3394 – Blaming the Muslim

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Feb 032016
 

Here are some multi-layered tiles from a wall. I have no idea whether the image of the man has been there in the beginning or not. The area is called Mouraria, the Moorish Quarter, and maybe this should be a hint. In any case paint has been added and tags have been written.

Portugal has a long tradition with a Muslim minority, originating from the times of the re-conquest, more than 850 years ago. Furthermore Portugal has a long colonial history of about 500 years, and there are still ties to the former colonies. That absolutely shows. Lots of colored people from Africa, lots of people likely from Morocco or elsewhere in the Maghreb.

With Portugal being a member of the EU, the treatment of refugees and migrants is, well, conformant to the mainstream: they are not welcome and, like other countries, Portugal seems to deny them the opportunity to work and to legally earn their money. As a result you see them selling drugs, umbrellas, selfie sticks and whatever a tourist may need.

Did that make me nervous? Well, no. It’s just people trying to make a living. They are polite, they don’t stalk or molest. One time in Praça do Comércio a guy asked if I want to buy a selfie stick. I showed him my camera, smiled and said, it won’t work with that. He smiled back and asked “Hashish”?

Being openly offered drugs once every few minutes (at least in the hotspots of Baixa) feels strange, but it is no problem at all. You just smilingly say “No, thanks”, and they won’t bother you.

If you think of it, this is much less a matter of our security, it is a matter of theirs. They have no way to live and be not in conflict with the law. Thus they are easy prey whenever a police officer feels like it or a politician want to show the iron fist. They are kept in a state of lawlessness that can always be exploited. Can you imagine living like that?

3357 – A Fabulous Invitation

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Dec 282015
 

One of the treasures of São Vicente is the collection of azulejos depicting scenes from the fables of Jean de La Fontaine.


I’ve never read the fables. I am not French, thus I’ve never read them in school, and I am not upper-class born, not among those, whose families regarded a French education necessary for a young man. Well, I have not even had Latin in school, because I chose a technical education with fourteen, thus I don’t know Aesop’s fables either. In other words: I didn’t have any reference and the images didn’t speak to me as they certainly were intended to do at the time when the azulejos were made.

My selection is small and random. I chose six of the maybe 15 images that I took, mostly because, apart from the first two, they were not marred by reflections. Otherwise they are in the order taken.

As far as I remember, the whole collection consists of about 40 azulejos.