Sunday, 31 August 2008

O QUE NOSOTROS ANDAMOS PR'AQUI A PERDER... (3)


THIS MONTH LAST YEAR - 8

Agosto, mes de “gostos e desgostos”, teve muito de ambos aqui, no ano passado.
Comecou com um ‘mini-glossario’ de Mwangole’ a que se seguiu uma abordagem do conceito de racismo e algumas das suas manifestacoes, em particular na blogosfera. Esta questao foi tambem abordada na apresentacao e discussao de um artigo sobre o assedio sexual e outros ataques sexistas a que mulheres bloggers estao sujeitas. De racismo voltou a falar-se em pelo menos duas outras abordagens: uma sobre a evolucao das relacoes socio-economicas entre os varios grupos racicos na Africa do Sul, outra sobre os gostos e desgostos das ‘significancias lusosfericas e dos gliteratti de Luanda’. Ecos de tais gostos e desgostos puderam encontrar-se igualmente em dois posts sobre danca.

Noutros registos, assinalou-se o falecimento de Holden Roberto e as homenagens que lhe foram prestadas na ocasiao, seguidas de um recheado ‘funge de domingo’. Foram tambem marcados o decimo aniversario da morte de Diana, os 200 anos sobre a abolicao da escravatura, a inauguracao da estatua de Mandela em Londres e o lancamento da publicacao “No Easy Victories”, com uma apresentacao pelo proprio Madiba, sobre a relacao de solidariedade entre movimentos de libertacao em Africa e activistas dos EUA.

Por entre os longos (e pesados) posts que marcaram o mes, dois pequenos-grandes momentos, assinalando gostos emergindo de passageiros desgostos, em ‘Sunday Sun’ e ‘Sunday Smile’.

Highlights: “Dance?”, “What is racism?” e, excepcionalmente, pelo debate que gerou, “Aboliton of the Slave Trade: 200 Years On”.

E... lembram-se do "Angola" do Sul-Africano Bheki Mseleku?
Agosto, mes de “gostos e desgostos”, teve muito de ambos aqui, no ano passado.
Comecou com um ‘mini-glossario’ de Mwangole’ a que se seguiu uma abordagem do conceito de racismo e algumas das suas manifestacoes, em particular na blogosfera. Esta questao foi tambem abordada na apresentacao e discussao de um artigo sobre o assedio sexual e outros ataques sexistas a que mulheres bloggers estao sujeitas. De racismo voltou a falar-se em pelo menos duas outras abordagens: uma sobre a evolucao das relacoes socio-economicas entre os varios grupos racicos na Africa do Sul, outra sobre os gostos e desgostos das ‘significancias lusosfericas e dos gliteratti de Luanda’. Ecos de tais gostos e desgostos puderam encontrar-se igualmente em dois posts sobre danca.

Noutros registos, assinalou-se o falecimento de Holden Roberto e as homenagens que lhe foram prestadas na ocasiao, seguidas de um recheado ‘funge de domingo’. Foram tambem marcados o decimo aniversario da morte de Diana, os 200 anos sobre a abolicao da escravatura, a inauguracao da estatua de Mandela em Londres e o lancamento da publicacao “No Easy Victories”, com uma apresentacao pelo proprio Madiba, sobre a relacao de solidariedade entre movimentos de libertacao em Africa e activistas dos EUA.

Por entre os longos (e pesados) posts que marcaram o mes, dois pequenos-grandes momentos, assinalando gostos emergindo de passageiros desgostos, em ‘Sunday Sun’ e ‘Sunday Smile’.

Highlights: “Dance?”, “What is racism?” e, excepcionalmente, pelo debate que gerou, “Aboliton of the Slave Trade: 200 Years On”.

E... lembram-se do "Angola" do Sul-Africano Bheki Mseleku?

Saturday, 30 August 2008

BE MY GUEST! (V. BILL - Part 1)

One African-American, 4 Acres and a Mule

My fifth guest in this series is truly a jewel I was lucky enough to find in the jungle that is the blogosphere. Bill, a.k.a. Black River Eagle (BRE), is someone I think I can safely consider a friend, in spite of our occasional disagreements here or there. He is a veteran blogger on whom I came to rely for information and advice on the so many things I still don’t know about the blogosphere and all that ‘brave new world’ the internet offers us. There is not much more I can really say before I let you read from him, except that I am deeply honoured to be his host today and next week when we release Part II of this exclusive 7-question interview.

1. How and why did you get started blogging about Africa and why the title 'Jewels in the Jungle'?

I have had a deep interest in the continent and people of Africa for much of my adult life since my own family heritage is so closely linked to the history of Africans in the New World (the Americas) starting around the beginning of the 18th Century. ‘Jewels in the Jungle’ was launched back in May of 2004 when the blogosphere was still relatively small (approximately 7 million blogs vs. the 100 million+ blogs worldwide today).
After watching the rapid development and growth of online publishing tools and blog authors from a technology point of view since 2001-2002, I felt that using a weblog to share information and news online about Africa with people around the globe was an idea worth pursuing. When I started ‘Jewels’ I didn’t have the slightest idea that it would gain popularity and a global readership of more than 90,000 visitors.
Re: the blog title ‘Jewels in the Jungle’
Sort of catchy, ain’t it? Love it myself___ I need to get the name trademarked or something. The title gets its name from a phrase that I used to describe a project organized by a photographer friend in Germany. My friend, Susanne Behnke, decided one autumn day in 2002 that she was going to do something to “help out the poor, helpless orphan children of Uganda”. When she broke the news to me about her project idea for Ugandan children I was filled with dread that this was going to turn out to be a nightmare. Susanne, a professional photographer and high school teacher, is a real go-getter with a big heart for young people. Susanne had never traveled to the African continent but she has visited several countries in Europe and North America. Somehow she was able to pull it off despite the many adventures encountered along the way both in Uganda and here in Germany.
Working together with her friends in Uganda and organizations and companies in Germany Susanne managed to plan, organize, and launch a project to build new schoolrooms for children of the Iganga District (near Lake Victoria and Jinja). The project team also awarded thirty scholarships to young schoolchildren to help them pay their school fees for one year. Jewelry design students from one of Germany’s best known art & design academies (the Pforzheim School of Design) donated their time and work in support of the project. Auctions for the sale of handmade designer jewelry created specifically for this project were held at three locations in Germany. Money collected from these auctions plus generous private donations was used to begin construction on new school classrooms in Iganga District, Uganda. Hence the story of the origin of my blog title ‘Jewels in the Jungle’.
Note: I’ve uploaded photos from the project to my Flickr.com portfolio. Sotheby’s Amsterdam used a similar concept in 2007 for the ‘Jewels for the Jungle’ auction to help raise money for the World Wildlife Fund.

2. To what extent do you think that blogs, social networks, and other online publishing and collaboration tools can contribute to Africa's development?

I feel that blog authors coming from the global pool of private citizens, citizen journalists, news and media professionals, educators and scholars, students and so forth have already contributed a great deal to Africa’s development, especially over the last 4 to 5 years. I haven’t spent much time investigating social networks and online forums so I cannot speak about their impact on Africa’s development.
There is more information about Africa, much of it written and produced by Africans, available to the global public today than at anytime in world history. The simple, easy-to-use technologies behind online publishing tools i.e. Blogger, Wordpress, and Typepad combined with the power of blog search engines and blog aggregators has helped to make it possible for millions of people to participate in the World Live Web, the live or near real-time global online communications and collaboration around a variety of news events and issues. Blogs in combination with the array of online communication and collaboration tools and platforms that make up what some refer to as Web 2.0 technologies has helped the world to understand that “Africa is in the House!” Africa and Africans are an integral part of the global community and the young people of Africa today refuse to be ignored and left behind.
Users of these new web-based applications are transforming how local, national, and international news is gathered, analyzed, and delivered. Leading international and national news media companies haves started using blogs and reader-generated content on their websites. It is standard practice for the best online news sites to offer reader feedback to editorials and feature articles in the form of comment tools. What is also interesting to watch is the growing impact that blog authors and citizen journalists (and their readers) are having on national politics and elections around the world. This is happening from the U.S.A. to Russia, from Egypt to Ecuador, South Africa to South Korea___ blog authors and their readers are making a significant contribution to news coverage worldwide as well as having an impact on politics and social issues. Jay Rosen, associate professor of journalism at New York University and author of PressThink, goes into more detail about this subject in his August 2007 editorial for the LA Times ‘The Journalism that Bloggers Actually Do’ .
Africa’s bloggers and people around the world who write and report on Africa via blogs and citizen-generated news sites are having an effect on how heads of state, political figures, business leaders, and public officials operate. It is especially difficult these days for many of Africa’s longstanding despots and dictators and thieves of the public wealth (corrupt officials) because they can no longer hide their dirty deeds and deplorable actions from an enquiring world. Some regimes continue to intimidate and persecute journalists, editors, and publishers by keeping a tight stranglehold on a free press and free speech___ but these leaders can no longer easily control the growing sources of reliable information or the delivery channels for news. News today can be delivered from anywhere___ the Internet, mobile phones, miniature storage devices, video cameras, you name it.
This is true not only for Africa but for leaders in regions and countries around the globe. Case in point: Look east, look east to China and the difficulties that the government in Beijing is having with outraged journalists over press freedoms and Internet access. Bloggers were the ones to break the story about The Great Firewall of China first, long before the world’s press and media professionals caught on.
Bloggers are everywhere and just about anyone with access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection, an ability to communicate well through the written word or voice (audio) or imagery (photos, video, graphics), combined with credibility and some authority on a given subject can become a blogger with a worldwide audience.
From the election turmoil in Nigeria and Kenya to the exposure of the despotic rule of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and murderous rule of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan to the headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations, bloggers are having an impact on the way we live and the choices of information that we consume daily.

3. As an American living abroad for many years (Europe), what has been your experience with Africans in the Diaspora?

One of the most vivid images of Europe that will remain in my mind forever will be the day in 1986 that I saw three young African men sitting on a dock in a small harbor town in northern Germany looking out across the North Sea. These were not the first black Africans that I had encountered in Europe or Germany but for me they defined the plight of so many African immigrants to Europe that I have met in the closing decade of the 20th Century and right up to this very day.
At the time I was working for an aerospace engineering firm that had defense contracts with the German government to assist the German Luftwaffe and Marine. My assignment was to support German scientists, naval officers and technical staff on a naval air station at the ass-end of the world. Here in the middle of nowhere, at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries whose armies were amassed on the East German border just a stone’s throw away were these African ‘asylum seekers’. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
To make a long story short, I soon befriended these young men and shared in many great conversations about Africa and America and Europe until my departure from the area about 4 years later. I still have many fond memories of those days and I miss them dearly, I really do. Unfortunately I no longer have contact to any of those young Africans from that time but I have learned that one of them returned to Ghana and is today a successful Internet radio entrepreneur. I would like to think that our heated discussions and debates about all kinds of subjects combined with my encouragement to maintain a level of self-respect and demand respect from others, to always work hard to improve oneself through education and learning inside and outside of a classroom, that these shared experiences had a positive effect on their lives and their futures.
Of course not all Africans that I have met in Europe have been asylum seekers or economic refugees. Many of my African friends and acquaintances came to West or East Germany (GDR) on academic scholarships back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Over the years I have had the privilege to know a number of young African students, professionals, and just ordinary people from every corner of the African continent who live and work in Germany. These Africans are integrated into European society to the extent that their communities and co-workers will accept them. Based upon my own observations and personal experiences the better educated and skilled African Diaspora in Germany is building a solid foundation for themselves and their families. They are ‘paving the way’ and breaking the ice of racial discrimination, prejudice, and fear to open up new career opportunities for the educated and skilled African people who will follow.
It is evident that immigrants and economic refugees who are arriving in Europe today from Africa and around the globe without a good education and modern job skills are upsetting the apple cart, causing resentment and fear within traditional European society and even within some elite African-European circles. A report released by the German Economics Ministry in August 2007 showed that Germany was suffering from an acute skilled labor shortage costing the economy more than €20 billion Euro per year. A 2008 report by the Washington DC-based Center for Transatlantic Relations (John Hopkins University SAIS) showed that the “vast majority of foreign migrants settling in the EU are poorly qualified ( 85%)…” where skilled foreign workers make up about 55% of the U.S. foreign labor market compared to only 5% in Europe. When it comes to the education and skills needed to fill highly-skilled positions in the medical, technology, and services professions, foreign workers make up less than 1% of the entire labor market across the 27-member European Union. This acute skilled labor shortage is cause for some EU parliamentarians to consider instituting an EU Blue Card program to fill the growing labor gaps in EU member countries.
This acute skilled labor shortage combined with fears over terrorism from abroad, increased illegal immigration and other woes does not bode well for the 10’s of thousands of unskilled immigrants from African countries who have been fleeing poverty on the continent for a better life in Europe. It will be interesting to see what impact these challenges will have on a growing African Diaspora in Europe over the next decade or two.
The path to better job opportunities and acceptance and integration of Africans into European society will be a long and hard fought road, not unlike the problems faced by African-Americans and many other ethnic groups in the United States, Canada, and throughout the Americas over the past few hundred years. It has already taken nearly two millennia for Africans from Saharan and sub-Saharan counties to be accepted as an integral part of European history, culture and society. Let us hope that it doesn’t take much longer because time is running out.

[Bill blogs @ Jewels in the Jungle]

One African-American, 4 Acres and a Mule

My fifth guest in this series is truly a jewel I was lucky enough to find in the jungle that is the blogosphere. Bill, a.k.a. Black River Eagle (BRE), is someone I think I can safely consider a friend, in spite of our occasional disagreements here or there. He is a veteran blogger on whom I came to rely for information and advice on the so many things I still don’t know about the blogosphere and all that ‘brave new world’ the internet offers us. There is not much more I can really say before I let you read from him, except that I am deeply honoured to be his host today and next week when we release Part II of this exclusive 7-question interview.

