Sunday, August 24, 2008

Capitães de Abril

I just finished watching Capitaes de Abril (2000) about the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Lisbon. It was a little long and would only be interesting to those who like Portuguese history- or Luso-African history - like me. The film placed the colonial wars in Mozambique and Angola at the center of the revolution; the opening scenes were gory shots of villages destroyed by war. The wars in Africa seem to the Portuguese what Vietnam was to Americans. Young men who didn't necessarily believe in keeping the colonies, went sent off to a far away place with the real possibility of dying. What's remarkable about the events of April 24, 1974, is that they were almost entirely peaceful. Soldiers placed flowers in their guns to prove their intent to keep peace. Of course the success of the army's ousting of the fascist dictatorship meant the colonial wars were soon over. While the Portuguese in Lisbon crowded the streets with joy, thousands and thousands of Portuguese from the colonies were not so overjoyed. Overnight, their way of life was over. Many of them had never even been to Portugal. This event is extremely important to the histories of Mozambique and Angola. For them, it meant independence- although not a peaceful one. Both countries soon fell into civil wars.

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