Quinta-feira, 29 de Julho de 2010

Yosemite (1958)







Para Retrovisor, um Álbum de Família podia ter escolhido esta fotografia do nosso automóvel nos Estados Unidos. Tem falta de definição e contraste mas gosto do enquadramento, a revelar toda a dimensão da sequóia. Creio ter sido a primeira vez que visitámos o parque de Yosemite, na companhia de Manuela e Júlio Fernandes Pereira e do seu filho Manuel Tomás.


Manuela Fernandes Pereira era amiga de ambos os meus pais desde a adolescência. Figura no meu livro, não identificada, numa fotografia de grupo dos anos 30, na Casa de Freitas. O seu filho Manuel Tomás, que seguiria a carreira diplomática, também está no livro, no capítulo do Brasil.


Se é a primeira vez que visita este blog veja também o post "Kodak Brownie" aqui.


aqui tinha mostrado uma fotografia tirada em Yosemite, em 1961, durante um passeio com Joaquim Monteiro Grillo.


Mais sobre Yosemite aqui e




publicado por VF às 19:09
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Domingo, 25 de Julho de 2010








A minha primeira ida ao cinema? A primeira recordação, pelo menos, de estar sentada numa fila de cadeiras, numa sala de espectáculos, onde de repente as luzes se apagam.



Foi em São Francisco, com outras crianças, os nossos amigos espanhóis, e talvez as iranianas (todos numa fotografia aqui). Fomos acompanhados pela nossa empregada portuguesa, Zulmira (aqui), e não sei se algum outro adulto. 


Um dos miúdos espanhóis virou-se para a Zulmira, que não falava inglês, e disse-lhe assim: "não te preocupes que eu explico-te tudo". Ela nunca mais se esqueceu.


Eu nunca mais me esqueci do cavalo, grande herói do filme, e ainda hoje gosto de filmes de índios e cowboys. Quem não gosta?







São Francisco, 1957



publicado por VF às 11:36
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Sábado, 24 de Julho de 2010

Little Golden Books



Golden Books

1951: Doctor Dan, The Bandage Man is released with Johnson & Johnson® Band-Aids glued to the right side of the title page. This marked one of the first ventures into book and product joint packaging. First printing is 1.75 million--the largest first printing of any Little Golden Book to date.


1952: Little Golden Books' 10th anniversary. To this date, almost 183 million Little Golden Books have been sold, with The Night Before Christmas alone selling over 4 million copies.


1953: To date, almost 300 million Little Golden Books have been sold!


1954: Little Golden Books are now available throughout most of the world, except the Soviet Union, where at the time they were considered too capitalistic.


May 1, 1954: Release of Little Lulu and Her Magic Tricks, with a 2.25 million first printing. The book has a small package of Kleenex® tissues attached to its front cover and directions for how to make toys from the tissues. An extensive advertising and promotional campaign for this title leads to the book's appearance on the "Arthur Godfrey Show" the month it is released.


Mid-1950s: Top-selling Little Golden Books center around children's TV shows and westerns (The Roy Rogers Show, Howdy Doody, The Lone Ranger, Captain Kangaroo, etc.).


Early 1960s: A large number of new Little Golden Books focus on popular Saturday morning TV shows such as Huckleberry Hound, The Bullwinkle Show, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, and Bozo the Clown.



publicado por VF às 02:29
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Quarta-feira, 21 de Julho de 2010

The past is a foreign country







Os anos que vivemos na California, de 1956 a 1961, deixaram recordações muito felizes a toda a minha família. O meu irmão nasceu lá. Os anos 50 e o princípio dos 60 na América -  ainda hoje tão revisitados no imaginário colectivo - foram anos de optimismo e transição. Ainda assistimos em São Francisco à eleição de John F. Kennedy, mas já não ao que veio depois.


A língua inglesa não é a minha língua materna, mas é a língua em que aprendi a ler e escrever. Os anos que passámos nos Estados Unidos - a minha segunda infância, e no caso da minha irmã Cristina o princípio da adolescência - foram determinantes para as duas, a muitos níveis, e seriam também muito idealizados por ambas, talvez pelo contraste com o que veio depois. As diferenças entre a California do final dos anos 50 e o Portugal do princípio dos anos 60 não explicam tudo, mas ajudam a perceber o fenómeno.  



The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.









San Francisco c. 1956




publicado por VF às 11:20
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Domingo, 18 de Julho de 2010

Kinshasa: récits de la ville invisible






© Marie-Françoise Plissart




Descubra o livro Kinshasa, récits de la ville invisible de Filip De Boeck, Marie-Françoise Plissart e Jean-Pierre Jacquemin, clicando no título.