1. How and why did you get started blogging about Africa and why the title 'Jewels in the Jungle'?

I have had a deep interest in the continent and people of Africa for much of my adult life since my own family heritage is so closely linked to the history of Africans in the New World (the Americas) starting around the beginning of the 18th Century. ‘Jewels in the Jungle’ was launched back in May of 2004 when the blogosphere was still relatively small (approximately 7 million blogs vs. the 100 million+ blogs worldwide today).
After watching the rapid development and growth of online publishing tools and blog authors from a technology point of view since 2001-2002, I felt that using a weblog to share information and news online about Africa with people around the globe was an idea worth pursuing. When I started ‘Jewels’ I didn’t have the slightest idea that it would gain popularity and a global readership of more than 90,000 visitors.
Re: the blog title ‘Jewels in the Jungle’
Sort of catchy, ain’t it? Love it myself___ I need to get the name trademarked or something. The title gets its name from a phrase that I used to describe a project organized by a photographer friend in Germany. My friend, Susanne Behnke, decided one autumn day in 2002 that she was going to do something to “help out the poor, helpless orphan children of Uganda”. When she broke the news to me about her project idea for Ugandan children I was filled with dread that this was going to turn out to be a nightmare. Susanne, a professional photographer and high school teacher, is a real go-getter with a big heart for young people. Susanne had never traveled to the African continent but she has visited several countries in Europe and North America. Somehow she was able to pull it off despite the many adventures encountered along the way both in Uganda and here in Germany.
Working together with her friends in Uganda and organizations and companies in Germany Susanne managed to plan, organize, and launch a project to build new schoolrooms for children of the Iganga District (near Lake Victoria and Jinja). The project team also awarded thirty scholarships to young schoolchildren to help them pay their school fees for one year. Jewelry design students from one of Germany’s best known art & design academies (the Pforzheim School of Design) donated their time and work in support of the project. Auctions for the sale of handmade designer jewelry created specifically for this project were held at three locations in Germany. Money collected from these auctions plus generous private donations was used to begin construction on new school classrooms in Iganga District, Uganda. Hence the story of the origin of my blog title ‘Jewels in the Jungle’.
Note: I’ve uploaded photos from the project to my Flickr.com portfolio. Sotheby’s Amsterdam used a similar concept in 2007 for the ‘Jewels for the Jungle’ auction to help raise money for the World Wildlife Fund.

2. To what extent do you think that blogs, social networks, and other online publishing and collaboration tools can contribute to Africa's development?

I feel that blog authors coming from the global pool of private citizens, citizen journalists, news and media professionals, educators and scholars, students and so forth have already contributed a great deal to Africa’s development, especially over the last 4 to 5 years. I haven’t spent much time investigating social networks and online forums so I cannot speak about their impact on Africa’s development.
There is more information about Africa, much of it written and produced by Africans, available to the global public today than at anytime in world history. The simple, easy-to-use technologies behind online publishing tools i.e. Blogger, Wordpress, and Typepad combined with the power of blog search engines and blog aggregators has helped to make it possible for millions of people to participate in the World Live Web, the live or near real-time global online communications and collaboration around a variety of news events and issues. Blogs in combination with the array of online communication and collaboration tools and platforms that make up what some refer to as Web 2.0 technologies has helped the world to understand that “Africa is in the House!” Africa and Africans are an integral part of the global community and the young people of Africa today refuse to be ignored and left behind.
Users of these new web-based applications are transforming how local, national, and international news is gathered, analyzed, and delivered. Leading international and national news media companies haves started using blogs and reader-generated content on their websites. It is standard practice for the best online news sites to offer reader feedback to editorials and feature articles in the form of comment tools. What is also interesting to watch is the growing impact that blog authors and citizen journalists (and their readers) are having on national politics and elections around the world. This is happening from the U.S.A. to Russia, from Egypt to Ecuador, South Africa to South Korea___ blog authors and their readers are making a significant contribution to news coverage worldwide as well as having an impact on politics and social issues. Jay Rosen, associate professor of journalism at New York University and author of PressThink, goes into more detail about this subject in his August 2007 editorial for the LA Times ‘The Journalism that Bloggers Actually Do’ .
Africa’s bloggers and people around the world who write and report on Africa via blogs and citizen-generated news sites are having an effect on how heads of state, political figures, business leaders, and public officials operate. It is especially difficult these days for many of Africa’s longstanding despots and dictators and thieves of the public wealth (corrupt officials) because they can no longer hide their dirty deeds and deplorable actions from an enquiring world. Some regimes continue to intimidate and persecute journalists, editors, and publishers by keeping a tight stranglehold on a free press and free speech___ but these leaders can no longer easily control the growing sources of reliable information or the delivery channels for news. News today can be delivered from anywhere___ the Internet, mobile phones, miniature storage devices, video cameras, you name it.
This is true not only for Africa but for leaders in regions and countries around the globe. Case in point: Look east, look east to China and the difficulties that the government in Beijing is having with outraged journalists over press freedoms and Internet access. Bloggers were the ones to break the story about The Great Firewall of China first, long before the world’s press and media professionals caught on.
Bloggers are everywhere and just about anyone with access to a computer and a reliable Internet connection, an ability to communicate well through the written word or voice (audio) or imagery (photos, video, graphics), combined with credibility and some authority on a given subject can become a blogger with a worldwide audience.
From the election turmoil in Nigeria and Kenya to the exposure of the despotic rule of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and murderous rule of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan to the headquarters of the African Union and the United Nations, bloggers are having an impact on the way we live and the choices of information that we consume daily.

3. As an American living abroad for many years (Europe), what has been your experience with Africans in the Diaspora?

One of the most vivid images of Europe that will remain in my mind forever will be the day in 1986 that I saw three young African men sitting on a dock in a small harbor town in northern Germany looking out across the North Sea. These were not the first black Africans that I had encountered in Europe or Germany but for me they defined the plight of so many African immigrants to Europe that I have met in the closing decade of the 20th Century and right up to this very day.
At the time I was working for an aerospace engineering firm that had defense contracts with the German government to assist the German Luftwaffe and Marine. My assignment was to support German scientists, naval officers and technical staff on a naval air station at the ass-end of the world. Here in the middle of nowhere, at the height of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries whose armies were amassed on the East German border just a stone’s throw away were these African ‘asylum seekers’. I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
To make a long story short, I soon befriended these young men and shared in many great conversations about Africa and America and Europe until my departure from the area about 4 years later. I still have many fond memories of those days and I miss them dearly, I really do. Unfortunately I no longer have contact to any of those young Africans from that time but I have learned that one of them returned to Ghana and is today a successful Internet radio entrepreneur. I would like to think that our heated discussions and debates about all kinds of subjects combined with my encouragement to maintain a level of self-respect and demand respect from others, to always work hard to improve oneself through education and learning inside and outside of a classroom, that these shared experiences had a positive effect on their lives and their futures.
Of course not all Africans that I have met in Europe have been asylum seekers or economic refugees. Many of my African friends and acquaintances came to West or East Germany (GDR) on academic scholarships back in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Over the years I have had the privilege to know a number of young African students, professionals, and just ordinary people from every corner of the African continent who live and work in Germany. These Africans are integrated into European society to the extent that their communities and co-workers will accept them. Based upon my own observations and personal experiences the better educated and skilled African Diaspora in Germany is building a solid foundation for themselves and their families. They are ‘paving the way’ and breaking the ice of racial discrimination, prejudice, and fear to open up new career opportunities for the educated and skilled African people who will follow.
It is evident that immigrants and economic refugees who are arriving in Europe today from Africa and around the globe without a good education and modern job skills are upsetting the apple cart, causing resentment and fear within traditional European society and even within some elite African-European circles. A report released by the German Economics Ministry in August 2007 showed that Germany was suffering from an acute skilled labor shortage costing the economy more than €20 billion Euro per year. A 2008 report by the Washington DC-based Center for Transatlantic Relations (John Hopkins University SAIS) showed that the “vast majority of foreign migrants settling in the EU are poorly qualified ( 85%)…” where skilled foreign workers make up about 55% of the U.S. foreign labor market compared to only 5% in Europe. When it comes to the education and skills needed to fill highly-skilled positions in the medical, technology, and services professions, foreign workers make up less than 1% of the entire labor market across the 27-member European Union. This acute skilled labor shortage is cause for some EU parliamentarians to consider instituting an EU Blue Card program to fill the growing labor gaps in EU member countries.
This acute skilled labor shortage combined with fears over terrorism from abroad, increased illegal immigration and other woes does not bode well for the 10’s of thousands of unskilled immigrants from African countries who have been fleeing poverty on the continent for a better life in Europe. It will be interesting to see what impact these challenges will have on a growing African Diaspora in Europe over the next decade or two.
The path to better job opportunities and acceptance and integration of Africans into European society will be a long and hard fought road, not unlike the problems faced by African-Americans and many other ethnic groups in the United States, Canada, and throughout the Americas over the past few hundred years. It has already taken nearly two millennia for Africans from Saharan and sub-Saharan counties to be accepted as an integral part of European history, culture and society. Let us hope that it doesn’t take much longer because time is running out.

[Bill blogs @ Jewels in the Jungle]

Friday, 29 August 2008

MARIO PINTO DE ANDRADE: O REGRESSO DA MEMORIA


SOU, ASSIM, UM AFRICANO DE ANGOLA

"É justamente porque nasci em Angola, país africano em que vivi e aprendi a conhecer a realidade colonial, que afirmo e defendo a minha angolanidade. E sobretudo: ajudei e continuo a ajudar, na medida das minhas capacidades intelectuais, a fazer respeitar internacionalmente o direito do povo angolano a dispor de si próprio."


No dia em que Mário Pinto de Andrade completaria 80 anos, a Fundação Mário Soares (FMS) publicou no seu site parte do espólio do nacionalista angolano. Em Dezembro, o acervo do político e intelectual vai ser doado à Fundação Sagrada Esperança.

A recuperação do espólio demorou cerca de 10 anos a ser concluída. Em 1998, Henda e Anna Ducados, filhas de Mário Pinto de Andrade, depositaram o material na FMS, em Lisboa. Uma opção criticada, na altura, mas que Henda Ducados garante ter sido “meramente técnica”. Do conjunto entregue constava documentação escrita e fotográfica recolhida junto de personalidades da Guiné-Bissau, Cabo Verde e Moçambique e, sobretudo, na casa onde o nacionalista viveu até à sua morte. A análise dos espólios de Amílcar Cabral e de Daniel Chipenda, depositados na FMS, permitiu cruzar dados e aumentar ainda mais o acervo de Mário Pinto de Andrade.


A primeira fase da recuperação, catalogação e digitalização do material terminaria só no início deste ano. “A maior parte estava em mau estado, por ter ficado guardada durante muito tempo em caves e também devido à qualidade do papel e da tinta”, explica Henda Ducados. O espólio de Mário Pinto de Andrade foi dividido em quatro grandes grupos: Investigação (57%), Movimentos de Libertação (32%), Documentos Pessoais (6%) e Actividade Literária (5%). Entre a documentação disponível encontram-se “pérolas históricas”, como a correspondência trocada com Viriato da Cruz, Agostinho Neto e outras personalidades destacadas, todos os passaportes que utilizou (incluindo os dos tempos em que fintava a PIDE), rascunhos da Comissão Organizadora da Conferência da Organização da União Africana, que integrou, os discursos das independências do Ghana e da Guiné-Conacri, actas e minutas de conferências internacionais, e muito mais.


A dimensão humana do nacionalista angolano também tem um espaço de destaque. São muitos os diários escritos à mão que poderão dar pistas mais profundas sobre o homem por trás do político. O acervo tem ainda documentação relativa a Maurício Ferreira Gomes, Agostinho Neto, Fernando Costa Andrade e Marcelino dos Santos. Guiné-Bissau, Cabo Verde, Moçambique e São Tomé e Príncipe, bem como o Movimento Anti Colonial e a Conferência das Organizações Nacionalistas das Colónias Portuguesas estão também representados.


“Este é o regresso da memória de Mário Pinto de Andrade do exílio”. É assim que Henda Ducados classifica o retorno do espólio do seu pai ao país. Admitindo que “em Angola a História não foi à procura dos seus heróis”, defende que “é preciso haver uma reconciliação com a memória e com o passado” do qual “Mário é uma figura incontornável”. E é exactamente de “preservação de memória” que Henda Ducados fala, quando analisa a importância e simbolismo do acervo documental do nacionalista: “Esta é uma herança que deve ser partilhada, é património de Angola. Divulgá-lo é reconhecer e homenagear o trabalho, não só do Mário, mas de toda uma geração que contribuiu para a independência de Angola e que abriu portas para todos nós vivermos com orgulho na nossa identidade e sem complexos de qualquer tipo”.

[Aqui]

SOU, ASSIM, UM AFRICANO DE ANGOLA

"É justamente porque nasci em Angola, país africano em que vivi e aprendi a conhecer a realidade colonial, que afirmo e defendo a minha angolanidade. E sobretudo: ajudei e continuo a ajudar, na medida das minhas capacidades intelectuais, a fazer respeitar internacionalmente o direito do povo angolano a dispor de si próprio."


No dia em que Mário Pinto de Andrade completaria 80 anos, a Fundação Mário Soares (FMS) publicou no seu site parte do espólio do nacionalista angolano. Em Dezembro, o acervo do político e intelectual vai ser doado à Fundação Sagrada Esperança.

A recuperação do espólio demorou cerca de 10 anos a ser concluída. Em 1998, Henda e Anna Ducados, filhas de Mário Pinto de Andrade, depositaram o material na FMS, em Lisboa. Uma opção criticada, na altura, mas que Henda Ducados garante ter sido “meramente técnica”. Do conjunto entregue constava documentação escrita e fotográfica recolhida junto de personalidades da Guiné-Bissau, Cabo Verde e Moçambique e, sobretudo, na casa onde o nacionalista viveu até à sua morte. A análise dos espólios de Amílcar Cabral e de Daniel Chipenda, depositados na FMS, permitiu cruzar dados e aumentar ainda mais o acervo de Mário Pinto de Andrade.


A primeira fase da recuperação, catalogação e digitalização do material terminaria só no início deste ano. “A maior parte estava em mau estado, por ter ficado guardada durante muito tempo em caves e também devido à qualidade do papel e da tinta”, explica Henda Ducados. O espólio de Mário Pinto de Andrade foi dividido em quatro grandes grupos: Investigação (57%), Movimentos de Libertação (32%), Documentos Pessoais (6%) e Actividade Literária (5%). Entre a documentação disponível encontram-se “pérolas históricas”, como a correspondência trocada com Viriato da Cruz, Agostinho Neto e outras personalidades destacadas, todos os passaportes que utilizou (incluindo os dos tempos em que fintava a PIDE), rascunhos da Comissão Organizadora da Conferência da Organização da União Africana, que integrou, os discursos das independências do Ghana e da Guiné-Conacri, actas e minutas de conferências internacionais, e muito mais.


