The use of Reason and reasonable argumentation, the reclaiming of the idea of Progress and the struggle against dogma. In this post-modern world, reinventing Enlightenment is of the utmost importance.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Soft Dictatorship

Recently I had the rare pleasure of spending some time with my father, something that does not happen often since we live some 2000 km from each other.

Dad, a sometimes-reserved man is not a person who talks often about the past. However, this time, after some probing and a few glasses of wine, he gave me some of the stories of his youth, about his time in England and in Mozambique but mainly about something we, the Portuguese younger generations tend to forget: The Portuguese Dictatorship that run between 1932 and 25th April 1974.

His stories were no doubt romanticized and one sided but they were exciting and gave me a vivid picture of what it was like to live in those days before the Revolution.

Life was characterised by the following:
- Censorship: People were not allowed to say what they thought.
- Secret Police: Infiltrated agents; snitches; Phone line eavesdropping, etc.
- Arrests without charge
- Torture

Now all this would be of little significance for this site if it wasn’t for the fact that the biggest so called democracy in the world has recently been found guilty of all the above faults.

We all have heard of how dozens of people have been arrested in the US under the infamous patriot act without any charges being pressed or being allowed to contact anyone.

The torture both in abu ghraib prison and Guantanamo bay has been well documented.

And OK there is abundant freedom of speech in the US, but turn on any News channel on US TV and you will soon see how one sided and pro-governmental it will sound.

Finally, today to my utter dismay I find this article in the Financial times Cheney strongly defends US eavesdropping. Where the US Vice president strongly backs the continuation of the eavesdropping on domestic phone lines without a warrant.

I have plenty of American friends so I beg them: Please don’t let your freedoms go without a fight. If you fail to remember History, then History will repeat itself. Beware!


Blogger SimpleGuy said...

I think some of your information may be taken out of context. The patriot act is actually a very essential part of America's security. Please see things from this perspective as well.

5:28 AM

Blogger Goncaluskas said...

Dear Simpleguy,
Good borders control; enhanced security check at airports; cooperation with international information agencies and avoiding invading Arab countries are (or should be) an essential part of America's security. Holding people without charge for 2 years and sending them abroad to be tortured isn't.
However, I do agree that the contexts are different. Nonetheless my comments are not radical since a large percentage of the American people would like to see the patriot act toned down or even removed altogether.

5:43 AM

Blogger daviduskas said...

I for one think that the Patriot Act is yet another tool for a totalitarian approach on society. Lock people up and throw away the key that’s what I see in the Patriot Act. As to what Americans think about it, I believe that America is extremely polarized in this issue. And there is a vast number of Americans that demonstrate an acute awareness of the implications behind the Patriot Act. For further on this check our link “Think Progress-US Politics”

PS- Nice to have u back bro, maybe now we can persuade Arrebenta to join us, I’m sure he can also write brilliantly in English.

6:09 AM


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