April, an outmost important month in Portugal. This year, for many reasons.
This month marks the 47th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution of 1974. Divorce was not permitted, women were not allowed to simply work or travel without their husband’s consent, creative expression and journalism were highly censured, people were starving in extreme poverty and with no access to education, and there was even a concentration camp in Tarrafal where the antifascists where tortured and killed.
A dictatorial regime that delayed Portugal’s development, installing deep social conditionings and conservative behavioural patterns that still endure until our days. Most of our grandparents and older family members have mixed feelings about it, due to their exposure to these nationalist, highly racist, extreme-right wing governmental policies during their early adulthood and childhood. On one side, they remember the suffering and roughness of life back in those days; on the other hand, they lack to understand and cherish a Society that embraces ethnic and racial richness, granddaughters who are free to choose whether they want to get married and have kids or not, or generally a more dogma-free young generation who values traveling, learning and sharing more than acquiring possessions, going to the Church on Sundays or being governed by the rules of the Patriarchy.
Was not until the 25th of April of 1974 that the Government was peacefully turned down by the Militar Forces and the Portuguese people, creating an inspiring movement where flowers (carnations) were inserted in the tip of the guns carried by the soldiers. Here is some real footage of this day by the eyes of Jorge da Silva Horta, who grew up in the context of the fascist regimen and was there in person when the Revolution happened. Still today, these almost 50 years of authoritarian repression can still be felt across generations and to a certain extent, it still affects our lives.
This week, another important April conquest has been announced. Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa publicly declares the official end of the current State of Emergency that took over for 173 days in a row, as part of the pandemic control in the country. In simpler words, numbers are now so low that commerce will finally be allowed to operate without restricted opening times, we are now totally free to travel wherever in the country and there are no more 1pm curfews on weekends. The few conditions announced yesterday include the reopening of group sports in gyms, and the return of weddings and big events with 50% of the venue’s capacity. This means, it is expected that the events industry starts kicking off again slowly.
Talking about the events industry, also this week Resident Advisor posted a particularly exciting article. Remember the big and highly discussed 5 thousand event that took place in Barcelona on the 27th of March this year? Well, it turns out only 6 people (!) out of the thousands that participated actually tested positive for Covid-19 afterwards. A month after this experiment, it is well fair to state that events are not as prone to be infection focuses and disease-spreaders as much as everyone thought. This represents spectacular news to the music and events industry, which has been completely muffled out for more than a year now, with very few exceptions.
April 2021 seems to be, once again, the start of a path towards freedom in Portugal. We are starting to prepare the first ELA of this year – hopefully, the first of many to come -, which will be an Ode to freedom, union, Nature, and at the same time a wake-up call for the challenges of the present times we are all facing as a Society.
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Author: Sara de Barros Batista
Tradução: Vicente Booth