A dimensão humana do nacionalista angolano também tem um espaço de destaque. São muitos os diários escritos à mão que poderão dar pistas mais profundas sobre o homem por trás do político. O acervo tem ainda documentação relativa a Maurício Ferreira Gomes, Agostinho Neto, Fernando Costa Andrade e Marcelino dos Santos. Guiné-Bissau, Cabo Verde, Moçambique e São Tomé e Príncipe, bem como o Movimento Anti Colonial e a Conferência das Organizações Nacionalistas das Colónias Portuguesas estão também representados.


“Este é o regresso da memória de Mário Pinto de Andrade do exílio”. É assim que Henda Ducados classifica o retorno do espólio do seu pai ao país. Admitindo que “em Angola a História não foi à procura dos seus heróis”, defende que “é preciso haver uma reconciliação com a memória e com o passado” do qual “Mário é uma figura incontornável”. E é exactamente de “preservação de memória” que Henda Ducados fala, quando analisa a importância e simbolismo do acervo documental do nacionalista: “Esta é uma herança que deve ser partilhada, é património de Angola. Divulgá-lo é reconhecer e homenagear o trabalho, não só do Mário, mas de toda uma geração que contribuiu para a independência de Angola e que abriu portas para todos nós vivermos com orgulho na nossa identidade e sem complexos de qualquer tipo”.

[Aqui]

"THE AMERICAN PROMISE"



You made it happen

Friday, 29 August, 2008 5:17 AM

From:
"Barack Obama"

To:
"Ana Santana"


Ana --

This night could not have happened 40 years ago -- or even 4 years ago.

And it could not have happened without you.

You believed, against the odds, that change was possible. I felt your passion here tonight, and I know it was shared by millions of Americans who are building this movement all across the country.

Tonight is your night. But tonight is just the beginning.

The general election is going to be faster and tougher than anything we've faced so far. And our opponents will do everything they can to tear us down.

I need your support more than ever.

Our party is united. Our purpose is clear. And our goal is in sight.

Thank you for everything you've done,

Barack

Thursday, 28 August 2008

"LICOES EM GOVERNACAO APLICADA..."

[O Governo de Angola - Foto Novo Jornal]
[O Governo de Angola - Foto Novo Jornal]

A WOMAN'S WORTH...



... AND A HUSBAND'S SUPPORT!


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

ECHOES FROM THE ANGOLAN PRESS (23)

Antonio Freitas, in the Novo Jornal (NJ), comments on a controversial note sent by the Angolan Ministry of External Relations (MIREX) to all embassies, consulates and offices of international organisations in Luanda:


“The note restricts henceforth the circulation of diplomats inside the country, a measure being interpreted in some circles as a way of limiting the observation by them of what might be happening outside the capital during the electoral campaign. According to the document, the notified who might wish to travel outside Luanda must inform the MIREX of that intention at least three working days in advance. The ministry argues that the measure aims at ‘allowing the Angolan Government to fulfill its obligation to protect all inhabitants of the national territory, particularly the diplomatic agents.’
According to sources, the issue was discussed during a meeting between the External Relations minister, Joao Miranda, and the United States ambassador, Dan Mozena. The ambassador is said to have expressed his reservations about the measure, but was reassured by the minister that its only objective was ‘to provide an adequate protocol treatment’ to the diplomatic personnel. However, the note contains passages that don’t seem as comforting as the minister claims. For example, it refers to article 41 of the Vienna Convention, according to which ‘without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, the diplomatic agents, as well as having the duty to respect the laws and regulations of the accredited state, must not interfere in its internal affairs.’ This particular passage is taken by many as a serious warning to the foreign embassies which have usually taken positions whenever elections in African countries have unpleasant outcomes, as happened recently in Kenya and Zimbabwe. In an interview to the NJ last July, Dan Mozena said emphatically that his mission would be 'with an eye' on the Angolan elections."

As an echo of how party politics in the present campaign is being perceived by militants of the leading parties, there is a letter by a UNITA militant to the NJ in which he states:


“I am an old militant of UNITA who lived for a long time inside the UNITA liberated areas, including Jamba, the capital of the resistance at the time of Dr. Savimbi, the founding president of UNITA.
During the time that I lived in those areas, in relation to party-politics issues, there was no democracy in the true sense of the word, but there was Dr. Savimbi’s very able hand at manipulating politics, always taking into account the sensitivity and representativity of the local elites, bearing in mind their ethno-linguistic and racial belonging, which earned him lots of sympathy among the populations.
(…)
What we see today in Mr. Samakuva’s UNITA, as far as the choice of candidates for Members of Parliament (MPs) is concerned, is a scandal and is becoming dangerous for the harmony inside the party and the country. The elites of communities with political expression in various regions were almost all ignored. In retrospect, let’s mention the fact that in the pseudo-elections at the X Congress of UNITA, those who supported the parliamentarian Chivukuvuku for the leadership were removed from the places they held in the party, which contradicts the propaganda about democracy inside UNITA spread by Mr. Samakuva’s supporters. (…) The situation is even worse in the present choice of candidates for MPs, in provinces such as Benguela, where the genuine local UNITA elites are not represented and in their place friends and people from Mr. Samakuva’s region or his relatives were predominantly chosen. Quo vadis UNITA? The future will tell…”

Earlier in this series, I have published a similar letter from a MPLA militant appeared in the Angolense:



“In relation to the constitution of the list for future members of the National Assembly (MPs), I have to say that once again our glorious MPLA demonstrated that in terms of transparency and democracy it is the worst party. (…) Last Saturday, the Luanda Provincial Committee of the MPLA called a meeting with the directorships of the province’s ‘action committees’. The party bases, in spite of not having been informed beforehand of the reasons for the meeting, attended in mass. (…) [However], the meeting was pure and simply aimed at misleading the militants when the lists had already been made since March/April. The bases also became aware that the list for the national circle is equally very doubtful and doesn’t have any technical-professional credibility.
Within the various ‘action committees’ in Luanda’s urban areas (…) there are militants who sacrifice a lot in their work for the MPLA and are holders of undergraduate and masters degrees, among whom lawyers, university teachers and electoral trainers, with an enviable technical-professional experience. They are militants who have the MPLA at heart and whose presence in those committees will guarantee the party’s victory in the respective areas.
[However, it is sad to see that they were ignored in favour of mostly unknown faces].
(…)
That’s why, because of these injustices, the MPLA, mobilised with the sacrifice and supported by the bases, on polling day will see those same bases prefer to stay at home instead of voting for people that they don’t know and did not select. That’s also why the militant, if he chooses to vote, will do so for the opposition, which, in spite of the past, will probably have a better team for the National Assembly comparatively to our MPLA, which is not concerned with the Luanda vote because the victory will come from the provinces. We only regret that the MPLA continues to use the methods of the past and ignoring the fact that times have changed. It’s always the same people who get nominated, everything works on the basis of ‘schemes’ and corruption. When things are not done with transparency it’s a sign of corruption. That’s how the MPLA, even if unwillingly, is campaigning for the opposition.
I have expressed my opinion here because if I express it at the meeting I will be silenced, mistreated and perhaps killed. When a militant cannot just say what he feels and if he does is taken as disgruntled and when one is disgruntled it’s a crime, then it’s not possible to take these ideas to meetings. That’s how our MPLA is.”

Celso Malavoloneke, in the Semanario Angolense (SA), in an open letter to Fernando Macedo, president of the Association Justice, Peace and Democracy (AJPD), expresses his disagreements with the tone and the spirit of some of the positions this association has been taking on the current election campaign.



The proximate motive for Malavoloneke’s letter is a statement by AJPD, signed by Macedo and also published in the SA, according to which “The AJPD alerts the Angolan political community and the international community, specially the national and international observers, to the practices, unacceptable in a democratic state of rights, which have been occurring in the current electoral process, namely: the Government of Angola’s permanent propaganda in the state media using the same narrative discourse of one of the contending parties in clear violation of the principle of equal treatment and opportunity; the give-aways to members of the electorate of goods such as bicycles and motorcycles by political parties and organisations affected to them during acts of political campaign with vote orientation, all under the blind eye of the National Electoral Commission and the National Council for Social Communication; the persistence of attempts to violate the laws applicable to the electoral process, and the occasional political violence, even if of low intensity and not generalised, without the prompt charging of the responsible for such actions by the competent judicial and police bodies.”

In reaction to that statement, Malavoloneke asserts:
(…)
In 1991/92 I was placed in the southern region of the country coordinating the area of community development of a well known international ONG. In that role, I was witness to the damage caused to the bodies and minds of thousands of compatriots by inflammatory speeches and careless actions that have characterised that election campaign. The “friends” from the international community, headed by the United Nations and supported by the super-powers of the Cold War and Portugal, imposed their agenda and timing, anxious for a disposable solution in which the most honest hoped – they could only hope – that after they left the country Angolans would come to agreement the best way they could. However, all exploded even before that, with the consequences that we all know.
(…)
And, look, I forgot something: when the fight began, my functions changed, and do you know to what? Head of logistics of a makeshift travel agency to evacuate from the country the foreigners and their families from the chancelleries that contributed more or less openly to set the country on fire. And those chancelleries don’t seem far away from you and the AJPD. Ah! And I also evacuated some Angolans who all of a sudden produced other passports which they had been hiding, mind you…
(…)
Therefore, I would like you to understand that we all need ways out. Ways out that have also to be ways of hope. Ways of hope that do not need to be necessarily perfect, they just need to be necessarily ours. Created by us with the limitations that we have, created in our own context with our own specificities and created for our land with the adaptations that they might require, but not imposed by a theoretical script from any western country.
(…)
It seems to me that the Angolan elites have decided to look after these aspects and take that past as a reference. Therefore, your discourse, dear FM, sounds isolated and causes fears. Hence this reaction from your close brother. Our responsibility, as the elites, is to scrutinise the process, yes, but taking into account our idiosyncrasies. And one of them, really assumed, is that inflammatory, passionate, virulent speeches at this stage are arson attempts: whatever the reason, they are damaging, even dangerous, to the common good. Let us thus accept the imperfections of our process and let us build our own history with the responsibility of the great peoples where all tolerate each other. Because it is important at this stage for us to believe in the good will of everybody, whether or not it exists. It’s the price of the progress towards plain democracy. Where we arrive at not forcefully but by stages. Where mistakes, instead of throwing weapons, are pillars of the lessons learned in the way toward perfection.”

And finally...

Antonio Freitas, in the Novo Jornal (NJ), comments on a controversial note sent by the Angolan Ministry of External Relations (MIREX) to all embassies, consulates and offices of international organisations in Luanda:


“The note restricts henceforth the circulation of diplomats inside the country, a measure being interpreted in some circles as a way of limiting the observation by them of what might be happening outside the capital during the electoral campaign. According to the document, the notified who might wish to travel outside Luanda must inform the MIREX of that intention at least three working days in advance. The ministry argues that the measure aims at ‘allowing the Angolan Government to fulfill its obligation to protect all inhabitants of the national territory, particularly the diplomatic agents.’
According to sources, the issue was discussed during a meeting between the External Relations minister, Joao Miranda, and the United States ambassador, Dan Mozena. The ambassador is said to have expressed his reservations about the measure, but was reassured by the minister that its only objective was ‘to provide an adequate protocol treatment’ to the diplomatic personnel. However, the note contains passages that don’t seem as comforting as the minister claims. For example, it refers to article 41 of the Vienna Convention, according to which ‘without prejudice to their privileges and immunities, the diplomatic agents, as well as having the duty to respect the laws and regulations of the accredited state, must not interfere in its internal affairs.’ This particular passage is taken by many as a serious warning to the foreign embassies which have usually taken positions whenever elections in African countries have unpleasant outcomes, as happened recently in Kenya and Zimbabwe. In an interview to the NJ last July, Dan Mozena said emphatically that his mission would be 'with an eye' on the Angolan elections."

As an echo of how party politics in the present campaign is being perceived by militants of the leading parties, there is a letter by a UNITA militant to the NJ in which he states:


“I am an old militant of UNITA who lived for a long time inside the UNITA liberated areas, including Jamba, the capital of the resistance at the time of Dr. Savimbi, the founding president of UNITA.
During the time that I lived in those areas, in relation to party-politics issues, there was no democracy in the true sense of the word, but there was Dr. Savimbi’s very able hand at manipulating politics, always taking into account the sensitivity and representativity of the local elites, bearing in mind their ethno-linguistic and racial belonging, which earned him lots of sympathy among the populations.
(…)
What we see today in Mr. Samakuva’s UNITA, as far as the choice of candidates for Members of Parliament (MPs) is concerned, is a scandal and is becoming dangerous for the harmony inside the party and the country. The elites of communities with political expression in various regions were almost all ignored. In retrospect, let’s mention the fact that in the pseudo-elections at the X Congress of UNITA, those who supported the parliamentarian Chivukuvuku for the leadership were removed from the places they held in the party, which contradicts the propaganda about democracy inside UNITA spread by Mr. Samakuva’s supporters. (…) The situation is even worse in the present choice of candidates for MPs, in provinces such as Benguela, where the genuine local UNITA elites are not represented and in their place friends and people from Mr. Samakuva’s region or his relatives were predominantly chosen. Quo vadis UNITA? The future will tell…”

Earlier in this series, I have published a similar letter from a MPLA militant appeared in the Angolense:



“In relation to the constitution of the list for future members of the National Assembly (MPs), I have to say that once again our glorious MPLA demonstrated that in terms of transparency and democracy it is the worst party. (…) Last Saturday, the Luanda Provincial Committee of the MPLA called a meeting with the directorships of the province’s ‘action committees’. The party bases, in spite of not having been informed beforehand of the reasons for the meeting, attended in mass. (…) [However], the meeting was pure and simply aimed at misleading the militants when the lists had already been made since March/April. The bases also became aware that the list for the national circle is equally very doubtful and doesn’t have any technical-professional credibility.
Within the various ‘action committees’ in Luanda’s urban areas (…) there are militants who sacrifice a lot in their work for the MPLA and are holders of undergraduate and masters degrees, among whom lawyers, university teachers and electoral trainers, with an enviable technical-professional experience. They are militants who have the MPLA at heart and whose presence in those committees will guarantee the party’s victory in the respective areas.
[However, it is sad to see that they were ignored in favour of mostly unknown faces].
(…)
That’s why, because of these injustices, the MPLA, mobilised with the sacrifice and supported by the bases, on polling day will see those same bases prefer to stay at home instead of voting for people that they don’t know and did not select. That’s also why the militant, if he chooses to vote, will do so for the opposition, which, in spite of the past, will probably have a better team for the National Assembly comparatively to our MPLA, which is not concerned with the Luanda vote because the victory will come from the provinces. We only regret that the MPLA continues to use the methods of the past and ignoring the fact that times have changed. It’s always the same people who get nominated, everything works on the basis of ‘schemes’ and corruption. When things are not done with transparency it’s a sign of corruption. That’s how the MPLA, even if unwillingly, is campaigning for the opposition.
I have expressed my opinion here because if I express it at the meeting I will be silenced, mistreated and perhaps killed. When a militant cannot just say what he feels and if he does is taken as disgruntled and when one is disgruntled it’s a crime, then it’s not possible to take these ideas to meetings. That’s how our MPLA is.”

