Legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder
One of my best friends, the famous senhor Henriques, has turned down a role as a Spanish soldier in a film about The Eighty Years’ War. He thought it might take too long… Hahaha!
But seriously, my take of the day…
Up until now I actually kind of liked our president, I must admit – he always seemed to be speaking his mind. His straightforwardness was a nice change. But now he turned out to be as politically correct as his predecessors, by saying ‘the Catalan issue is an internal affair of Spain.’
The most disturbing thing about it: I probably would have said the same thing in his position, on an official state visit holding a press conference in the lion’s den, ie Madrid, while being held at gun-point by Rajoy en Felipe VI breathing down my neck.
Moreover, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was representing our country. And, in Portugal almost no-one seems to deem it necessary to show solidarity with the Catalan people [without whose courage and tenacity Portugal would probably be in the very same spot as Catalonia today, a mere province of the Spanish kingdom].
‘Yes, but what the Catalan leaders want is against the law!’ is an argument that my Portuguese friends love to bring up.
I tend to immediately return fire with…
‘I guess April 25 [of which we are celebrating its 44th return today, by the way] was legal then, in the eyes of the man in power at the time, the successor of dictator Salazar? Or – no, let me guess! – the regicide 110 years ago was legal in the eyes of the decimated Portuguese royal family? Or the Restauration War for that matter, which ended Spanish rule of Portugal – was that legal by any chance in the eyes of Felipe IV [that’s right, only two counts down from the current one]?
In short, my dear fellow countrymen and -women, what is legal [or what is not] is in the eye of the beholder, is it not!
Or hasn’t you been taught at school that the Portuguese started the Restauration War in 1640, only because Felipe IV came knocking on our door because he wanted the Portuguese to help him out and send troops to – wait for it! – Catalonia?
Felipe’s chief problem had arisen the year before: the Dutch admiral Tromp had destroyed his Armada and had sent the 20,000 Spanish troops on board knocking… on heaven’s door…
I beg your pardon?
No, not Trump… the Dutchman, Tromp!
Anyway, Felipe went knocking on the Catalan door with the request to send more Catalan troops to the Netherlands, where at the time the Spanish throne was fighting The Eighty Years’ War. The Catalan people [fed-up with all the conflicts the Castilian throne in Madrid engaged in] started an insurgency. So, Felipe went knocking on the Portuguese door. And the Portuguese told Felipe politely ‘Porquê o Senhor Nosso Rei não vai batendo na Porta do Inferno?’ – which in translation boils down to: Go to hell! [pardon my Brazilian!]
And, they started an insurgency as well – the above-named Guerra da Restauração.
What could Felipe do?
He sent the lion’s share of his very last troops to Catalonia and reckoned ‘I’ll deal with them bloody Portuguese later on!’
Did he consider Portugal less important than Catalonia? We shall never know!
Anyway, thanks to the Catalans [who sold their lives dearly and fought like lions for twelve(!) long years, however… lost] Portugal succeeded in regaining its independence in 1668.
Therefore, I feel it would be nice, if the Portuguese people now [especially today] would show some appreciation for and solidarity with the brave Catalan people, paying tribute to them by singing out: Viure a Catalunya! Viure a Catalunya, caramba!’