How do you do? I am better than you. Reflections about Manchester.



The other day I had a small chat with an acquaintance of mine about politically correct. About why we react stronger when bombs explode in Manchester and why our sympathy is smaller when even a bigger amount of victims and lives are claimed in Baghdad or Aleppo.

I think she was a bit angry when I told her that having been on a place, or exactly at the same place, where lives were claimed has a strong and undeniable effect on us. Thus, our deeper claims and laments when Paris, Berlim, London or Manchester are attacked.

The world is not perfect, we are not perfect. European civilization and the UK have been trying to embrace the many sensibilities living under their “one” sky. War is being waged, a coward, particular war we can’t possibly fight back with bombs. I told my friend, that when out time is up she won’t be thinking of Kandahar. It’s just the way we are built.

Our hearts and minds are not big enough to understand everything, to mourn every life. We just feel mostly cheated because many people here have died for liberty and tolerance throughout the centuries  and it only takes a few fanatics to unbalance  true progress. I really don’t know what the hell fanatic Islamists have against Europe.

Is it history? Your religion was here then and now, tolerated and embraced, respected by the dominant culture. Is it our way of life? Your people love it. They love our “decadence”, our Western music, our gadgets.

As far as I am concerned, I am into their culture, poetry, the beauty of their woman, the charm. It can’t be us against them, it can’t be. The world of today and of the antique times have had room for everyone. From scientologists to La Vey Satanists, death is not an issue that unfolds from a scroll. True we had people persecuted by their religion before: the Jesuits also made terror attacks; jews were executed by the thousand by the Nazis; just last century in Spain they executed people who didn’t want to embrace Catholicism.

All of it is always a product of a few madmen, instead of the whole Humanity. Product of men instead of Men. Truly, they have exploited people’s credulity to a murderous extent, but History repeats itself and the evil characters are but an angry bunch. You visit Tel-Aviv and sworn enemies live next door to each other and they both take their kids to school. You go to Beirut and you see Lamborghini and mini-dresses, not burkas.

This is the age of disinformation and of feeling better than one another. Vegans are and feel better than carnivores. Jesus’ loving children are taught to feel better than “the armed” Muslim children. And we feel like that. We truly do. That “superiority” comes above all pain and sympathy we allow ourselves to feel and that’s why we discuss so much over tragedies which are everyone’s to claim, especially the dead and the departed and their families.

Because Lisbon is now a top city, because we had a caliphate here in the Muslim occupation times in 7BC, our time might come.  I dread this thought. I dread being the one asked if all is alright. I even moved out of Lisbon, almost two years ago. I go to Lisbon on a daily basis to work. I am a moving target as I am always in airports, concerts, festivals.

So to speak, we can’t feel all the pain in the world. We can’t condemn every lunatic. Europe is tolerant enough, even a bit too much, sometimes , when they don’t search suspects’ homes after an attack like in Brussels airport or when they don’t jail imans who make genuine threats in the UK mosques built for tolerance and not for seditious planning. Terrorists know this, they know our laws and they know if we abdicate of our tolerance and fight them in the open, they will enjoy the small victory of making the world a place like their own Taliban rule: ruthless, lifeless, inhuman.

I might be sad for the world but my sadness won’t alter anything. Nor will my words, or actions. I might be sadder for Manchester,yeah, because I have been there, drank with locals, played there. You might point me out and say I should be sad for whole the cities, people, drone victims. And maybe I am but I know my heart and mind are not big enough to understand everything and feel everyone’s ruin and misery.

Actually I am bringing up a child in a world which is now a broken toy for Men and Gods. My attention will always be here because we do have to tend for each other, to learn how to do the triage of what happens before us, to live with our broken hopes, pretending everything is the same and that our lifestyle and cities will always prevail. That’s a great attitude yes indeed but who amongst us doesn’t look above the shoulder now in airports, concerts, bus stops, shops? This terror is unstoppable because it’s coward and random. And to descent at its level an impossible task for us, our politicians, priests, imans, teachers, writers, columnists. All is smoke and you can’t grab at smoke. Hope is dead and we will butthead each other because of Manchester versus Aleppo. And that’s exactly the victory of hate: us against them. Them against us.

All gods have failed us. Only life is real.

Painting by #Daniela Krtsch

How do you do? I am better than you. Reflections about Manchester.

2 thoughts on “How do you do? I am better than you. Reflections about Manchester.

  1. Dear Fernando, once again you dot all the i’s and call things for what they are.
    By now, we can add more attacks to the list. It’s impossible to keep up with them and clutch our hearts every time it happens. I complain at public events when security guards insist on looking inside my backpack and I have to fight to keep my glass lunch box, and then feel grateful that they are being so thorough and putting themselves on the line so we don’t have to stop enjoying life for a few crazy people.
    I always wondered how parents look at the situation as a whole, and how can one explain to them that these things can happen anywhere, any time, to anyone? …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s