I had initially written this as a comment to this post but, on good advice, decided to post it separately. Because it is never enough to stress the importance, relevance and accuracy of messages like Malavoloneke’s here, I must do just that: stress it!
But, let’s not make any mistakes: I am also a good friend of Fernando’s.
With him I shared the anguishes that led many Angolan students in Portugal to bring about a “Manifesto for the Right to Live”, for which we went door to door to collect thousands of signatures from the Angolan community and friends of Angola in Portugal and held a well attended vigil in one of Lisbon’s main squares, which counted with such references of our national culture as Raul Indipwo, his own father, Jorge Macedo, and others, calling for a halt to the hostilities that followed the 1992 elections and for a lasting peace and true democracy in our country.
Supporting him I was, a few months later, in the hunger strike he and other Angolan students held in front of the Angolan Embassy in Lisbon to protest at the victimisation students were being subjected to as a result of the intolerance and political violence that marked those times in our national life. With him I traveled, some time later, to Brussels, to spread our message and express our desire for peace at the headquarters of the European Union. To him I suggested, a few years later in Luanda, when he asked my opinion about it, that it would be better for him to go to pursue his studies and leave the political/civic struggles aside for a while – this particular episode happened when he was working in the same office as Rafael Marques, under the auspices of the Open Society, and it would be particularly interesting to observe the evolution Marques’ relationship with that organisation had in more recent years...
For him I was happy when he let me know some time later that he was in Boston post-graduating in Law. To him go my praises for all the courage and strength he shows in fighting for Justice, Peace and Democracy in our country!
However… however, in this occasion, I subscribe to Malavoloneke’s message to him. And deep down in my heart I believe that Fernando also subscribes to it, at least for this once. For this peace we so longed for. For that right to live that we called for so earthly sixteen years ago! And that message was and is very simple:
GIVE PEACE A CHANCE!
2. While I was living those moments with Fernando, I was also sharing (or had shared) momentous experiences with such ‘Mais Velhos’ from our country’s political history as Mario Pinto de Andrade, Manuel Lima and Daniel Chipenda (it was straight from this late Angolan nationalist's family home that I left, totally exhausted spiritually and psychologically, more than a decade ago, Lisbon to London, where I’ve been based ever since to rebuild, literally piece by piece, my then totally shattered life and from where I’ve been trying to give whatever contribution I can to our country and to our continent, until I can finally return home without fears of seeing my life shattered all over again for whatever reason – it is thus to protect my ‘right to live’ that I am forced, again, to stay abroad for a while longer. You see, unlike others, no matter what passport we may be using, we cannot disguise or conceal our identity: it is imprinted in our skin, our mind, our memory, our soul, our diction, our culture).
With them and others, I learned many of the lessons they had accumulated along about half a century of struggles for liberation, peace and development in Africa. Through them I’ve learned something essential about ourselves: for all the differences in their individual trajectories and standings in the nationalist movement, there was one commonality – our future can only be dictated by our own past, culture and history.
It was from them, among others, and from my own life experiences prior and after meeting them, that I got this sense of just how right Malavoloneke is in saying: “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 was what I learned from them (and, to be perfectly accurate, before them, with my father and grandparents) that helped me make sense, particularly looking at my own life, not just of the letters from Unita and Mpla militants that I’ve reproduced here but, above all, of the passages from Douglass North’s Economics Nobel Prize Lecture, which I placed in the comment’s space to this post.
*[Postado inicialmente a 01/09/08 - repostado a proposito do "DIA DA PAZ EM ANGOLA"]
Ecos de Uma Guerra que (ainda?!) nao Acabou...
Eis uma correccao que (antes tarde do que nunca…) se me impoe:
No texto acima menciono o Fernando Macedo como tendo participado no movimento dos estudantes ‘a volta daquele manifesto – que obteve mais de 5 mil assinaturas de Angolanos e Amigos de Angola em Portugal e o apoio de muitos compatriotas nossos no interior do pais e na diaspora e culminou numa vigilia com musica cantada na Praca da Figueira em Lisboa.
Devo, no entanto, sem com isto pretender de modo nenhum menosprezar o activismo estudantil do Fernando Macedo naquela altura, corrigir esse lapso: o Fernando Macedo, tanto quanto me lembro, nao esteve envolvido, pelo menos directamente, naquele movimento. O “Manifesto” foi escrito em minha casa, por mim com a contribuicao de outros estudantes que la’ comigo se reuniam. Nao tenho memoria de o Fernando alguma vez ter estado em minha casa em Lisboa, nem de ter participado nas nossas reunioes – talvez apenas porque ele se encontrava a estudar em Braga, se bem me recordo.
O pai dele, o falecido Jorge Macedo, esse sim, numa fase posterior, quando nos os estudantes ja’ tinhamos praticamente tudo feito, juntou-se a algumas das nossas reunioes, tal como alguns outros mais-velhos, como o Raul Indipwo – que tambem cantou na Praca da Figueira no dia da vigilia.
As minhas desculpas ao Fernando, mas o meu lapso ficou a dever-se ao facto de a minha memoria sobre os meus ultimos anos em Portugal apenas agora se estar gradualmente a reconstruir.
P.S.: Ja’ agora, agradeco a quem porventura tenha uma copia do “Manifesto” que me a envie por email. Agradecimentos antecipados.