, we begin to wake up the guys, they were was convinced to stand before another instruction night. (...)

Thus, before the denial of freedom and injustice that we had reached, the zero hope in better days, we had to change the regime, not to become substitutes to the previous regime ourselves, but to return freedom and democracy to the people so to ensure people the choice of the collective destiny.

To unwind, I stated that there were various types of states: the liberals, the social democrats, the socialists, etc.., But no state was worse than the condition that we had become, so it urged to finish with it. "

(Excerpt taken from the book Capitão de Abril: Histórias da guerra do ultramar e do 25 de Abril )

Carnation Revolution. It started 20 minutes after midnight and before dinner time it was over. The army didn't fire a shot but four civilians were killed by the government forces and maybe 50 were injured. A legendary army captain named Fernando Salgueiro Maia was 29 years old that day and he was the man who led a revolutionary movement of 144 left-wing junior officers. He was the face and the heart of the Carnation Revolution even if the commanding officer was the more radical Otelo Carvalho. Salgueiro Maia was a real patriot and hero. He was a skilled, inteligent, honest and generous man. He cared for the others more than he cared about himself. He died too soon, in 1992, of cancer, but he will never be forgotten by those who give freedom due value. This revolution changed Portugal.
In Lisboa, the walls of Universidade Nova building at Avenida de Berna da Universidade Nova gained new meaning and life. This is the work from a colective of young artists -  Miguel Januário, Frederico Draw, Diogo Machado e Gonçalo Ribeiro - that were indicated by Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils to accomplish the job. Well done!

This was a great idea because murals were common in Portugal after the Revolution. Take a look!

And here's some more photos, Posters, Murals, Paintings and Stickers!

Centro de documentação 25 de Abril
Documentation centre of Coimbra Universtity. Portuguese language. 

Portuguese plastic artists on the Revolution 
A collection of works from Portuguese plastic artists inspired by the Carnation Revolution. 

Images, posters, stickers about the Carnation Revolution The photos of the Revolution 
57 black and white photos that document the Carnation Revolution 

Artistic murals of the Revolution 
Conceção Neuparth Collection. This woman photographed more than 500 murals from north to south of Portugal. 

Celeste of the carnations 
Celeste Caeiro explains how she got the carnations and why she gave it to the military. ( Portuguese language.)

April 13, 2014

April 25th - Celebrating freedom in Portugal

In a few weeks it will be time to celebrate April's Revolution. It happened 40 years ago already! I decided to write about it because it's an important date.

I was a child when it happened. We were sent home from school and I had a pink uniform! I remember a black and white TV showing images of what was going on in Lisbon. I remember enthusiastic discussions from the adults around it. Then I remember returning to school and watching two big fainted squares on the classroom wall in front of us. That's because the photos of the deposed political leaders have been taken down. I also remember that the name of the street were I lived changed. The old name wasn't considered good anymore. It was now named after the Revolution - Rua 25 de Abril. And I remember that I liked that! I liked the fact that I was living in a street that received a name after Carnation Revolution. On April 25th, 1974, the Armed Forces Movement re-established democracy without shedding the blood of those who opposed to change. The military did not take revenge, they treated prisoners with respect and justice. I've always found this to be an amazing achievement.

I also remember that my mother bought red carnations several times the weeks that followed that exciting day. They were in a flower vase on the living room table. I did not like carnations and the Revolution did not change that.

The story of this symbol is that Tourist Day was being celebrated and there were lots of carnations for distribution in the markets of Lisbon. An important restaurant was holding a party to celebrate on year but because of the Revolution going on the manager decided not to open for the day. The carnations were given to employees that took the flowers home. One woman that was passing by was asked a cigar by a military. But she was a non-smoker. So she gave him the carnation and immediately he placed it in the barrel of the gun. Her name is Celeste Caeiro and she's known since that day as Celeste dos Cravos, Celeste of the Carnations. The gesture was then replicated and the carnations become a spontaneous symbol of the revolution.

At the start of the 1980s, after some years of political instability, Portugal evolved towards the full democracy which is part of the country of the present day. I am grateful to the men who had the initiative to change things back in April 1974. I may not agree with the current political situation in the country. I can say this openly without fear of going to jail and being tortured. I value freedom. I can write my opinions without fear of censorship. And as a woman I value that the law does not discriminate me just because I'm a woman anymore.

Even though many people are disenchanted with the direction the country has taken recently I think we should always celebrate Freedom Day and honor the memory of men who dared to fight the system. What is Carnation Revolution? Why did it happen? What were the consequences of it? I'll provide some historical footage and list the songs that made history at the time. I just hope to have the time to write.