Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Bow your neck then under the staff"*

Farmers have my utmost respect, they live in absolute dependency of the weather, and theirs is a hard, demanding, never-ending job. The weather is not being kind, we are experiencing historical levels of drought. It has not rained in ages. My barometic forehead tells me we may experience some rain soon but surely not enough. Farmers have BEGGED to be allowed access to exclusive areas so their cattle can eat greenery instead of straw, they have BEGGED for the Calamity Fund to be activated. Our government did not think so. Our government does not think the situation warrants it. Our government is well fed and properly hydrated. Our government does not have to roam the fields gathering the dead bodies of cows, calves, sheep and kids who painfully died of thirst. Our government does not have to watch, hour after hour, as the orchards and crops wither away bcs the dam that waters them is almost empty and they are no longer allowed to water. The farmers are organising processions, begging God for rain. They can be seen walking the streets of their villages, holding candles, praying for rain. As the animal death toll rises, as plants and trees fade away, poverty and severe economic hardship will be the reality and heritage of these people once again. God may be far away but our government is right here. For us. Our government shames me.

So do my Porties often. We are a tiny, spoiled people. We mix an exaggerate amount of humility with a very peculiar brand of smugness. Porties always know best and should you find yourself lost in my country, dozens will come to your rescue, pointing in several conflicting directions at the same time. Or you may never reach your destination bcs you were forced to go invited for dinner and after copious doses of alcohol [oh just try this little wine here, só mais um copinho!] you may not even care where you end up. Because you see, we are very generous - but our attention span is very short. You go on the telly and tell people how you will never have a baby bcs you’re infertile and can’t afford treatment? The phones will be ringing off the hook w people offering you money, baby furniture, clinics will offer to treat you for free. And there’s this, remember this? But bcs we have ADD, do NOT ask us to use the right lane if we’re moving at 60Km/h. Do NOT ask us to stop for pedestrians. Do NOT ask us not to hold Europe’s #1 place in fatal road casualties bcs we’re roadkill and proudly so. Do NOT ask us to turn off our boilers when we leave the house bcs we don’t care abt the whole building exploding. And most definitely do NOT ask us to be careful abt water consumption, do not ask us to turn off the faucet when doing dishes, to turn off the faucet while brushing our teeth, to pay attention to how long we shower, and who ever heard of a sand-filled bottle in the toilet tank? We live by the ocean for fuck’s sake, it stands to reason there’s loads of water to go around! LOADS. So sorry abt the farmers but it doesn’t concern us, does it.

We’re not a plural, we’re not even a sum of individuals yet. We don’t have a discernible collective soul except when it comes to soccer. We’re an I and it’s all abt me.

We walk around as a nation strutting our big dick. Portugal, The Well-Hung. But as w all things phallic, it’s not only how big it is, is it. It’s how one uses it. And quite frankly, as dicks go, ours is nothing to write home about. Can’t blame the Porties for faking it.


*"Drought" by Anjela Duval

Have pity, Lord on the Earth!
O yes: I know you are patient
You had reason to be angry long ago
At prodigal and careless Humanity.
So the hour of Punishment has come.

Bow your neck then under the staff,
Bow your back and beat on your chest
\O proud Man with your science!
Unable to make a drop of rain.
For days and days
Weeks and months,
In which one observes the sky
In hope of a rainfall
On the dying earth.

Of your anger, Lord, Man was deserving,
But the animals and the plants?
They too are your creatures,
And they are innocent,
They have been obedient to you,
Why must they suffer?
Now the cricket is silent,
Now the bird is cut down,
The bare plain is muted.
The heifer bellows in the meadow
As dry as a desert
One's look is pained
When his eye falls on his dog,
Will there be enough bread in the house
To keep his companion alive?
Lord we want to sing again
The Credo of the Peasant:
I believe in you, Master of Nature,
Who sows everywhere Life and Fertility...
But then quit your anger,
And command the Heavens
To moisten the Earth.

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