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NATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT

TERESA DA SILVA
I am angry! I am furious! But, above all, I am incredibly ashamed! Ashamed and embarrassed to my very core that we live in this world of horror. How is it that we have learnt nothing from History?! I won’t even attempt to write about the horrors of the Orlando shooting – I can’t imagine the suffering. I can only grieve with them.
Never has humanity had so much to give – scientific and medical innovations allow us to life longer and saner lives, technology has taken us to other planets, has made us imagine a time where physical work won’t be necessary, and more, new technologies have connected us all and the flow of information is so great that it can become almost unbearable. Education has become accessible to many. Never has there been so much money flowing. Yet, greed has reached its peak and, as a consequence, poverty, famine, inequality, lack of freedom, ignorance, and discrimination. Perfect turf for jerks to emerge (pardon the language).

Today, however, I am ashamed to be Portuguese, ashamed to live in a country where people are more preoccupied with what they have than with whom they are. Ashamed that we do not have the heart to stop corruption nor the courage to raise our voices against the atrocities happening everywhere. Ashamed that we do not have the good will to divert people from the path that leads to destruction.

I am ashamed to be part of a nation where people stood idly by whilst a couple allegedly had sex in a public park with a child, a young girl, sitting right next to them. Ashamed that the couple had no control over their physiological urges that they weren’t able to restrain themselves from having sex in public (allegedly).
Mind you, I’m no prude, but I feel disgusted. It’s not the first time that I’ve had to “enjoy” such a scene. Secluded beaches are always very romantic. Yet, I am far more embarrassed by what happened in Paredes de Coura. Why? Because it became the front page of the news! Have we, the Portuguese, descended a couple of steps down the evolutionary ladder in the last decade?!
I am ashamed and embarrassed because no one approached the couple to reprimand them and take the child from their presence. I am ashamed and embarrassed because some idiot took the time to film the scene for eleven minutes without bothering to help the child. I am ashamed and embarrassed that it was uploaded onto the World Wide Web without anyone taking legal measure against the couple or towards aiding the child. I am ashamed and embarrassed that our media (including every national TV channels) have reported an alleged sex scene in a public park in the presence of a minor but failed to do any sort of journalistic work around the matter. I am ashamed and embarrassed that the media simply used the amateur film over and over again without any concern for decency or protection of child’s sanity. I am ashamed and embarrassed that the media concentrated on “the mother’s” alleged behaviour neglecting (almost entirely) the presence of the partner. What about the man in the story? It takes two to tango!
The police was later notified and measures have been taken. From what I gather the couple are now liable to legal action if wrongdoing can be proven. OK…all they need now is a good lawyer. Better late than never.
Now, something has been done about the child. Measures have been taken. The young girl was handed over to child protection. I shudder at the idea that she has been “put in the system”. I am ashamed and embarrassed that we are not able to help this child in a more humane manner. She has to suffer twofold: on the one hand, she has allegedly witnessed an indecency and will bear that mark for a long time. On the other hand, she has been taken away from her family. Her family was not her mother, exclusively! What about her siblings? What about her father? What about her grandparents? Can anyone imagine how they all must be feeling right now? I can’t! I am too ashamed and embarrassed!

Another thing I can’t wrap my head around is the person who filmed everything on his/her mobile phone. Is it just me or does it make sense that no one talks about the person who was present and did NOTHING to redeem the situation? Nothing except film, that is. Isn’t that person going to be held responsible for the filming and distribution of pornography (alleged, of course)? Isn’t that person going to be held accountable for doing nothing?


I am ashamed and embarrassed that Portugal is being consumed by this culture of indifference. Nothing should embarrass a nation more than its indifference.

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