Celso Malavoloneke, in the Semanario Angolense (SA), in an open letter to Fernando Macedo, president of the Association Justice, Peace and Democracy (AJPD), expresses his disagreements with the tone and the spirit of some of the positions this association has been taking on the current election campaign.



The proximate motive for Malavoloneke’s letter is a statement by AJPD, signed by Macedo and also published in the SA, according to which “The AJPD alerts the Angolan political community and the international community, specially the national and international observers, to the practices, unacceptable in a democratic state of rights, which have been occurring in the current electoral process, namely: the Government of Angola’s permanent propaganda in the state media using the same narrative discourse of one of the contending parties in clear violation of the principle of equal treatment and opportunity; the give-aways to members of the electorate of goods such as bicycles and motorcycles by political parties and organisations affected to them during acts of political campaign with vote orientation, all under the blind eye of the National Electoral Commission and the National Council for Social Communication; the persistence of attempts to violate the laws applicable to the electoral process, and the occasional political violence, even if of low intensity and not generalised, without the prompt charging of the responsible for such actions by the competent judicial and police bodies.”

In reaction to that statement, Malavoloneke asserts:
(…)
In 1991/92 I was placed in the southern region of the country coordinating the area of community development of a well known international ONG. In that role, I was witness to the damage caused to the bodies and minds of thousands of compatriots by inflammatory speeches and careless actions that have characterised that election campaign. The “friends” from the international community, headed by the United Nations and supported by the super-powers of the Cold War and Portugal, imposed their agenda and timing, anxious for a disposable solution in which the most honest hoped – they could only hope – that after they left the country Angolans would come to agreement the best way they could. However, all exploded even before that, with the consequences that we all know.
(…)
And, look, I forgot something: when the fight began, my functions changed, and do you know to what? Head of logistics of a makeshift travel agency to evacuate from the country the foreigners and their families from the chancelleries that contributed more or less openly to set the country on fire. And those chancelleries don’t seem far away from you and the AJPD. Ah! And I also evacuated some Angolans who all of a sudden produced other passports which they had been hiding, mind you…
(…)
Therefore, I would like you to understand that we all need ways out. Ways out that have also to be ways of hope. Ways of hope that do not need to be necessarily perfect, they just need to be necessarily ours. Created by us with the limitations that we have, created in our own context with our own specificities and created for our land with the adaptations that they might require, but not imposed by a theoretical script from any western country.
(…)
It seems to me that the Angolan elites have decided to look after these aspects and take that past as a reference. Therefore, your discourse, dear FM, sounds isolated and causes fears. Hence this reaction from your close brother. Our responsibility, as the elites, is to scrutinise the process, yes, but taking into account our idiosyncrasies. And one of them, really assumed, is that inflammatory, passionate, virulent speeches at this stage are arson attempts: whatever the reason, they are damaging, even dangerous, to the common good. Let us thus accept the imperfections of our process and let us build our own history with the responsibility of the great peoples where all tolerate each other. Because it is important at this stage for us to believe in the good will of everybody, whether or not it exists. It’s the price of the progress towards plain democracy. Where we arrive at not forcefully but by stages. Where mistakes, instead of throwing weapons, are pillars of the lessons learned in the way toward perfection.”

And finally...

O QUE NOSOTROS ANDAMOS PR'AQUI A PERDER... (2)

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

A WOMAN'S WORD...

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008 3:01 AM
From: "Michelle Obama"
To: "Ana Santana"
Behind the scenes in Denver

Ana --
My mom, the girls, and I left home in Chicago and got to Denver yesterday. What a beautiful city! The convention started this morning, and everyone here is getting ready for the big week. All the work you've done is at the heart of what's happening here, and our team filmed a short video to give you a look behind the scenes at the convention center. Take a minute to check out the video and share it with your friends.
This week, folks from across the country will get to know Barack and our family a little better. Tonight I'm giving a speech at the convention, and I'm planning to share a few stories about the Barack I know -- the husband, the father, and the man who shares my dreams for our girls, for this country, and for our future. Before my speech, we're also going to show a video introducing our family to families across the country. This is such an important moment, and I hope you'll join me by tuning into the convention tonight and all week long.
Thanks,
Michelle



... AND A HUSBAND'S PRIDE!

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008 4:41 PM
From: "Barack Obama"
To: "Ana Santana"
Did you see Michelle?

Ana --
I am so lucky to be married to the woman who delivered that speech last night.
Michelle was electrifying, inspiring, and absolutely magnificent. I get a lot of credit for the speech I gave at the 2004 convention -- but I think she may have me beat.
You have to see it to believe it.
You really don't want to miss this. And I'm not just saying that because she's my wife -- I truly believe it was the best speech of the campaign so far.
Barack


Tuesday, 26 August, 2008 3:01 AM
From: "Michelle Obama"
To: "Ana Santana"
Behind the scenes in Denver

Ana --
My mom, the girls, and I left home in Chicago and got to Denver yesterday. What a beautiful city! The convention started this morning, and everyone here is getting ready for the big week. All the work you've done is at the heart of what's happening here, and our team filmed a short video to give you a look behind the scenes at the convention center. Take a minute to check out the video and share it with your friends.
This week, folks from across the country will get to know Barack and our family a little better. Tonight I'm giving a speech at the convention, and I'm planning to share a few stories about the Barack I know -- the husband, the father, and the man who shares my dreams for our girls, for this country, and for our future. Before my speech, we're also going to show a video introducing our family to families across the country. This is such an important moment, and I hope you'll join me by tuning into the convention tonight and all week long.
Thanks,
Michelle



... AND A HUSBAND'S PRIDE!

Tuesday, 26 August, 2008 4:41 PM
From: "Barack Obama"
To: "Ana Santana"
Did you see Michelle?

Ana --
I am so lucky to be married to the woman who delivered that speech last night.
Michelle was electrifying, inspiring, and absolutely magnificent. I get a lot of credit for the speech I gave at the 2004 convention -- but I think she may have me beat.
You have to see it to believe it.
You really don't want to miss this. And I'm not just saying that because she's my wife -- I truly believe it was the best speech of the campaign so far.
Barack


Sunday, 24 August 2008

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL!

We haven't been that way inclined in recent years...

but that's, more or less, how it was for us some years back.

It's all happening here!
We haven't been that way inclined in recent years...

but that's, more or less, how it was for us some years back.

It's all happening here!

OLIMPIADAS BEIJING-LONDRES


Queixava-me aqui ha' tempos de os meus anfitrioes "nunca ganharem nada em competicao nenhuma"!

Pois bem, nao sei se por causa da antecipacao do seu papel de anfitrioes dos proximos jogos olimpicos...

ou simplesmente por andarem cansados de perder em praticamente tudo o que e' competicao desportiva internacional...

ou por qualquer outro bicho que lhes mordeu, conseguiram agora em Beijing o maior record de medalhas do UK em cerca de um seculo!


Now, isso e' que foi compensar... e antecipar!



[A minha tristeza desta vez fica com a fraca prestacao de Angola nestas olimpiadas... espero que facam melhor em Londres daqui a 4 anos e... espero ca' estar para assitir pela primeira vez aos jogos olimpicos e torcer pela seleccao nacional... como 'hospede' e como 'anfitria'!]

Queixava-me aqui ha' tempos de os meus anfitrioes "nunca ganharem nada em competicao nenhuma"!

Pois bem, nao sei se por causa da antecipacao do seu papel de anfitrioes dos proximos jogos olimpicos...

ou simplesmente por andarem cansados de perder em praticamente tudo o que e' competicao desportiva internacional...

ou por qualquer outro bicho que lhes mordeu, conseguiram agora em Beijing o maior record de medalhas do UK em cerca de um seculo!


Now, isso e' que foi compensar... e antecipar!



[A minha tristeza desta vez fica com a fraca prestacao de Angola nestas olimpiadas... espero que facam melhor em Londres daqui a 4 anos e... espero ca' estar para assitir pela primeira vez aos jogos olimpicos e torcer pela seleccao nacional... como 'hospede' e como 'anfitria'!]

NOW "THAT BATTLE" IS TRULY OVER!

The Next Vice President
Saturday, 23 August, 2008 3:54 PM
From:
"Barack Obama"
To:
"Ana Santana"
Ana --
I have some important news that I want to make official.
I've chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate. Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois -- the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago.
I'm excited about hitting the campaign trail with Joe, but the two of us can't do this alone.
We need your help to keep building this movement for change.
Thanks for your support,

Barack

*****

Hello
Sunday, 24 August, 2008 7:07 PM

From: "Joe Biden"
To: "Ana Santana"
Ana --

I'd like to thank you for the warm welcome I've received as the newest member of this campaign.

What you and Barack have accomplished over the past 19 months is incredible, and it's an honor to be part of it. I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting involved.

I recorded a short video message about how I hope to help in the weeks ahead.

Please take a minute to watch the video and share it with your friends:



Over the next few weeks, I'll be doing a lot of the things you've done to grow this movement -- reaching out day after day in neighborhoods all across the country, connecting with people who are hungry for the change we need.

This is no ordinary time, and this is no ordinary election. I plan to do everything I can to help Barack take back the White House.

I don't need to tell you that John McCain will just bring us another four years of the same. You can't change America when you supported George Bush's policies 95% of the time.

Barack has the vision and the courage to bring real change to Washington. But even he can't do this alone.

Join me by getting involved in your community -- and reach out to your friends and family to get them involved as well.

Thank you,

Joe
The Next Vice President
Saturday, 23 August, 2008 3:54 PM
From:
"Barack Obama"
To:
"Ana Santana"
Ana --
I have some important news that I want to make official.
I've chosen Joe Biden to be my running mate. Joe and I will appear for the first time as running mates this afternoon in Springfield, Illinois -- the same place this campaign began more than 19 months ago.
I'm excited about hitting the campaign trail with Joe, but the two of us can't do this alone.
We need your help to keep building this movement for change.
Thanks for your support,

Barack

*****

Hello
Sunday, 24 August, 2008 7:07 PM

From: "Joe Biden"
To: "Ana Santana"
Ana --

I'd like to thank you for the warm welcome I've received as the newest member of this campaign.

What you and Barack have accomplished over the past 19 months is incredible, and it's an honor to be part of it. I'm looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting involved.

I recorded a short video message about how I hope to help in the weeks ahead.

Please take a minute to watch the video and share it with your friends:



Over the next few weeks, I'll be doing a lot of the things you've done to grow this movement -- reaching out day after day in neighborhoods all across the country, connecting with people who are hungry for the change we need.

This is no ordinary time, and this is no ordinary election. I plan to do everything I can to help Barack take back the White House.

I don't need to tell you that John McCain will just bring us another four years of the same. You can't change America when you supported George Bush's policies 95% of the time.

Barack has the vision and the courage to bring real change to Washington. But even he can't do this alone.

Join me by getting involved in your community -- and reach out to your friends and family to get them involved as well.

Thank you,

Joe

Friday, 22 August 2008

What African Women Need - 2

"Education for Southern Africa"

Graca Machel Scholarship Programme

Canon Collins Trust currently manages a scholarship programme on behalf of Mrs. Graca Machel. The aim is to provide female students from Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia with scholarships that will equip them to take up leadership roles for the benefit of their community, nation and region.

One of the key concerns of Mrs. Machel is giving a voice to rural women and the scholarship is therefore aimed at empowering rural women. The Graça Machel scholarship is for women who have experienced significant struggle in their life and who have sought to overcome those barriers, be they related to gender, disability, poverty, age or racial discrimination. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate clearly how their application fits within this vision of empowerment.

Postgraduate Study: All scholarships are for postgraduate study, for two years if based in South Africa. The scholarship includes payment of a maintenance allowance, travel, health insurance and tuition fees.

Candidates: Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to women on the basis of academic/professional merit, financial need, intended academic programme, leadership potential and commitment to work for constructive change in Africa. Applicants must have at least two years' relevant work experience.

Subject Areas: Health, Education, Science & Technology, Economics & Finance, Development Applications outside these areas will not be considered.

Closing Date: 31st August 2008

More details here.
"Education for Southern Africa"

Graca Machel Scholarship Programme

Canon Collins Trust currently manages a scholarship programme on behalf of Mrs. Graca Machel. The aim is to provide female students from Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa and Zambia with scholarships that will equip them to take up leadership roles for the benefit of their community, nation and region.

One of the key concerns of Mrs. Machel is giving a voice to rural women and the scholarship is therefore aimed at empowering rural women. The Graça Machel scholarship is for women who have experienced significant struggle in their life and who have sought to overcome those barriers, be they related to gender, disability, poverty, age or racial discrimination. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate clearly how their application fits within this vision of empowerment.

Postgraduate Study: All scholarships are for postgraduate study, for two years if based in South Africa. The scholarship includes payment of a maintenance allowance, travel, health insurance and tuition fees.

Candidates: Scholarships are awarded on a competitive basis to women on the basis of academic/professional merit, financial need, intended academic programme, leadership potential and commitment to work for constructive change in Africa. Applicants must have at least two years' relevant work experience.

