And if time had stood still for 3 years? And if all the projects and dreams of a life had to be postponed or eventually put aside? And what do you feel when you have to leave without knowing whether you would ever come back? And what do you feel when you had no other choice?
E quando o tempo se imobiliza durante três anos? E quando se arrumam projetos, na incerteza de os concretizar? E quando se parte, sem se saber do regresso? E quando se pendura a vida no cabide do dever?
A nossa história foi passando por estas perguntas. E tem todas as categorias da narrativa: um protagonista – Paulo Camacho; um tempo – 1969-1971; um espaço – Angola; e a ação – guerra do Ultramar.
Em 40 minutos de conversa, passaram palavras e silêncios, passaram emoções e opiniões, passaram sorrisos e angústias. Falou-se da inevitabilidade da partida,
– Eu sabia que ia ser mobilizado.
Quando partiu, em 1969, já se questionava aquela guerra, a JOC, de uma forma velada, tinha um papel na consciencialização da juventude. Que guerra era aquela? Para quê? Para quem? Que interesses estavam atrás daquele dever?
– Mas então? Era ir ou desertar.
Falou-se das cartas, das notícias “trabalhadas” dos jornais; falou-se do medo e das dicas dos que já conheciam os segredos da guerra; falou-se de gestão de tempo e de emoções; falou-se da noiva que ficara à espera:
– eu não precisava de madrinha de guerra. Tinha quem me escrevesse.
A conversa levou-nos, então, para o campo de batalha, dos laços que uniam todos os homens da companhia, da desconfiança dos nativos, das traições, das “fogueirinhas” que a noite do mato denunciava. Conta do “inimigo “e dos movimentos que era preciso combater.
Trouxe-nos um “troféu de guerra”, com vestígios de morte:
– Nesse dia, matámos….
E a dor do verbo há-de doer-lhe para sempre. A lembrança:
– ou eles ou nós.
Com emoção – nas mãos e na voz – faz desfilar os retratos e lê as notas que a memória guardou.
– Não podíamos ganhar aquela guerra. Estávamos isolados do resto do mundo. Tínhamos armas obsoletas. Eles (os que mandavam) não entenderam os sinais, nem os exemplos dos outros. Era uma guerra com prazo.
Depois, foi recomeçar. Carregando o passado. E as lembranças. E as dores. E as sequelas. E.
“We did our job”
Today’s story was based on all of these questions and it can be presented as a narrative: it has a main character- Paulo Camacho; a period of time – 1969-1971, a place – Angola, and a plot – the war at Overseas Portugal.
We had a 40 minutes’ conversation full of words and silences, emotions, opinions, smiles, tears and pain. He talked about the mobilisation. It was compulsory. There was no choice,
– I knew they were going to call me.
When he left, back in 1969 the war was already being questioned, and the JOC, although unveiled, tried to convince the young men to join the army and defend the motherland. But what kind of war was that, after all? What were these men fighting for? What interests were behind all of this?
– The only possibility was to go. The other was to runaway.
He talked about the correspondence; the “fabricated” news for the local papers; the fear and advice from those who had more experience; he talked about how they spend the time and how they learned to hide emotions; and the longings… and of the bride who was expecting his comeback;
– I did not need to write to a war godmother. I received letters from my bride.
Then, conversation turned into the battle field. He remembered the bonds between the soldiers, the feeling of suspicion, and the double-dealings. He recalled the little fires lighted in the jungle that immediately gave them away. He told about the “enemy” and how they fight.
He shared a “war trophy”, tainted with blood:
– People were killed that day …
And this hurtful memory has never gone away. It is always here… and he explains:
– You had to protect yourself.
With trembling hands and voice he showed us old photos and notes kept during all these years.
– There was no chance of winning the war. We were isolated. We were abandoned and our guns were outdated. Those who were in charge did not understand this, or even the past examples. This war had a deadline.
Later I had to start all over again. I had to learn to live with the past… with these terrible memories… with this pain… with all the transformations it caused in my life.
– However, I am here. Safe and sound!