Brazil loves its Portuguese heritage – 01/10/2022 – Opinion

There is nothing worse than in the middle of a difficult journey to discover that the chosen path is the wrong one; that the premise was false and the thesis, after all, was not demonstrable. But even though it is difficult, intellectual honesty imposes us to go back.

This will have to be the only possible explanation for the surprising (and wrong) conclusions of the book “Portugal-Brasil: Raízes do Estranhamento”, which Carlos Fino, former journalist and former Portuguese press attaché in Brazil, recently published.

It is true that we can often be tempted to confuse a perception (will) with a reality that simply does not exist, but if this levity can even be excused in a high school student, it is incomprehensible in a doctoral thesis approved at a prestigious Portuguese university and later published in book, in the sight of easy sensationalism in the year of the bicentennial of Independence.

The only understandable strangeness of the immense document is the fact that the author did not “strange” that, in his (scientific) method —observation, experimentation, hypothesis, verification and thesis—, the selected sample was not valid.

When he writes “there wasn’t a Portuguese person I spoke to for this thesis who didn’t say that he felt embarrassed or humiliated in some way by the anecdotes — that persistence of Portuguese as dirty, like a donkey”, the author would have to understand that he was faced with a weak observation or a wrong conviction.

If, instead of persisting in them, he had acted during the validity of the method, perhaps he could have accessed a study, this truly scientific one, carried out by Datafolha in 2018 (with 2,091 interviews carried out in 129 municipalities across the country, with a margin of error of 2%) and which showed exactly the opposite.

It would confirm that the majority of Brazilian citizens have a positive view of Portugal; that 43% of Brazilians would like to move to another country and that, among these, 8% spontaneously point to Portugal as their preferred destination, behind only the United States (14%).

I would know that, for those who declared that they wanted to live in Portugal, the beauty of the country, the quality of life, safety and the way in which they were received were the most outstanding points; would realize that the colonial connection between Brazil and Portugal was practically absent, only mentioned by 4%.

If the text was concerned with the truth and did not pursue a perception, it would have rejected personal experiences —deceptive since the cave myth— and would never have concluded that “Brazilians are ashamed of their Portuguese past” or, even worse, that “the Portuguese despise Brazil”.

I would write, instead, that the Portuguese language, the Catholic religion and its extensive calendar, the June festivals, their corsicans and processions, including Carnival; administrative institutions, the type of construction in towns, cities and towns; and agriculture and gastronomy are part of the Portuguese heritage and are indelibly and daily present in the life of the Brazilian people — and that goes without saying.

I would also write that today, in many Portuguese universities, the communities of Brazilian students are the largest and that the most international Portuguese-speaking university in the world, the University of Coimbra, requires only the Enem as a qualification to enter its courses.

Would you know that, among the approximately 300,000 Brazilians living in Portugal today, there are businessmen and women, technology entrepreneurs, real estate investors and many retirees who, for one reason or another, believe that Portugal is the right place.

I would know that the Portuguese airline, TAP, together with Latam and Azul, guarantee a real air bridge between Lisbon (and Porto) and 14 Brazilian cities.

And journalistic attention would be enough to realize that, in 2018, the connection between the two countries gained new impetus with the new Portuguese “law of nationality”, which would grant, without exception, the status of native Portuguese to all grandchildren of Portuguese people.

But the saddest (and dangerous) note of this episode is the uncritical publicity given to the manuscript. Because the “deeply rooted and unconscious anti-lusitanism” and the “existence of a Lusophobia in Brazil fueled by a negative view of Portugal” only exist even in the misfortune of these pages.

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