Subject Areas: Health, Education, Science & Technology, Economics & Finance, Development Applications outside these areas will not be considered.

Closing Date: 31st August 2008

More details here.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

ECHOES FROM THE ANGOLAN PRESS (22)


Today’s Jornal de Angola informs of the passing yesterday of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa
,
at the Parisian hospital where he had been interned since last July after suffering a cerebral thrombosis in Egypt on the eve of a African Union Summit meeting.

Trained as a lawyer, Mwanawasa was the third Zambian President after the country’s independence from Britain in 1964 and the first without links to liberation movements.
According to the country’s constitution, elections are to be held in 90 days to establish a new President.



In the A Capital, journalist Mario Paiva evaluates the forces at presence in the current legislative elections campaign and asks whether the country is facing "aged hopes or vulgar changes":

The performance of the opposition suggests an unpreparedness for a long-run race: while UNITA throws itself to the “consolidation of the electoral markets”, a handful of politicians doesn’t assume any ambitious objective; the vulgarization of “change”, the absence of confrontation of ideas and the lack of political assertiveness only helps to reinforce the banality of the supposed lesser evil: the status quo.
The MPLA, as the situation party, armed itself with an expected luggage: the alleged economic performance of the post-war, insufficient to claim governance efficiency credits but enough to insufflate the common place of the acquired experience and turn hopes even more aged and vague. Three decades of government, mostly under the first Republic, the one-party system and the absolute power, brought about the experience that made the party state a heavy reality in Angola.
To begin with, the governing party was on an advantageous starting position, due to the disproportion of material, financial and human resources, albeit weakened by the prolonged exercise of power, stained by authoritarianism and corruption. A careful propaganda campaign based on the recently attained peace, the multiplicity of public works and the take-off of some younger so-called technocrat executives, among other factors, did the rest.

Still in the same paper, an interview with Fernando Pacheco, president of the Consultative Board of the Angolan NGO ‘Action for the Rural Development and the Environment’ (ADRA):

According to Fernando Pacheco, Third World government officials are more concerned with their access to power and clientelism once they get there than with achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He further asserts that, in the Angolan case, such disregard for the MDGs is compounded by the politicians’ lack of awareness of its main items. For him, the MDGs will only start to be seriously debated in Angola when President Eduardo dos Santos decides to talk about them, as happened with the bio-fuels: “The political parties should talk more often about the MDGs. They should incorporate that concern in their programs.”
Asked whether he thought the country could meet the 2015 target year to achieve the MDGs, Fernando Pacheco expressed his scepticism, arguing that it would require a rapid change of government policies in some sectors of the economy to fight poverty: “This is an issue of government ethics and policy. More attention needs to be paid to family agriculture. There is need to create services and access to services can only be guaranteed by the state. It is necessary above all, to improve the living standards of the population. (…) There is need to improve schooling levels and the gender balance, because the more women have access to services, particularly to education, the more able they will be to contribute to GDP and to improve their family’s incomes and living conditions.”

The Novo Jornal reproduces an article first appeared in the Portuguese newspaper Diario Economico, about the expansion of business interests of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, in Portugal:

The most powerful Angolan company, Sonangol, already has deciding stakes in some of the biggest Portuguese companies, such as BCP, Galp and Amorim Energia and wants to buy into EDP, PT and ZON, in a strategy led by a discreet and implacable engineer with precious allies, Manuel Vicente. As a result of that strategy, in less than a year, Sonangol became the second biggest stakeholder of Millennium BCP bank, with a 7% stake, which it already announced its intention to increase. Besides the bank, the company has been investing in the main strategic sectors of the Portuguese economy: it controls 15% of Galp (through a 45% stake in Amorim Energy), has a partnership with Portugal Telecom (PT) at Unitel (an Angolan telecommunications operator) and has already expressed interest in entering the energy and natural gas sectors. ZON Multimedia, according to several sources in the market, is the next target.

Manuel Vicente has been at the helm of Sonangol and leading the company’s internationalisation for the last ten years. However, in spite of centralising all decisions, he doesn’t go ahead without President Dos Santos’ clearance. Almost every week, Manuel Vicente goes to the presidential palace, in Luanda, to dispatch personally with the President on the most important business of the Angolan most powerful company. This reveals a lot: first, that all strategic decisions of the company, including investments in Portugal, go through José Eduardo dos Santos; second, that Manuel Vicente is a man who has the trust of the politician.

Finally, also in the Novo Jornal, an interview with John Marcum, an American political scientist who is a close observer of Angolan politics since 1962 and was recently in the country to attend a Conference on Politics and Civil Society organised by the Catholic University of Angola:


You once wrote that “Angola was destined to be the experimental field of the desire and power of the post-Vietnam America.” Why Angola?

At independence, the military power had collapsed. There was no perspective of elections, much less of a coalition government. At the same time, there was the Cold War and the question was thus posed: either support one side or the other. For quite a long time I positioned myself publicly against the US support to UNITA or to any other party, because to me an intervention in this country didn’t make any sense. The American policy in relation to Angola, like that of the entire international community, was a huge failure. Later, in 1992, the United Nations supposedly should disarm the MPLA and UNITA forces, create a unique army and organise local elections. However, instead of that, it left the military situation in the open, promoted elections where “the winner took all and the loser took nothing”, and didn’t go ahead with the suffrage at the local level, important to establish “bottom-up” power structures. We all know the consequences.

16 years later, how do you evaluate Angola’s relationship with the international community?

Today the Angolan context is substantially different, although paradoxical. The external factor is not as strong in terms of governance. But there are the effects of the so-called “Dutch disease”, which happens when a country with immense resources is rich from the macro-economic viewpoint , but its richness is irresponsibly managed by those in power (I am not making any specific allegation, that’s what happens in global terms). The US and Europe are very dependent on oil, therefore they do not pressurise the producing countries to change their policies, because they don’t want to “offend” them. But, at the same time, it’s those resources which finance, for instance, the construction of buildings in Luanda and other projects. However, the areas of production must be diversified.

But that’s exactly the government’s official discourse, although, in practice the results are still below expectations.

That’s the opinion of the analysts. Sometimes money speaks louder.

Were these the values the old liberation movements fought for?

At the Accra Conference (the first Conference of African Peoples, in Ghana, which reunited leaders such as Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah, in 1958) the delegates were very optimistic in relation to Africa’s capacity to institute truly democratic regimes and avoid civil wars. Nobody expected this underdevelopment and authoritarianism. But there was no tradition of opposition and the European governments, and above all the Portuguese, didn’t develop the population’s analytical capacity. However, if we look retrospectively to the years I’ve been in Angola (1962, 1984,1992, and now), I would say that some things are evolving in a very constructive way, that time will heal the wounds and education will be expanded. Human beings want to be free and that’s what will prevail. But it won’t be easy.

Today’s Jornal de Angola informs of the passing yesterday of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa
,
at the Parisian hospital where he had been interned since last July after suffering a cerebral thrombosis in Egypt on the eve of a African Union Summit meeting.

Trained as a lawyer, Mwanawasa was the third Zambian President after the country’s independence from Britain in 1964 and the first without links to liberation movements.
According to the country’s constitution, elections are to be held in 90 days to establish a new President.



In the A Capital, journalist Mario Paiva evaluates the forces at presence in the current legislative elections campaign and asks whether the country is facing "aged hopes or vulgar changes":

The performance of the opposition suggests an unpreparedness for a long-run race: while UNITA throws itself to the “consolidation of the electoral markets”, a handful of politicians doesn’t assume any ambitious objective; the vulgarization of “change”, the absence of confrontation of ideas and the lack of political assertiveness only helps to reinforce the banality of the supposed lesser evil: the status quo.
The MPLA, as the situation party, armed itself with an expected luggage: the alleged economic performance of the post-war, insufficient to claim governance efficiency credits but enough to insufflate the common place of the acquired experience and turn hopes even more aged and vague. Three decades of government, mostly under the first Republic, the one-party system and the absolute power, brought about the experience that made the party state a heavy reality in Angola.
To begin with, the governing party was on an advantageous starting position, due to the disproportion of material, financial and human resources, albeit weakened by the prolonged exercise of power, stained by authoritarianism and corruption. A careful propaganda campaign based on the recently attained peace, the multiplicity of public works and the take-off of some younger so-called technocrat executives, among other factors, did the rest.

Still in the same paper, an interview with Fernando Pacheco, president of the Consultative Board of the Angolan NGO ‘Action for the Rural Development and the Environment’ (ADRA):

According to Fernando Pacheco, Third World government officials are more concerned with their access to power and clientelism once they get there than with achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). He further asserts that, in the Angolan case, such disregard for the MDGs is compounded by the politicians’ lack of awareness of its main items. For him, the MDGs will only start to be seriously debated in Angola when President Eduardo dos Santos decides to talk about them, as happened with the bio-fuels: “The political parties should talk more often about the MDGs. They should incorporate that concern in their programs.”
Asked whether he thought the country could meet the 2015 target year to achieve the MDGs, Fernando Pacheco expressed his scepticism, arguing that it would require a rapid change of government policies in some sectors of the economy to fight poverty: “This is an issue of government ethics and policy. More attention needs to be paid to family agriculture. There is need to create services and access to services can only be guaranteed by the state. It is necessary above all, to improve the living standards of the population. (…) There is need to improve schooling levels and the gender balance, because the more women have access to services, particularly to education, the more able they will be to contribute to GDP and to improve their family’s incomes and living conditions.”

The Novo Jornal reproduces an article first appeared in the Portuguese newspaper Diario Economico, about the expansion of business interests of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, in Portugal:

The most powerful Angolan company, Sonangol, already has deciding stakes in some of the biggest Portuguese companies, such as BCP, Galp and Amorim Energia and wants to buy into EDP, PT and ZON, in a strategy led by a discreet and implacable engineer with precious allies, Manuel Vicente. As a result of that strategy, in less than a year, Sonangol became the second biggest stakeholder of Millennium BCP bank, with a 7% stake, which it already announced its intention to increase. Besides the bank, the company has been investing in the main strategic sectors of the Portuguese economy: it controls 15% of Galp (through a 45% stake in Amorim Energy), has a partnership with Portugal Telecom (PT) at Unitel (an Angolan telecommunications operator) and has already expressed interest in entering the energy and natural gas sectors. ZON Multimedia, according to several sources in the market, is the next target.

Manuel Vicente has been at the helm of Sonangol and leading the company’s internationalisation for the last ten years. However, in spite of centralising all decisions, he doesn’t go ahead without President Dos Santos’ clearance. Almost every week, Manuel Vicente goes to the presidential palace, in Luanda, to dispatch personally with the President on the most important business of the Angolan most powerful company. This reveals a lot: first, that all strategic decisions of the company, including investments in Portugal, go through José Eduardo dos Santos; second, that Manuel Vicente is a man who has the trust of the politician.

Finally, also in the Novo Jornal, an interview with John Marcum, an American political scientist who is a close observer of Angolan politics since 1962 and was recently in the country to attend a Conference on Politics and Civil Society organised by the Catholic University of Angola:


You once wrote that “Angola was destined to be the experimental field of the desire and power of the post-Vietnam America.” Why Angola?

At independence, the military power had collapsed. There was no perspective of elections, much less of a coalition government. At the same time, there was the Cold War and the question was thus posed: either support one side or the other. For quite a long time I positioned myself publicly against the US support to UNITA or to any other party, because to me an intervention in this country didn’t make any sense. The American policy in relation to Angola, like that of the entire international community, was a huge failure. Later, in 1992, the United Nations supposedly should disarm the MPLA and UNITA forces, create a unique army and organise local elections. However, instead of that, it left the military situation in the open, promoted elections where “the winner took all and the loser took nothing”, and didn’t go ahead with the suffrage at the local level, important to establish “bottom-up” power structures. We all know the consequences.

16 years later, how do you evaluate Angola’s relationship with the international community?

Today the Angolan context is substantially different, although paradoxical. The external factor is not as strong in terms of governance. But there are the effects of the so-called “Dutch disease”, which happens when a country with immense resources is rich from the macro-economic viewpoint , but its richness is irresponsibly managed by those in power (I am not making any specific allegation, that’s what happens in global terms). The US and Europe are very dependent on oil, therefore they do not pressurise the producing countries to change their policies, because they don’t want to “offend” them. But, at the same time, it’s those resources which finance, for instance, the construction of buildings in Luanda and other projects. However, the areas of production must be diversified.

But that’s exactly the government’s official discourse, although, in practice the results are still below expectations.

That’s the opinion of the analysts. Sometimes money speaks louder.

Were these the values the old liberation movements fought for?

At the Accra Conference (the first Conference of African Peoples, in Ghana, which reunited leaders such as Patrice Lumumba and Kwame Nkrumah, in 1958) the delegates were very optimistic in relation to Africa’s capacity to institute truly democratic regimes and avoid civil wars. Nobody expected this underdevelopment and authoritarianism. But there was no tradition of opposition and the European governments, and above all the Portuguese, didn’t develop the population’s analytical capacity. However, if we look retrospectively to the years I’ve been in Angola (1962, 1984,1992, and now), I would say that some things are evolving in a very constructive way, that time will heal the wounds and education will be expanded. Human beings want to be free and that’s what will prevail. But it won’t be easy.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

MISS LANDMINE ANGOLA - UPDATE



Augusta Urica, one of the two crowned “Miss Landmine Angola 2008” on April 2nd this year, has been talking of her disappointment at the broken promises, namely that she would be awarded “a house, a car and a brand new custom-made prosthesis,” by the competition organisers.
In a recent interview to the Portuguese news agency, Lusa, Augusta, the winner of the jury’s vote, expressed her sadness and frustration at the impossibility, as the year almost draws to a close, of fulfilling her own promises to help other surviving victims of landmines during her “reign”, as the winners of conventional beauty pageants usually do because, unlike them, she wasn’t given so far all she was made to believe she was entitled to.

“I would like to visit the orthopaedic centres, but I cannot do that empty-handed. People are always expecting something and that is complicated. I live in a poor peripheral neighbourhood of Luanda (Morro Bento) in rented accomodation and would like to have my own house, but the money I received (5,300 dollars) is not enough to buy a plot to build one, so I’m keeping it in the bank. I sometimes don’t even have money for transport,” she complained.



