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Prince of the Park - Awna Texeira

Fifty years ago on April 25th, 1974, in Portugal, land of Awna Texeira's forefathers and mothers, a successful revolution overthrew the fascist government. Awna is now in Portugal recuperating from their continental op and so she would have been part of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations remembering that day. (See last post and ).

In "Prince of the Park" Awna celebrates a cat, everybody and nobody's cat; for, to paraphrase Kipling, the cat waves his wild tail and walks alone. It's a happy gem of a song, beautifully sung by Awna, light as a whisker, soft as a paw in the grass, with purring trumpet by Shane Jonas.

"Run around and away you fly,

turnin’ leaves up to the sky,

you’ve been dancing your whole life.


Down in the jungle of sticks and stones,

you rule the lions and you share the throne,

face the mountains all on your own.


When the night comes already

when the storm thunders on

will you shine on

little prince of the park?

I call your name

you come home again

through the door....."

When my partner and I visited Lisbon, also in April twelve years later in 1986, we were guests of my friend Jeremy who was living and working there at the time. He could speak Portuguese and introduced us to many Lisboetas (people who come from Lisbon), all of whom were, without exception extremely proud to have been part of a successful revolution that largely avoided bloodshed.

One said to me "only four people were killed - and that was a mistake." Another, amusingly, self-depreciating and tongue-in-cheek: "we Portuguese can't even do revolution properly. Just like our bullfights, where the bull is not aloud to be killed."

The signal for the revolution was the playing of two songs on separate nationwide radio stations several hours apart; the stand-by early alert was that year's Portugal Eurovision Song Contest entry, while the final call to action was a song by banned folk singer Zeca Afonso. Ironically, up until that year, the most internationally famous Portuguese song ever was "April in Portugal".

While there, we spent a day walking along the beach on the Atlantic coast west of Sintra. I particularly remember the beach-side villas, hastily thrown up in the aftermath of the revolution on wooded, randomly appropriated shoreline in an Atlantic goldrush spirit of equality and freedom.

On that day of revolution in 1974, a soldier asked a florist in a Lisbon market for a light. She said no, and instead put a red carnation down the barrel of his upturned rifle. This gesture spread like dandelion seed in the breeze, and soon every gun sported one of the red flowers, so that the revolution swiftly became known as "the Carnation Revolution".

Last week, in a Parliamentary speech celebrating the anniversary, Rui Tavares, Deputy of the Portuguese Assembly of the Republic, said:

"Political scientists, very conservative ones, say April 25 started the third wave of democratization in the world, that went through the south of Europe, to Latin America, to South East Asia, to Eastern Europe, until very recently starting, from 2016, the counter-revolution to such wave. And the reason why April 25 went around the world is because April 25 was beautiful, the most beautiful revolution of the 20th century. And it's ours." (Translation thanks to Global Voices.)


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