Also that thing I wanted to share.
A couple of weeks ago, there was this ceremony in an institution in Lisbo about the Holocaust. Some highly educated doctorates from the best Universities were invited and it seems they also invited the Israeli Ambassador in Portugal. During his talk he said the following:
"Portugal was the only country which flag was flown half-mast for 3 days after Hitler's death was known. It's a stain that for us, Jewish, will always be associated with Portugal."
I was so pissed. How dare this guy say this?? We were under a dictatorship
, there was this guy making all the calls. And even though he was sort of "friends" with both Hitler and Mussolini, we never fought the war with them. And my country helped
the Jews in many ways during WWII. (This guy was awesome http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristides_de_Sousa_Mendes
.) Even if he had help them, how can he look ME or anyone my age in the face and say such a thing about a dictator we never even met but have only heard and read about.
How can he, almost 70 years after it happened throw this in our faces?
A history doctorate from the University of Coimbra answered him though: "I refuse carrying the weigh of that stain." And that is exactly the way I feel. I refuse carrying that weight.
Am I being unfair here? It really made me angry.
I can't really say I know too much about Portigal's involvement, That was arguably the darkest period in modern history. Strong feelings will never be far away.
People often talk about the aftermath of World War I being nasty with the German reparations and whatnot. One major misconception that people have is just how messed up everyone was after World War II. So it's to be expected that there will be a bit of handbags in there.
The flag being at half-mast on his death was not great, but as you say, how is it the fault of the country's third generation in passing if a dictator is in charge?
I think you are right.
Just look at Germany for instance. It was obviously a messed up country in the early 1900s, but now they are one of the leading lights in the world. History should never have a bearing on a country's image, if measures have been taken to change matters.
But one thing I will say is that history of this kind can be misinterpreted very easily, and it's obviously very vivid and not at all pleasant. People will have strong opinions, that you don't want to get in the way of.