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  • Foto do escritorJornal O Cola

Cries of Freedom Echo Through the Streets

By Mariana Raminhos
Translated by Leonardo Fernandes

Cries of freedom echo through the streets, the houses tell stories and the red carnations lend colour to the city. The celebrations of the 25th of April recall the strength of a nation who is clearly no longer the same. In a way, what we have sown ended up rotting and it is now up to the youth to rewrite the concept of democracy. This responsibility falls upon us because we are labelled as "the future", despite the fact that only few of our graduates wish to remain within borders.

Having Portuguese nationality has become synonymous with a European passport, resulting in the flight of young workers who wish only for a better life. It is impossible thus, to bestow any sort of judgement, since only the country is at fault for these events and it is the country itself which has failed to create conditions, making instead hindrances. The ordinary student not only battles against themselves not to withdraw from an out-dated education system, but also faces a high cost of livelihood. Furthermore, due to the absence of rights that safeguard our interests and the struggles created in favour of their implementation, the memory of a revolutionary nation remains stranded in the past. It is also curious to reflect upon how these issues have become constant throughout decades and the debate boiled down to who, within the political spectrum, was right, all the while the quest for solutions remained stagnant. This was until the Portuguese conformist decided, at last, to get up from the sofa and attend the demonstrations against the rising prices, fight for fairer wages and claim the right to housing.

Evidently, there is today a desire to revisit our origins, this is, there is an attempt to fulfil April’s promises. The essence of a nation is underlined in the general dispute over a specific subject, even though that may be soccer. In other words, the building of a community considered democratic is, too, based on dissent. That said, allow me now to create some friction in this traditionally Portuguese society, in which culture does not attain a central role. What kind of identity do we want to create without room for artistic expression itits many forms? It is impossible to think of the carnations without listening the voice of Zeca Afonso whispering “Grândola, Vila Morena”. The reality is that it is these small objects of art that define and recall the brightest and most crucial moments of our existence, because, without these, the emotion that many of us feel could not be expressed in a way as intense as this.

The struggle for the rights in which each one of us believes depends exclusively on the eagerness for change, whatever that may be. A life without dissent is the quickest road to dictatorship, for only diversity is the essential factor toward democracy and, without that, the 25th of April of 1974 would have been to us no good.

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