2 artigos recentes:


"Cinq décennies de descente aux enfers" aqui


"Au Congo, anniversaire au coeur des ténèbres" aqui

publicado por VF às 11:37
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Quarta-feira, 14 de Julho de 2010

the politics of "Babar"






Every children’s story that works at all begins with a simple opposition of good and evil, of straightforward innocence and envious corruption. While the good hero or heroine has to be particularized, with flaws and idiosyncrasies, the evil force is, oddly, the more powerful the less distinct it is; because villainy is itself so interesting, there’s no great need to particularize the villain. In few works of children’s literature is the creation of dull and faceless evil as effective as it is in the Babar saga. “Page 2 of ‘Babar’ ” is a code word among certain parents for the entire issue of what it is right to expose our children to. (It’s actually the sixth numbered page in the book, and the fourth page in the story, but it seems to register as page 2, being the second element after the introduction of the elephant nursery idyll.) It is there that Babar’s mother, with her little elephant on her back, is murdered, with casual brutality, by a squat white hunter. The pro-page-twoers think that without the incident the story is robbed of motive and pathos; the anti-page-twoers think that it’s just too hard, too early, and too brutal, so they turn the story into one of a little elephant who merely wanders into Paris—not such a bad premise.






Far more than an allegory of colonialism, the “Babar” books are a fable of the difficulties of a bourgeois life. “Truly it is not easy to bring up a family,” Babar sighs at one point, and it is true. The city lives on the edge of a desert, and animals wander in and out at will, and then wander out again to make cities of their own. The civilizing principle is energetic but essentially comical, solid-looking on the outside but fragile in its foundations, reducible to rubble by rhinoceroses. Even the elephants, for all their learning and sailor suits, can be turned into slaves through a bad twist of fate. The unruliness of natural life is countered by the beautiful symmetries of classical style and the absurd orderliness of domestic life—but we are kidding ourselves if we imagine that we are ever really safe. Death is a rifle shot and a poisoned mushroom away. The only security, the de Brunhoff books propose, lies in our commitment to those graceful winged elephants that, in Babar’s dream, at the end of “Babar the King,” chase away misfortune. Love and Happiness, who are at the heart of the American vision, are, in Babar’s dream, mere tiny camp followers. The larger winged elephants, which are at the forefront of this French vision of civilized life, are instead Intelligence, Patience, Learning, and Courage. “Let’s work hard and cheerfully and we’ll continue to be happy,” the Old Lady tells the elephants, and, though we know that the hunter is still in the woods, it is hard to know what more to add.




Adam Gopnik

in “Freeing The Elephants”

© The New Yorker, September 22, 2008 aqui




publicado por VF às 12:51
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Segunda-feira, 12 de Julho de 2010








Avenue Prince Baudouin,

artère principale de la cité indigène de Léopoldville (1947)

foto A. da Cruz / Congopresse

© Royal Museum for Central Africa, Bruxelas




Kinshasa, 1974


You can’t go to Leopoldville now, or to Stanleyville, Coquilhatville, or Elisabethville. The names of all those conquerors (and their ladies) have been erased from our map. For that matter you can't even go to the Congo; it's Zaire. We repeat these words as if we're trying to memorize a false identity: I live in Kinshasa, Zaire. The places we've always used to position ourselves are suddenly unfamiliar - cities, villages, even rivers. Elisabet worries genuinely, in spite of our reassurances, that she and Anatole might have been assigned new first names, since theirs are European and 'colonialist.' It wouldn't surprise me, actually. Mobutu's edicts are that far reaching. The old couple next door seem to share her dread: they always forget and say 'Leopoldville,' then cover their mouths with their hands as if they've let slip a treason.

In the evenings we quiz each other, searching out more and more obscure places on the map to trip each other up: Charlesville? Banningville? Djokupunda! Bandundu! The boys get them right more often than I do, mainly because they like to show off. Anatole never misses one, because his mind is that quick, and also I think the indigenous names mean more to him. They're foreign to me, of course. After the boys are asleep I sit at the table in the flickering kerosene light, working my way slowly over the new map, feeling as if Father had found me out here to give me The Verse. We're retraining our tongues to Mobutu's great campaign of authenticité.


But what is authentic about it, I keep asking Anatole. Kinshasa's main street is Boulevard the 30th of June, in memory of that great Independence Day carefully purchased by thousands of pebbles thrown into bowls and carried upriver. How authentic is that? What really became of that vote is another matter, not memorialized in any public place I can see. There is no Boulevard 17 Janvier Mort de Lumumba.



Barbara Kingsolver

in The Poisonwood Bible (Book V Exodus – Leah Price Ngemba) pp. 503-504

© Barbara Kingsolver, 1998



Mais sobre a "campanha de autenticidade" de Mobutu aqui

publicado por VF às 11:15
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Quinta-feira, 8 de Julho de 2010

The Great Forgetting



Brussels is not unique. In Berlin, there are no museums or monuments to the slaughtered Hereros, and in Paris and Lisbon no visible reminders of the rubber terror that slashed in half the populations of parts of French and Portuguese Africa. In the American South, there are hundreds of Civil War battle monuments and preserved plantation manor houses for every exhibit that in any way marks the existence of slavery. And yet the world we live in — its divisions and conflicts, its widening gap between rich and poor, its seemingly inexplicable outbursts of violence — is shaped far less by what we celebrate and mythologize than by the painful events we try to forget. Leopold's Congo is but one of those silences of history.