Augusta Urica, one of the two crowned “Miss Landmine Angola 2008” on April 2nd this year, has been talking of her disappointment at the broken promises, namely that she would be awarded “a house, a car and a brand new custom-made prosthesis,” by the competition organisers.
In a recent interview to the Portuguese news agency, Lusa, Augusta, the winner of the jury’s vote, expressed her sadness and frustration at the impossibility, as the year almost draws to a close, of fulfilling her own promises to help other surviving victims of landmines during her “reign”, as the winners of conventional beauty pageants usually do because, unlike them, she wasn’t given so far all she was made to believe she was entitled to.

“I would like to visit the orthopaedic centres, but I cannot do that empty-handed. People are always expecting something and that is complicated. I live in a poor peripheral neighbourhood of Luanda (Morro Bento) in rented accomodation and would like to have my own house, but the money I received (5,300 dollars) is not enough to buy a plot to build one, so I’m keeping it in the bank. I sometimes don’t even have money for transport,” she complained.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

LUANDA DESAPARECIDA

Avenida dos Restauradores



Calcada de Sao Miguel


Rua Pereira Forjaz

Mercado da Caponte

Postais da serie "Luanda Antiga" editados na decada de 80, em Luanda, pela UNAP - Uniao Nacional dos Artistas Plasticos

[E'... os edificios, incluindo os mercados, morrem... seja de morte morrida ou de morte matada... independentemente dos 'tempos historicos']

Avenida dos Restauradores



Calcada de Sao Miguel


Rua Pereira Forjaz

Mercado da Caponte

Postais da serie "Luanda Antiga" editados na decada de 80, em Luanda, pela UNAP - Uniao Nacional dos Artistas Plasticos

[E'... os edificios, incluindo os mercados, morrem... seja de morte morrida ou de morte matada... independentemente dos 'tempos historicos']

NOTA EN PASSANT

Acabo de descobrir, nao exactamente por acaso, mas quase, que o livro de Paula Tavares "A Cabeca de Salome'", (do qual pouco mais tive ate' agora oportunidade de ler do que este texto que aqui publiquei quando o recebi, juntamente com o "Manual Para Amantes Desesperados", com simpaticas dedicatorias da autora, no ano passado) e' composto por um conjunto de cronicas por ela publicadas no Publico entre 1999 e 2002... Ou seja, pelo menos durante os ultimos seis meses desse periodo, houve, sem que eu o soubesse ate' agora, a coincidencia de eu tambem ter publicado uma serie de cronicas no Semanario Angolense... Agora comeco a perceber (melhor?) algumas coisas... e a ter uma maior nocao do quanto de facto tenho estado afastada do mundo lusofono...
Mas, este e' apenas um apontamento para notar um acontecimento digno de nota.
Acabo de descobrir, nao exactamente por acaso, mas quase, que o livro de Paula Tavares "A Cabeca de Salome'", (do qual pouco mais tive ate' agora oportunidade de ler do que este texto que aqui publiquei quando o recebi, juntamente com o "Manual Para Amantes Desesperados", com simpaticas dedicatorias da autora, no ano passado) e' composto por um conjunto de cronicas por ela publicadas no Publico entre 1999 e 2002... Ou seja, pelo menos durante os ultimos seis meses desse periodo, houve, sem que eu o soubesse ate' agora, a coincidencia de eu tambem ter publicado uma serie de cronicas no Semanario Angolense... Agora comeco a perceber (melhor?) algumas coisas... e a ter uma maior nocao do quanto de facto tenho estado afastada do mundo lusofono...
Mas, este e' apenas um apontamento para notar um acontecimento digno de nota.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

KINAXIXE (R.I.P.)


Desde a minha ultima morada em Luanda, no Largo do Kinaxixi, tenho vivido, entre outros lugares, naquela que pode, seguramente, ser considerada a cidade mais conservadora do mundo: Londres. Uma das manifestacoes desse conservadorismo e’ a forma como o planeamento, a edificacao, a arquitectura e o ambiente construido ('the built environment’ e’ uma disciplina que aqui tem uma faculdade inteira de pelo menos uma universidade a ela dedicada) sao levados muito a serio. Esta e’ uma cidade tradicionalmente construida extensiva e horizontalmente (por oposicao a intensiva e verticalmente) e onde as normas de construcao, manutencao e reconstrucao dos edificios sao para ser respeitadas a risca, desde os materiais usados (por norma o tijolo de tons entre o ocre, o castanho e o vermelho), a altura (basicamente, pode dizer-se que qualquer proposta de construcao de um edificio mais alto que o Big Ben e’ severamente escrutinizada e muitissimo raramente aprovada), sob pena de os edificios infractores poderem vir a ser demolidos, por mais dispendiosos, vistosos ou funcionais que se apresentem e por mais famosos e conceituados que sejam os arquitectos ou engenheiros neles envolvidos. As excepcoes mais notorias a essas regras sao as torres de habitacao social construidas nas decadas de 60 e 70 do seculo XX, em varias areas da cidade, para suprir as necessidades habitacionais criadas pelo crescimento populacional provocado pelo baby boom do post-Segunda Guerra Mundial, muitas das quais, entretanto, ja’ foram demolidas ou estao em vias disso.

No entanto, e precisamente por ser levada tao a serio, a implementacao das politicas de manutencao da arquitectura tradicional da cidade nao e’ deixada simplesmente ao sabor dos ventos, mares e calemas, ou aos caprichos, interesses, fantasias e preconceitos politico-ideologicos dos que podem gritar mais alto. Pelo contrario, existem organismos centrais e locais especificamente encarregues de velar pelo respeito dessas politicas, as quais sao definidas por leis e regulamentos, entre os quais se destaca um sistema de listagem e graduacao de acordo com estritos criterios de localizacao, significacao historica e valencia cultural, que impede que determinados edificios sejam construidos em determinados locais ou que outros possam ser estruturalmente alterados ou demolidos. Mas, em ultima instancia, o sucesso da implementacao dessas politicas depende, como em qualquer outro caso, da presenca, ou ausencia, de determinados factores, quer de ordem endogena (e.g. a nao degradacao dos edificios para la’ de qualquer possibilidade de reabilitacao), quer de ordem exogena (e.g. a ausencia de catastrofes, sejam elas naturais, ou provocadas, como guerras).

A existencia e a defesa de tais politicas de conservacao nao impede, todavia, que a arquitectura da cidade se adapte a novas necessidades economicas, tendencias arquitectonicas e/ou realidades socio-culturais, pelo que projectos ineditos e inovadores sao ocasionalmente aprovados. Assim, embora dificilmente se venha a ver algo tao dramatico como a piramide de vidro adjacente ao Louvre, em Paris, ser construido nas imediacoes, digamos, do Buckingham Palace, ha’ alguns edificios, embora se possam contar praticamente pelos dedos de uma mao, que ao longo das ultimas decadas teem conseguido, com sucesso, quebrar os moldes do landscape londrino e impor-se como landmarks na skyline da cidade, e.g. o Centre Point (este embora, nos ultimos tempos, marcado para demolicao por ter deixado de se coadunar com os principios e valencias socio-culturais que inicialmente garantiram a sua edificacao), o Gherkhin, a BT Tower, ou o conjunto do Canary Wharf.

Mas, voltando ao Kinaxixe (refiro-me aqui ao edificio demolido nos ultimos dias e nao ao espaco geografico do Kinaxixi que historica e culturalmente lhe antecede), em texto que escrevi por altura do anuncio, ha’ cerca de quatro anos, dos planos da sua transformacao (texto esse de que ainda ando a procura e que o facto de ate’ agora nao o ter encontrado me sugere que talvez o tenha publicado como comentario num sitio como o Angonoticias, ou numa das networks ou foruns de discussao em que na altura ocasionalmente participava), manifestei duas preocupacoes fundamentais: uma com o futuro da/os vendedora/es que nele ganhavam a sua vida e outra com o destino que se lhe pretendia dar, ou seja, a sua transformacao num shopping centre. Em relacao a primeira, sugeria que, caso a/os vendedora/es tivessem mesmo que ser evacuados do mercado, que os compensassem devidamente, quer com locais alternativos para a continuacao dos seus negocios, quer financeiramente, para que pudessem, caso assim o decidissem, recorrer a outras formas de ganhar a sua vida. Em relacao a segunda, sugeria que o Kinaxixe fosse transformado num mercado como o Covent Garden de Londres.

O Covent Garden e’ um mercado tradicional londrino que, durante grande parte da sua historia de pelo menos 3 seculos, era exclusivamente um mercado de flores, frutas e vegetais mas, com a crescente tercializacao da economia, a transformacao do local em que se encontra numa zona menos residencial e mais de servicos e de lazer e a gradual satisfacao das necessidades alimentares dos residentes locais por super-mercados, restaurantes e lojas de conveniencia (onde, by the way, o bife de atum e’ consideravelmente mais caro e melhor apreciado do que o ‘outro bife’), foi-se diversificando para o comercio de outros produtos e a integracao de algumas das lojas de marca tipicas das principais high streets da cidade, isto e’, foi-se transformando organicamente num shopping center, sem contudo perder a sua traca arquitectonica original, nem a sua atmosfera de mercado tradicional. Para alem do mais, tal como o Covent Garden, que esta’ rodeado de museus e outros edificios historicos no centro de Londres, o Kinaxixe tambem esta’(va) rodeado de outros edificios historicos e museus no centro de Luanda… E essa, propunha eu, seria uma das alternativas de transformacao do Kinaxixe, sem a criacao de desnecessarios custos humanos, ambientais ou patrimoniais.

A outra alternativa, que parece ser a defendida por alguns, seria o status quo, ou seja, mante-lo como era e como estava. Ora, e deixando de lado a 'brilhante ideia' segundo a qual "Africa nao deve ter shopping centers" (...), ha’ aqui varias questoes a considerar. Em primeiro lugar, que politicas, leis e regulamentos existem para a garantia da manutencao de tal status quo? Nao tenho conhecimento de nenhuns, mas caso existam, que mecanismos institucionais e sociais existem para a garantia da sua implementacao? A julgar pelas vozes que, como a minha, desde o inicio se manifestaram contra as intencoes do grupo privado que se decidiu pela transformacao daquele mercado e, finalmente, pela sua demolicao, nenhuns. Evidentemente, ha’ que salvaguardar aqui o que parece ser um facto, do qual apenas tive conhecimento muito recentemente: a impossibilidade de recuperacao das estruturas do edificio, de acordo com os responsaveis pela obra.

Mas, independentemente desse facto aparentemente incontestavel e para alem das vozes e do tom ou intensidade com que porventura se tenham ou nao manifestado ao longo desse tempo, urge colocar algumas questoes mais criticas sobre esse evento: e.g. nos quatro anos (lembremo-nos que, em condicoes normais, esse e’ o tempo de duracao de uma legislatura), que mediaram o anuncio da decisao e o acto final a que se assistiu nos ultimos dias, tera’ algum partido da oposicao com assento parlamentar interpelado o governo sobre os planos em questao? Tera’ algum deputado, de qualquer partido, agindo independentemente ou em associacao com outros, tomado tal iniciativa? Tera’ alguma organizacao da sociedade civil activa e sistematicamente advogado essa causa e/ou agido no sentido de impedir o que acabou por acontecer? Tera’ algum cidadao, agindo individualmente ou em grupo, tomado qualquer iniciativa seria naquele sentido? Terao quaisquer representantes de grupos de interesses economicos, culturais (em especial os 'premios nacionais de cultura' e dentre estes muito particularmente alguem que nao perde uma oportunidade para se auto-proclamar "mais angolana que a Angolanidade!"...), politicos, ideologicos ou outros, considerados afectados, directa ou indirectamente, por aquela medida, submetido alguma peticao, ou pressionado de outro modo, as autoridades competentes para evitar a consumacao daquele acto?

Nao tenho noticia de que qualquer dessas perguntas possa ser respondida positiva e satisfatoriamente. Ou seja, ao contrario do que se passa no pais do Covent Garden, ha’ um vacuo institucional no nosso sistema de tomada, implementacao e contestacao de decisoes que, nao dando lugar a accoes concretas e construtivas no sentido de se impedir que tais decisoes produzam resultados socialmente adversos e insatisfatorios aos mais diversos niveis, acaba por ser preenchido por toda a sorte de irracionalidades, improperios, histerias, racismos, oportunismos, sensacionalismos e ataques pessoais depois dos factos consumados…

Dito tudo isso, devo dizer tambem que a minha oposicao inicial ao projecto de transformacao (na altura nem sequer se falava ainda em demolicao) do Kinaxixe, para alem de uma preocupacao objectiva de ordem etica e humanitaria em relacao aos futuros modos de sobrevivencia da/os vendedora/es e suas familias, se devia menos a factores objectivos do que afectivos, em resultado do meu sentimento de ‘pertenca’ ao local e ao habito de, desde a infancia, quando estudava na Escola 8, que fica ali muito perto, ver ali o mercado, ou de ocasionalmente ir la’ as compras com as mais velhas, ou, na altura do boicote aos exames no Sao Jose’ de Cluny, em 74/75, para la’ fugir dos tiros (para o ar...) da tropa portuguesa e, alguns anos mais tarde, de o ter mesmo ao lado do meu local de trabalho, na Angop… De outro modo, durante os varios anos que ali morei no Largo do Kinaxixi, depois da independencia, em termos objectivos, aquele mercado, ao contrario dos outros mercados existentes na cidade, ja’ nao satisfazia qualquer necessidade economica, cultural, ou social dos residentes locais ou do resto da cidade: praticamente nao se vendiam la’ ja’ quaisquer produtos alimentares e as lojas e outros espacos ainda com alguma serventia nao se dedicavam exactamente ao comercio de bens ou servicos indispensaveis a sobrevivencia dos seus utentes.

