Ling's Letters #005: 25 de Abril Sempre!

The 25th of April has a special place in the hearts of all Portuguese.

Ling's Letters #005: 25 de Abril Sempre!
25th of April exhibition at the Aljube Museum of Resistance and Liberty, Lisbon, Portugal.

Portugal, a humble country on the Iberian Peninsula, is a young democracy. Memories of the authoritarian regime and the revolution remain fresh, and stories are passed down through families.

On April 25, 1974, the military overthrew the Estado Novo (New State) government. The Movimento das Forças Armadas (Armed Forces Movement) organised a monumental coup, which sparked Portugal’s transition from an authoritarian regime to its democracy today.

This day is also known as Revolução dos Cravos (The Carnation Revolution). Florists (and families) offered soldiers carnations as a reminder of their fight for freedom. The coup was a miracle - no shots fired, no bloodshed.

This year is its 50th anniversary. Lisbon was packed with people, everyone cheering and standing in solidarity behind the causes that were dearest to them. Diverse groups of people gathered, held banners and placards, paraded in their colourful costumes, and marched down Avenida de Liberdade (Liberty Avenue), all while singing and dancing.

50th Anniversary: 25th of April

Never had I witnessed such an unbelievably joyful celebration of democracy. In most other countries, peaceful protests or marches would have been met with tear gas, rubber bullets, batons, censorship, arbitrary arrests, and forced imprisonment. Violent opposition against its people, calling out injustices.

I am blessed to live in a country where freedom of expression is not only protected, but also celebrated. Diverse voices are not only included, but elevated. Various social missions are not only raised, but held in solidarity. Everyone has a space, and everyone is welcome.

For a small and humble country, Portugal carries in their hearts this beautiful treasure of democracy. I will always remember the chants of the people. 

25th de Abril sempre! Facismo nunca mais!
(25th April always. Fascism never more!)

Obrigada,
Ling Ling


Updates

2024 has been like a high-speed train, with one event or project after another. I love what life has revealed, and I will take some time to reflect before sharing it in my letters. I anticipate life’s speedy cadence will continue for the rest of the year. Thank you for your continued patience and your support. ✨


Food For Thought

Vaclav Havel, a Czech dissident, politician, and writer, wrote about democracy in The Power of the Powerless.

The original and most important sphere of activity, one that predetermines all the others, is simply an attempt to create and support the independent life of society as an articulated expression of living within the truth. In other words, serving truth consistently, purposefully, and articulately, and organizing this service. This is only natural, after all: if living within the truth is an elementary starting point for every attempt made by people to oppose the alienating pressure of the system, if it is the only meaningful basis of any independent act of political import, and if, ultimately, it is also the most intrinsic existential source of the "dissident" attitude, then it is difficult to imagine that even manifest "dissent" could have any other basis than the service of truth, the truthful life, and the attempt to make room for the genuine aims of life. 

Questions For You

  • What does democracy mean to you?
  • How are you engaging with democracy?