by Jose Alfonso
"Grandola" was a song that used to be illegal in Portugal. It tells the story of the city of Granada under Muslim rule.
Although sometimes presented too much as 'perfect' the region of Granada and Al Andalus florished when Muslims (Moors) were in power. The Muslims showed a lot of tolerance towards Jews and (too much?) to Christians.
For over 700 years the Church studied the ways of the Muslims and gradually they found ways to lure the Muslims away from Islam and islamic living style. In comitting their evil work the Church used the experience they had already gained in oppressing the Cathars and other non conformist (to the pope) religious groups in what is now the South of France (Languedoc). When time was right they struck murdering many, Muslims and Jews.
Many Jews flet with Muslim refugees to what is now Morocco because they knew how Christians behave when in power from the many stories of pogroms elsewhere in Europe. They also knew they and their commercial interests would be safe under Muslim rule.
At the end of the Portuguese colonial period there was a lot of opposition against the US-supported dictatorship.
Early in the morning of 25 April 1974 a radio station played the banned song "Grandola". This was the start of the Carnation Revolution. Discontent soldiers in Portugal and in the then overseas territories (Angola,...) rose up against their superiors, grabbed arms and distributed them to the participating population.
Reaction by the West was swift. They could not, as the Soviets had done in Hungary and Tsjechoslovakia, openly invade the country. This was a Western country, member of NATO, not a former colony or a land with many Muslims. So, they used the democratic system to oppress the people by providing the social-democratic party tremendous sums of money to aid it in its struggle to bring the uprising under democratic control by promoting 'stay calm and dignified' attitudes and by opposing 'anarchy'. The role of the Church should not be underestimated but, as often, was more obscure.
The Revolution was brought down and a parliamentary system installed. Far most of the reforms promised by the social-democrats were never realized but many democratic campaigns against poverty and organized misery are still being discussed.
The time Muslims ruled the Iberian Peninsula has not been forgotten.
The song is in Portuguese. There exist English translations of the lyrics but most often they are no good because the actual text is violated to spread secular, communist, ideas. (...)
"Grandola vila Morena', "Granada, Moorish city. City of fraternity....."
The struggle continues. On all continents. Justice must be served.
Hasta la victoria siempre! (Che)
"Capitães de Abril" (2000)