Diga-se tambem que, ao contrario do que tem sido veiculado por alguns sectores de opiniao, o Kinaxixe nunca foi um mercado verdadeiramente popular ou tradicional – populares e tradicionais eram e sao mercados como o Sao Paulo, os Kongolenses, ou o (antigo) Xamavu e, mais recentemente, o Roque Santeiro e tenho poucas duvidas de que, a excepcao deste ultimo, a demolicao de qualquer deles teria um impacto economico e socio-cultural na cidade bastante mais dramatico do que a do Kinaxixe. E’ do Sao Paulo, por exemplo, que trago referencias mais marcantes e consistentes ao longo da minha vida, desde ir la' apanhar ingredientes para cozinhar nas ‘brincadeiras de casa’ da minha infancia na Rua de Benguela, ao fascinio pelas colas, gengibres, missangas, pembas, takulas, xas de kaxinde e outros produtos da cultura tradicional Africana que la’ sempre se venderam e que eu saiba, 'por qualquer razao', nunca o foram no Kinaxixe, a cruzar-me com a Joana Maluka a caminho do mercado ou da igreja… E’ com o dos Kongolenses, por outro exemplo, que tenho as maiores afinidades culturais e afectivas: desde as cores dos panos do Kongo e dos cachos de dendem, ao cheiro dos micates a serem fritos, da banana a ser assada, do bagre fumado e da fuba de bombo branquinha, ao sabor da kikwanga, da kizaka ou da mwamba de ginguba acabadas de fazer... E tenho a certeza que esse tipo de relacao afectiva, cultural, historica e funcional com os mercados verdadeiramente populares, tradicionais e culturais de Luanda marca o imaginario e a vida quotidiana de bastantes mais cidadaos Angolanos do que aqueles agora objectiva ou subjectivamente afectados pela demolicao do Kinaxixe.

Em suma, o Kinaxixe – que sempre foi destinado a classe media-alta do centro da cidade, que nas ultimas decadas tambem passou a satisfazer as suas necessidades alimentares basicas naqueles mercados populares ou, mais recentemente, nas lojas de elite da baixa de Luanda, classe essa a qual tambem se destina o projectado novo shopping centre, pelo que nao ha’ conflitos socio-culturais fundamentais entre o status quo e a proposta alternativa (excepto, talvez, que a composicao dessa classe se tera’ alterado significativamente em tempos mais recentes…) – tornou-se ao longo das decadas desde a independencia, em grande medida, um edificio morto para todos os efeitos praticos, utilitarios e socio-culturais, preenchendo apenas um lugar no imaginario de uma parte dos Kaluandas (e, provavelmente, de outros que, por nunca terem realmente vivido a maior parte, ou sequer alguma parte significativa, das suas vidas em Luanda e, em qualquer caso, certamente nao no Kinaxixi, dele apenas teem imagens livrescas e confabuladas, memorias emprestadas e deturpadas e ate' mesmo completamente inventadas, para ja’ nao falar nos que nunca foram dados a frequentar quaisquer mercados porque sempre tiveram empregada/os que o fizessem por eles). Ora, acontece que o imaginario, e por isso mesmo ele tem esse nome, quando nao impedido disso por empecilhos como o racismo, a ideologia, a hipocrisia ou a esquizofrenia, tem as suas formas de criar, re-criar, adaptar-se e afeicoar-se a novas imagens: como essa do novo proposto edificio, contra o qual nao tenho objeccoes inconciliaveis, assumindo que os tecnicos que o projectaram saibam bem o que estao a fazer com tanta vidraca e que de facto o facam tao ‘verde’ quanto as imagens do prototipo sugerem.

Claro que me ocorrem possibilidades arquitectonicas mais consentaneas com a historia, arte e cultura locais, mas para isso, a falta de exemplos nacionais, teria que fazer uma outra digressao, nao ja' por Londres, mas por algumas das principais cidades Sul-Africanas e de outros paises da Africa Austral. E tais possibilidades ainda se podem vir a concretizar no vasto espaco geografico e populacional circundante ao centro da cidade, caso em que depois sera’ uma questao de competicao por gostos e preferencias esteticas, funcionalidades socio-economicas e valencias culturais entre tais possiveis novos espacos e propostas arquitectonicas e o que agora nos e’ apresentado em substituicao do Kinaxixe, competicao em resultado da qual este podera’ vir a ter a mesma sorte agora destinada ao Centre Point de Londres…

Terminada esta longa digressao pelos escombros do Kinaxixe, onde e’ que entram aqui argumentos de ‘nacionalismos racicos’ nao e’ exactamente uma questao que me escape… Mas essa e’ uma ‘peixeirada’ de um ‘mercado’ em que nao pretendo ir apanhar, nem comprar nada e nem sequer entrar, ate’ porque os seus participantes, vociferando histrionicamente contra o desaparecimento de um certo Quinachiche encimado por uma certa Maria da Fonte e de tudo quanto seja reminiscente do ‘tempo da outra senhora’, sao muito dados a ‘ameacas de morte’ e sao gente para se levar muito a serio nessas coisas: afinal eles estiveram envolvidos, directa ou indirectamente, na maior matanca a que a Historia contemporanea Angolana ja’ assistiu… E, mesmo sabendo e tendo experimentado os efeitos do seu “braco comprido”, continuo na minha: “estou no mundo, a esquizofrenia fica longe, na cultura”!

O Kinaxixe morreu! Longa Vida ao Kinaxixi!!!

Desde a minha ultima morada em Luanda, no Largo do Kinaxixi, tenho vivido, entre outros lugares, naquela que pode, seguramente, ser considerada a cidade mais conservadora do mundo: Londres. Uma das manifestacoes desse conservadorismo e’ a forma como o planeamento, a edificacao, a arquitectura e o ambiente construido ('the built environment’ e’ uma disciplina que aqui tem uma faculdade inteira de pelo menos uma universidade a ela dedicada) sao levados muito a serio. Esta e’ uma cidade tradicionalmente construida extensiva e horizontalmente (por oposicao a intensiva e verticalmente) e onde as normas de construcao, manutencao e reconstrucao dos edificios sao para ser respeitadas a risca, desde os materiais usados (por norma o tijolo de tons entre o ocre, o castanho e o vermelho), a altura (basicamente, pode dizer-se que qualquer proposta de construcao de um edificio mais alto que o Big Ben e’ severamente escrutinizada e muitissimo raramente aprovada), sob pena de os edificios infractores poderem vir a ser demolidos, por mais dispendiosos, vistosos ou funcionais que se apresentem e por mais famosos e conceituados que sejam os arquitectos ou engenheiros neles envolvidos. As excepcoes mais notorias a essas regras sao as torres de habitacao social construidas nas decadas de 60 e 70 do seculo XX, em varias areas da cidade, para suprir as necessidades habitacionais criadas pelo crescimento populacional provocado pelo baby boom do post-Segunda Guerra Mundial, muitas das quais, entretanto, ja’ foram demolidas ou estao em vias disso.

No entanto, e precisamente por ser levada tao a serio, a implementacao das politicas de manutencao da arquitectura tradicional da cidade nao e’ deixada simplesmente ao sabor dos ventos, mares e calemas, ou aos caprichos, interesses, fantasias e preconceitos politico-ideologicos dos que podem gritar mais alto. Pelo contrario, existem organismos centrais e locais especificamente encarregues de velar pelo respeito dessas politicas, as quais sao definidas por leis e regulamentos, entre os quais se destaca um sistema de listagem e graduacao de acordo com estritos criterios de localizacao, significacao historica e valencia cultural, que impede que determinados edificios sejam construidos em determinados locais ou que outros possam ser estruturalmente alterados ou demolidos. Mas, em ultima instancia, o sucesso da implementacao dessas politicas depende, como em qualquer outro caso, da presenca, ou ausencia, de determinados factores, quer de ordem endogena (e.g. a nao degradacao dos edificios para la’ de qualquer possibilidade de reabilitacao), quer de ordem exogena (e.g. a ausencia de catastrofes, sejam elas naturais, ou provocadas, como guerras).

A existencia e a defesa de tais politicas de conservacao nao impede, todavia, que a arquitectura da cidade se adapte a novas necessidades economicas, tendencias arquitectonicas e/ou realidades socio-culturais, pelo que projectos ineditos e inovadores sao ocasionalmente aprovados. Assim, embora dificilmente se venha a ver algo tao dramatico como a piramide de vidro adjacente ao Louvre, em Paris, ser construido nas imediacoes, digamos, do Buckingham Palace, ha’ alguns edificios, embora se possam contar praticamente pelos dedos de uma mao, que ao longo das ultimas decadas teem conseguido, com sucesso, quebrar os moldes do landscape londrino e impor-se como landmarks na skyline da cidade, e.g. o Centre Point (este embora, nos ultimos tempos, marcado para demolicao por ter deixado de se coadunar com os principios e valencias socio-culturais que inicialmente garantiram a sua edificacao), o Gherkhin, a BT Tower, ou o conjunto do Canary Wharf.

Mas, voltando ao Kinaxixe (refiro-me aqui ao edificio demolido nos ultimos dias e nao ao espaco geografico do Kinaxixi que historica e culturalmente lhe antecede), em texto que escrevi por altura do anuncio, ha’ cerca de quatro anos, dos planos da sua transformacao (texto esse de que ainda ando a procura e que o facto de ate’ agora nao o ter encontrado me sugere que talvez o tenha publicado como comentario num sitio como o Angonoticias, ou numa das networks ou foruns de discussao em que na altura ocasionalmente participava), manifestei duas preocupacoes fundamentais: uma com o futuro da/os vendedora/es que nele ganhavam a sua vida e outra com o destino que se lhe pretendia dar, ou seja, a sua transformacao num shopping centre. Em relacao a primeira, sugeria que, caso a/os vendedora/es tivessem mesmo que ser evacuados do mercado, que os compensassem devidamente, quer com locais alternativos para a continuacao dos seus negocios, quer financeiramente, para que pudessem, caso assim o decidissem, recorrer a outras formas de ganhar a sua vida. Em relacao a segunda, sugeria que o Kinaxixe fosse transformado num mercado como o Covent Garden de Londres.

O Covent Garden e’ um mercado tradicional londrino que, durante grande parte da sua historia de pelo menos 3 seculos, era exclusivamente um mercado de flores, frutas e vegetais mas, com a crescente tercializacao da economia, a transformacao do local em que se encontra numa zona menos residencial e mais de servicos e de lazer e a gradual satisfacao das necessidades alimentares dos residentes locais por super-mercados, restaurantes e lojas de conveniencia (onde, by the way, o bife de atum e’ consideravelmente mais caro e melhor apreciado do que o ‘outro bife’), foi-se diversificando para o comercio de outros produtos e a integracao de algumas das lojas de marca tipicas das principais high streets da cidade, isto e’, foi-se transformando organicamente num shopping center, sem contudo perder a sua traca arquitectonica original, nem a sua atmosfera de mercado tradicional. Para alem do mais, tal como o Covent Garden, que esta’ rodeado de museus e outros edificios historicos no centro de Londres, o Kinaxixe tambem esta’(va) rodeado de outros edificios historicos e museus no centro de Luanda… E essa, propunha eu, seria uma das alternativas de transformacao do Kinaxixe, sem a criacao de desnecessarios custos humanos, ambientais ou patrimoniais.

A outra alternativa, que parece ser a defendida por alguns, seria o status quo, ou seja, mante-lo como era e como estava. Ora, e deixando de lado a 'brilhante ideia' segundo a qual "Africa nao deve ter shopping centers" (...), ha’ aqui varias questoes a considerar. Em primeiro lugar, que politicas, leis e regulamentos existem para a garantia da manutencao de tal status quo? Nao tenho conhecimento de nenhuns, mas caso existam, que mecanismos institucionais e sociais existem para a garantia da sua implementacao? A julgar pelas vozes que, como a minha, desde o inicio se manifestaram contra as intencoes do grupo privado que se decidiu pela transformacao daquele mercado e, finalmente, pela sua demolicao, nenhuns. Evidentemente, ha’ que salvaguardar aqui o que parece ser um facto, do qual apenas tive conhecimento muito recentemente: a impossibilidade de recuperacao das estruturas do edificio, de acordo com os responsaveis pela obra.

Mas, independentemente desse facto aparentemente incontestavel e para alem das vozes e do tom ou intensidade com que porventura se tenham ou nao manifestado ao longo desse tempo, urge colocar algumas questoes mais criticas sobre esse evento: e.g. nos quatro anos (lembremo-nos que, em condicoes normais, esse e’ o tempo de duracao de uma legislatura), que mediaram o anuncio da decisao e o acto final a que se assistiu nos ultimos dias, tera’ algum partido da oposicao com assento parlamentar interpelado o governo sobre os planos em questao? Tera’ algum deputado, de qualquer partido, agindo independentemente ou em associacao com outros, tomado tal iniciativa? Tera’ alguma organizacao da sociedade civil activa e sistematicamente advogado essa causa e/ou agido no sentido de impedir o que acabou por acontecer? Tera’ algum cidadao, agindo individualmente ou em grupo, tomado qualquer iniciativa seria naquele sentido? Terao quaisquer representantes de grupos de interesses economicos, culturais (em especial os 'premios nacionais de cultura' e dentre estes muito particularmente alguem que nao perde uma oportunidade para se auto-proclamar "mais angolana que a Angolanidade!"...), politicos, ideologicos ou outros, considerados afectados, directa ou indirectamente, por aquela medida, submetido alguma peticao, ou pressionado de outro modo, as autoridades competentes para evitar a consumacao daquele acto?

Nao tenho noticia de que qualquer dessas perguntas possa ser respondida positiva e satisfatoriamente. Ou seja, ao contrario do que se passa no pais do Covent Garden, ha’ um vacuo institucional no nosso sistema de tomada, implementacao e contestacao de decisoes que, nao dando lugar a accoes concretas e construtivas no sentido de se impedir que tais decisoes produzam resultados socialmente adversos e insatisfatorios aos mais diversos niveis, acaba por ser preenchido por toda a sorte de irracionalidades, improperios, histerias, racismos, oportunismos, sensacionalismos e ataques pessoais depois dos factos consumados…

Dito tudo isso, devo dizer tambem que a minha oposicao inicial ao projecto de transformacao (na altura nem sequer se falava ainda em demolicao) do Kinaxixe, para alem de uma preocupacao objectiva de ordem etica e humanitaria em relacao aos futuros modos de sobrevivencia da/os vendedora/es e suas familias, se devia menos a factores objectivos do que afectivos, em resultado do meu sentimento de ‘pertenca’ ao local e ao habito de, desde a infancia, quando estudava na Escola 8, que fica ali muito perto, ver ali o mercado, ou de ocasionalmente ir la’ as compras com as mais velhas, ou, na altura do boicote aos exames no Sao Jose’ de Cluny, em 74/75, para la’ fugir dos tiros (para o ar...) da tropa portuguesa e, alguns anos mais tarde, de o ter mesmo ao lado do meu local de trabalho, na Angop… De outro modo, durante os varios anos que ali morei no Largo do Kinaxixi, depois da independencia, em termos objectivos, aquele mercado, ao contrario dos outros mercados existentes na cidade, ja’ nao satisfazia qualquer necessidade economica, cultural, ou social dos residentes locais ou do resto da cidade: praticamente nao se vendiam la’ ja’ quaisquer produtos alimentares e as lojas e outros espacos ainda com alguma serventia nao se dedicavam exactamente ao comercio de bens ou servicos indispensaveis a sobrevivencia dos seus utentes.

