|TERESA DA SILVA|
This week has been a memorable one for the Portuguese and their sportsmen. An overwhelming sense of pride in our national anthem and the colours of our flag have set the tone for the summer which welcomes many of those sons and daughters of this country who have been forced to emigrate in search of a better life.
There is a generalised feeling that the trophies do not belong exclusively to the sportsmen and women that fought hard to win but that, somehow, we (and they, the emigrants) have also won a share of the trophy. The victories have shown the world that we are not only a poor country - that there is so much more to Portugal than meets the eye. For the emigrants, those victories may dissipate the embarrassment of not being able to fend for themselves in their own country, they may even help our expats to overcome some of the prejudice faced and give them an extra dose of self-esteem.
Congratulations! To our worthy sportsmen and women.
Congratulations! To all the fans who cheered and encouraged them.
Congratulations! To all those who never stopped believing.
However, now, it is time to face reality: our country is under attack. It is small, it is not rich and, unfortunately, it is far too dependent on others. It is being bargained and bartered over as if we do not even exist. Sure….it lacks a lot of infrastructures and quality services. Corruption has played a significant part in leaving us penniless. We do not seem to be particularly good at accountancy…but still it is no excuse for a couple of players to push us off the bench.
Portugal needs a leader that will take it through its hardship, sailing the difficult times of financial and political insecurity. It needs a captain that will lead it to victory. It needs a captain that will not lose faith until the very end. It will be criticised and its validity will be questioned (they may even want a repetition) but our country and its people must stand proud against all that is coming.
It also needs the fans – the ones who criticise but stand firm in their belief, the ones who cheer the captain and his/her team on, the ones who trust and encourage them on, the ones who will see the game to its very end.
Portugal was once a proud nation. It lost its bearings a bit but sports has shown us how to get back on our feet and stand tall, stand firm and believe – believe till the very end, believe in a victory. If our David was able to defeat the foreign Goliath, so can we!
Portugal needs to be a proud nation again. The children of tomorrow need to know that we played a good game. The children of tomorrow deserve to look back at History like we once did and be proud of their origins.
Let us be a proud country and may the children of tomorrow look back and see us as the pride of the nation.