The Congo offers a striking example of the politics of forgetting. Leopold and the Belgian colonial officials who followed him went to extraordinary lengths to try to erase potentially incriminating evidence from the historical record. One day in August 1908, shortly before the colony was officially turned over to Belgium, the king's young military aide Gustave Stinglhamber walked from the Royal Palace to see a friend in the Congo state offices next door. The midsummer day seemed particularly warm, and the two men went to an open window to talk. Stinglhamber sat down on a radiator, then jumped to his feet: it was burning hot. When the men summoned the janitor for an explanation, he replied, "Sorry, but they're burning the State archives." The furnaces burned for eight days, turning most of the Congo state records to ash and smoke in the sky over Brussels. "I will give them my Congo," Leopold told Stinglhamber, "but they have no right to know what I did there."



Adam Hochschild

in King Leopold’s Ghost p. 294

A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa

© Adam Hochschild, 1998





em português aqui



publicado por VF às 11:10
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Segunda-feira, 5 de Julho de 2010

política colonial



Au Congo Belge

foto E. Lebied / Congopresse

© Royal Museum for Central Africa, Bruxelas



Há dois anos que venho estudando – com um crescente interesse – os problemas africanos, e em especial os do Congo Belga e de Angola, porque não perdoaria a mim próprio tratá-los perante o Ministério com a leviandade com que outros, anteriormente, o têm feito. Estão-se passando em África coisas muito graves que, num futuro mais ou menos distante, poderão vir a afectar seriamente a nossa posição se não nos prevenirmos desde já contra os seus eventuais efeitos, revendo em diversos sectores a nossa política colonial, não como quase sempre se tem feito mas pela criação de um novo estado de coisas. (Tudo isto naturalmente, dito assim, cheira um pouco a profecias tipo Dr. Rakar. Espero porém que os relatórios que estou terminando deixem impressão diferente).



Vasco Futscher Pereira

Excerto de carta ao colega e amigo Amândio Pinto, 1954

in Retrovisor, um Álbum de Família

© RCP edições, 2009


publicado por VF às 13:02
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Sábado, 3 de Julho de 2010

colonialisme (2)









Au moment ou éclate la Seconde Guerre mondiale, le colonialisme est à son apogée. Pourtant le déroulement de cette guerre, son impact symbolique sur la réalité amorcent la déroute et la fin du système colonial.


Comment et pourquoi cela s'est-il passé ainsi ? Une brève incursion dans les méandres obscurs d'une pensée raisonnant en catégories raciales explique bien de choses. En effet, le thème central, l'essence, la racine des relations entre les Européens et les Africains, la forme principale que ces rapports prennent à l'époque coloniale, c'est la différence de race, de couleur de peau. Toute relation, tout échange, tout conflit peut être traduit en termes « Blanc-Noir », le Blanc étant, bien sur, supérieur au Noir, meilleur, plus fort que lui. Le Blanc est un monsieur, un maître, un sahib, un bwana kubwa, un seigneur incontesté et un souverain […]


Or voilà que soudain les Africains, qui ont été enrôlés dans les armées britannique et française, voient que dans cette guerre à laquelle ils participent en Europe, le Blanc frappe le Blanc, que les Blancs se tirent dessus et se détruisent leurs villes mutuellement. C'est la révélation, la stupéfaction, le choc. Les soldats africains dans l'armée française voient que leur puissance coloniale, la France, est vaincue et battue. Les soldats africains dans l'armée britannique voient que la capitale de l'empire, Londres, est bombardée, ils voient que les Blancs sont pris de panique, que les Blancs fuient, supplient, pleurent. Ils  voient des Blancs déguenillés, affamés, mendiant du pain. Et au fur et à mesure qu'ils progressent vers l'est de l'Europe et qu'ils combattent, aux côtés de Blancs anglais, des Blancs allemands, ils tombent çà et là sur des colonnes de Blancs vêtus d'uniformes rayés, des hommes-squelettes, des hommes-lambeaux.


Le choc que subit l'Africain lorsque les images de la guerre des Blancs lui défilent sous les yeux est d'autant plus fort que les habitants de l'Afrique — à de rares exceptions près, et dans le cas du Congo belge sans exception aucune — n'étaient pas autorisés à aller en Europe ni même à sortir du continent. L'Africain ne pouvait juger de la vie des Blancs que d'après les conditions luxueuses dont ces derniers jouissaient dans les colonies.


Dernier point: au milieu du XXe siècle, I'habitant de I'Afrique n'est informé que par ce que lui raconte son voisin, le chef de son village ou l'administrateur colonial. Par conséquent, il ne connait du monde que ce qu'il voit dans son environnement proche ou entend lors de conversations le soir au coin du feu.


Nous allons bientôt retrouver tous ces combattants africains de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, de retour au pays, dans les rangs de divers mouvements et partis luttant pour l'indépendance. Ces organisations poussent comme des champignons après la pluie. Elles ont diverses orientations, poursuivent des objectifs différents.



Ryszard Kapuscinski

in Ébène Aventures africaines pp. 32-33

traduit du polonais par Véronique Patte

© Ryszard Kapuscinski,1998/Librairie Plon 2000



Imagem de soldado africano na Segunda Guerra Mundial:  aqui




publicado por VF às 10:49
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