Em 1970, o recém-nomeado Ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros português, Rui Patrício, encontra-se de visita aos Estados Unidos da América. Preparando-se para falar em público e responder a perguntas da audiência na universidade do Connecticut, é por três vezes censurado e impedido de falar por alguns alunos de certas organizações políticas de esquerda, como por exemplo a S.D.S. De tudo isto nos dá conta o autor do artigo que se transcreve, publicado no jornal americano The News and Courier.
Aproveita o jornalista para informar os seus leitores sobre o género de sociedade que se podia encontrar no Portugal ultramarino e sobre as peculiaridades do multi-tribalismo angolano. Mas, sobretudo, dá conta das atrocidades cometidas pelos terroristas - melhor será dizer selvagens - liderados por Holden Roberto. Aludindo a um livro escrito por Bernardo Teixeira (pode adquirir-se na Amazon, mas apenas em inglês ao que parece), o jornalista refere uma entrevista a Roberto, concedida ao jornal francês Le Monde, onde aquele admitiria as barbaridades descritas no dito livro. Ora, acontece que Roberto admitiu-as mesmo e o artigo existe, porque eu dei com ele e publicá-lo-ei brevemente.
Entretanto, nunca eu vi semelhante peça em nenhum jornal português da democracia, nem nada que tão pouco se lhe aproxime, pois aposto que nunca foi escrito sequer. A pergunta que se impõe é: porquê? Porque é que é preciso viajar no tempo e no espaço até à Carolina do Sul para encontrar esta perspectiva sobre um assunto português?
Porque é que não podemos ouvir os dois lados da história?
Despite the hardening of the country against them (even that bible of the New York avant-garde, Norman Podhoretz’s Commentary, has “pseudo-radicals” of the campus “counter-culture”), the play terrorists of the colleges are still at it.
They forced Al Capp to cancel an appearance at the University of Hartford by a mere intimation that he be met with more than questions. Al Capp was called chicken for not risking his bulky form on the podium, but a short time later, in that same region, the play terrorists at the University of Connecticut in Storrs set up a thunderous hand-clapping count that prevented Dr. Rui Patrício, the foreign minister of Portugal, from being heard. He quit in frustration after three attempts to open his mouth.
Gagging a man by noise is not, of course, the same as shooting him. Our college play terrorists still grant a man his right to life. But free speech? Forget it. The brave play terrorists have blotted out that particular guarantee of the Bill of Rights. Now why doesn’t the American Civil Liberties Union start suit against the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), the Black Students Alliance, and the African Students of U. of Conn. for infringing Dr. Patrício’s rights under the First Amendment?
Anyone would be a fool to say that life in the Portuguese African territories is all cream and roses. Portugal itself has been a dictatorship, and Portuguese Angola and Mozambique, as parts of Portugal itself, do not have American-style democracy.
But the Portuguese in Africa have maintained the same sort of inter-racial society that they started in Brazil. You can be black, white, yellow or green in Angola or Mozambique and if you are able and intelligent, you can progress much more than can a Hindu of comparable ability in Kenya, a Bantu in Rhodesia, a Cape Colored in South Africa, an Israeli in Egypt, a Biafran in Nigeria, or a white man in the Congo. In Angola and Mozambique they at least try to practice the brotherhood of man, which is more than you can say for nine-tenths of the nations in the rest of Africa.
The play terrorists at the University of Connecticut might have learned something about real terror if they had allowed Dr. Patrício to get through a question-and-answer period. Like other tropical African countries, Angola is multi-tribal. There are the Bakongo in northern Angola, the Kimbundu, the Ovinbundu, the Lunda, and the Ganguela in regions farther south. When Holden Roberto, a Bakongo who had been radicalized by [N]Kruhmah in Ghana and by Lumumba in the Congo, tried to raise a revolution in Angola in the early 1960s, the tribes to the south failed to respond. And among the Bakongo only 25,000 out of 500,000 gave heed to Roberto’s call to arms when he marched across the border from the Congo with machetes.
The Portuguese at the time had only 2,000 soldiers and 6,000 police in the whole of Angola, which is bigger than France or Germany. If there had been any will to revolution among the central and southern tribes, the Portuguese wouldn’t have had a chance. But the atrocities committed by Holden Roberto’s rabble were so frightening that the “revolution” killed itself before it could persuade a single colored policeman that “liberation” was at hand.
It is not that Holden Roberto tried to keep his rabble from cutting people in two with rotary saws and from stuffing farmers in little pieces into salt boxes that were usually reserved for pork. Bernardo Teixeira tells all about it in a blood-drenched book called “The Fabric of Terror.” You might not believe Teixeira, but Holden Roberto himself boasted to a correspondent from the Paris newspaper, Le Monde, about the atrocities. When Le Monde’s reporter asked for details one of Roberto’s men said “we sawed them lengthwise.”
Why recount this now? Because as this column is being written, Portugal is in trouble because of an alleged invasion of Guinea, which has encouraged rebels in trying to undermine the government of neighbouring Portuguese Guinea. Since charges and counter-charges are flying, both sides of the Portuguese African story should be heard. Students at U. Conn. listened to a member of the Mozambique Liberation Front a week before some of them shouted down the Portuguese foreign minister. When it came to hearing both sides of the argument the students turned play terrorists. Brave boys - or should we say brave bully boys?