Diga-se tambem que, ao contrario do que tem sido veiculado por alguns sectores de opiniao, o Kinaxixe nunca foi um mercado verdadeiramente popular ou tradicional – populares e tradicionais eram e sao mercados como o Sao Paulo, os Kongolenses, ou o (antigo) Xamavu e, mais recentemente, o Roque Santeiro e tenho poucas duvidas de que, a excepcao deste ultimo, a demolicao de qualquer deles teria um impacto economico e socio-cultural na cidade bastante mais dramatico do que a do Kinaxixe. E’ do Sao Paulo, por exemplo, que trago referencias mais marcantes e consistentes ao longo da minha vida, desde ir la' apanhar ingredientes para cozinhar nas ‘brincadeiras de casa’ da minha infancia na Rua de Benguela, ao fascinio pelas colas, gengibres, missangas, pembas, takulas, xas de kaxinde e outros produtos da cultura tradicional Africana que la’ sempre se venderam e que eu saiba, 'por qualquer razao', nunca o foram no Kinaxixe, a cruzar-me com a Joana Maluka a caminho do mercado ou da igreja… E’ com o dos Kongolenses, por outro exemplo, que tenho as maiores afinidades culturais e afectivas: desde as cores dos panos do Kongo e dos cachos de dendem, ao cheiro dos micates a serem fritos, da banana a ser assada, do bagre fumado e da fuba de bombo branquinha, ao sabor da kikwanga, da kizaka ou da mwamba de ginguba acabadas de fazer... E tenho a certeza que esse tipo de relacao afectiva, cultural, historica e funcional com os mercados verdadeiramente populares, tradicionais e culturais de Luanda marca o imaginario e a vida quotidiana de bastantes mais cidadaos Angolanos do que aqueles agora objectiva ou subjectivamente afectados pela demolicao do Kinaxixe.

Em suma, o Kinaxixe – que sempre foi destinado a classe media-alta do centro da cidade, que nas ultimas decadas tambem passou a satisfazer as suas necessidades alimentares basicas naqueles mercados populares ou, mais recentemente, nas lojas de elite da baixa de Luanda, classe essa a qual tambem se destina o projectado novo shopping centre, pelo que nao ha’ conflitos socio-culturais fundamentais entre o status quo e a proposta alternativa (excepto, talvez, que a composicao dessa classe se tera’ alterado significativamente em tempos mais recentes…) – tornou-se ao longo das decadas desde a independencia, em grande medida, um edificio morto para todos os efeitos praticos, utilitarios e socio-culturais, preenchendo apenas um lugar no imaginario de uma parte dos Kaluandas (e, provavelmente, de outros que, por nunca terem realmente vivido a maior parte, ou sequer alguma parte significativa, das suas vidas em Luanda e, em qualquer caso, certamente nao no Kinaxixi, dele apenas teem imagens livrescas e confabuladas, memorias emprestadas e deturpadas e ate' mesmo completamente inventadas, para ja’ nao falar nos que nunca foram dados a frequentar quaisquer mercados porque sempre tiveram empregada/os que o fizessem por eles). Ora, acontece que o imaginario, e por isso mesmo ele tem esse nome, quando nao impedido disso por empecilhos como o racismo, a ideologia, a hipocrisia ou a esquizofrenia, tem as suas formas de criar, re-criar, adaptar-se e afeicoar-se a novas imagens: como essa do novo proposto edificio, contra o qual nao tenho objeccoes inconciliaveis, assumindo que os tecnicos que o projectaram saibam bem o que estao a fazer com tanta vidraca e que de facto o facam tao ‘verde’ quanto as imagens do prototipo sugerem.

Claro que me ocorrem possibilidades arquitectonicas mais consentaneas com a historia, arte e cultura locais, mas para isso, a falta de exemplos nacionais, teria que fazer uma outra digressao, nao ja' por Londres, mas por algumas das principais cidades Sul-Africanas e de outros paises da Africa Austral. E tais possibilidades ainda se podem vir a concretizar no vasto espaco geografico e populacional circundante ao centro da cidade, caso em que depois sera’ uma questao de competicao por gostos e preferencias esteticas, funcionalidades socio-economicas e valencias culturais entre tais possiveis novos espacos e propostas arquitectonicas e o que agora nos e’ apresentado em substituicao do Kinaxixe, competicao em resultado da qual este podera’ vir a ter a mesma sorte agora destinada ao Centre Point de Londres…

Terminada esta longa digressao pelos escombros do Kinaxixe, onde e’ que entram aqui argumentos de ‘nacionalismos racicos’ nao e’ exactamente uma questao que me escape… Mas essa e’ uma ‘peixeirada’ de um ‘mercado’ em que nao pretendo ir apanhar, nem comprar nada e nem sequer entrar, ate’ porque os seus participantes, vociferando histrionicamente contra o desaparecimento de um certo Quinachiche encimado por uma certa Maria da Fonte e de tudo quanto seja reminiscente do ‘tempo da outra senhora’, sao muito dados a ‘ameacas de morte’ e sao gente para se levar muito a serio nessas coisas: afinal eles estiveram envolvidos, directa ou indirectamente, na maior matanca a que a Historia contemporanea Angolana ja’ assistiu… E, mesmo sabendo e tendo experimentado os efeitos do seu “braco comprido”, continuo na minha: “estou no mundo, a esquizofrenia fica longe, na cultura”!

O Kinaxixe morreu! Longa Vida ao Kinaxixi!!!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

What African Women Need - 1


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ECHOES FROM THE ANGOLAN PRESS (21)

This week’s articles are all extracted from the Cultural Supplement of Novo Jornal, ‘Mutamba’ (named after Luanda’s main downtown square), which presents this as its ‘picture of the week’:

Their 'person of the week' is Ossanda Liber, a young Angolan film-maker living between Lisbon and Luanda, who owns the company Liber Media Productions. She is about to complete her latest documentary, about Luanda’s popular mega-market “Roque Santeiro”, which she considers her biggest cinematic challenge:

“The ‘Roque Santeiro’ market represents a Stock Exchange of a kind. It used to manage so many millions a day that everything was decided there, including the exchange rate USD-Kwanza.
(…)
Three or four years from now I would like to do two things: first, a magazine for Angolan women, because in Angola the big problem at present is that there’s only women; the men died in the war and now there’s on average 10 women for each man. I believe that Angola will be a country governed by women, they are very present in the family and domestic life and all that would be material for a female publication. Then I would also like to take an acting course, because I was told by a producer friend of mine that I could be a good actress. I don’t know if he was joking or not, but what is certain is that I started to think seriously about it.”

Also featured, an account of the celebrations in Luanda of 45 years of Bonga’s artistic life. One of the country’s major musical references – as a singer, composer, instrumentalist and performer – Bonga distinguishes himself by his closeness to his Angolan cultural roots, in spite of having lived permanently outside the country for the last around forty years:

“Two galas and a show for the youth were more than enough to confirm (if that was still needed) the power of Bonga’s music and the arguments that make him one of the most ‘internationalised’ Angolan musicians. The events were part of the artist’s 45-year musical career, which also included the release of a new record, ‘Bairro’. In the three events, Barceló de Carvalho, or simply Bonga, confirmed that all authentic product must be well consumed. Known as one of the great defenders of Africanity and, in particular, of the musical genre Semba, the musician interacted with the audience through a variety of sounds and conversations. Many attended: just in one of the shows, at ‘Estádio dos Coqueiros’, there were almost 15 thousand fans.”


News as well of a project led by researchers from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, supported by the economic group ESCOM and coordinated by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, aimed at the study of unpublished documentation about Angola and the Lunda-Cokwe cultural area in particular:

The project is part of the program of reopening of the Anthropological Museum of Dundo – an important Central Africa research centre in the areas of entomology, archaeology and ethnography, which is internationally known for its collection of
Cokwe art. It is geared toward the investigation, digitalization and conservation of historical documents related to Angola covering about half a century of colonial occupation of the area, namely those of the Cultural Services of the former Company of Diamonds of Angola, Diamang – the initiator of diamonds’ exploration in the country in 1917 and once considered ‘a state within a state’, whose documental estate was acquired by the Museum in 1986 – and of Marie Louise Bastin, a specialist in
Cokwe art.

Finally, echoes of the recent passing of Nobel Prize of Literature Alexander Soljenitsyne – “An anti-soviet who died Russian at 89”:

In a telegram of condolences addressed to the family, President Dmitri Medvedev referred to Soljenitsyne as ‘one of the 20th century most important thinkers, writers and humanists.’ Mikhail Gorbatchev, the father of Perestroika who provoked a political turn in the East and the fall of the Berlin Wall, had already referred to him as ‘a man with a unique destiny who was one of the first to soundly denounce the inhumane character of the Stalinist regime, having faced difficult probes together with millions of his country citizens who experienced the communist concentration camps.’
Having chosen the autobiographical novel as his main vehicle of expression, he wrote ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ and ‘A Day in the Life of Ivan Denissovitch’, based on daily life reports of prisoners, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1970. However, he preferred not to go to Stockholm to receive it for fear of not being allowed to travel back to Russia.
But not everything was worthy of a positive evaluation in Soljenitsyne’s life. His support of fascist dictatorships, such as Pinochet’s and Franco’s, cost him tough criticism. Also controversial were his words of approval of the second Tchetchenia war and his calls for the death penalty for the independents in the region.

This week’s articles are all extracted from the Cultural Supplement of Novo Jornal, ‘Mutamba’ (named after Luanda’s main downtown square), which presents this as its ‘picture of the week’:

Their 'person of the week' is Ossanda Liber, a young Angolan film-maker living between Lisbon and Luanda, who owns the company Liber Media Productions. She is about to complete her latest documentary, about Luanda’s popular mega-market “Roque Santeiro”, which she considers her biggest cinematic challenge:

“The ‘Roque Santeiro’ market represents a Stock Exchange of a kind. It used to manage so many millions a day that everything was decided there, including the exchange rate USD-Kwanza.
(…)
Three or four years from now I would like to do two things: first, a magazine for Angolan women, because in Angola the big problem at present is that there’s only women; the men died in the war and now there’s on average 10 women for each man. I believe that Angola will be a country governed by women, they are very present in the family and domestic life and all that would be material for a female publication. Then I would also like to take an acting course, because I was told by a producer friend of mine that I could be a good actress. I don’t know if he was joking or not, but what is certain is that I started to think seriously about it.”

Also featured, an account of the celebrations in Luanda of 45 years of Bonga’s artistic life. One of the country’s major musical references – as a singer, composer, instrumentalist and performer – Bonga distinguishes himself by his closeness to his Angolan cultural roots, in spite of having lived permanently outside the country for the last around forty years:

“Two galas and a show for the youth were more than enough to confirm (if that was still needed) the power of Bonga’s music and the arguments that make him one of the most ‘internationalised’ Angolan musicians. The events were part of the artist’s 45-year musical career, which also included the release of a new record, ‘Bairro’. In the three events, Barceló de Carvalho, or simply Bonga, confirmed that all authentic product must be well consumed. Known as one of the great defenders of Africanity and, in particular, of the musical genre Semba, the musician interacted with the audience through a variety of sounds and conversations. Many attended: just in one of the shows, at ‘Estádio dos Coqueiros’, there were almost 15 thousand fans.”


News as well of a project led by researchers from the Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra, Portugal, supported by the economic group ESCOM and coordinated by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture, aimed at the study of unpublished documentation about Angola and the Lunda-Cokwe cultural area in particular:

The project is part of the program of reopening of the Anthropological Museum of Dundo – an important Central Africa research centre in the areas of entomology, archaeology and ethnography, which is internationally known for its collection of
Cokwe art. It is geared toward the investigation, digitalization and conservation of historical documents related to Angola covering about half a century of colonial occupation of the area, namely those of the Cultural Services of the former Company of Diamonds of Angola, Diamang – the initiator of diamonds’ exploration in the country in 1917 and once considered ‘a state within a state’, whose documental estate was acquired by the Museum in 1986 – and of Marie Louise Bastin, a specialist in
Cokwe art.

Finally, echoes of the recent passing of Nobel Prize of Literature Alexander Soljenitsyne – “An anti-soviet who died Russian at 89”:

In a telegram of condolences addressed to the family, President Dmitri Medvedev referred to Soljenitsyne as ‘one of the 20th century most important thinkers, writers and humanists.’ Mikhail Gorbatchev, the father of Perestroika who provoked a political turn in the East and the fall of the Berlin Wall, had already referred to him as ‘a man with a unique destiny who was one of the first to soundly denounce the inhumane character of the Stalinist regime, having faced difficult probes together with millions of his country citizens who experienced the communist concentration camps.’
Having chosen the autobiographical novel as his main vehicle of expression, he wrote ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ and ‘A Day in the Life of Ivan Denissovitch’, based on daily life reports of prisoners, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1970. However, he preferred not to go to Stockholm to receive it for fear of not being allowed to travel back to Russia.
But not everything was worthy of a positive evaluation in Soljenitsyne’s life. His support of fascist dictatorships, such as Pinochet’s and Franco’s, cost him tough criticism. Also controversial were his words of approval of the second Tchetchenia war and his calls for the death penalty for the independents in the region.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

ISAAC HAYES (R.I.P.)




Humanity got poorer


Soulsville - Isaac Hayes

[BIO AND OBITUARY]




Humanity got poorer


Soulsville - Isaac Hayes

[BIO AND OBITUARY]