Monthly Archives: June 2008

a stab at history

I’m afraid it’s only in Portuguese at the moment (but will soon be available in English)… So for those of you who are interested, I’ve done a review of Purga em Angola by Dalila Cabrita Mateus e Álvaro Mateus. The book is about the 27th May 1977 uprising, a much contested and misunderstood day in Angola’s recent history, and a day which was followed by what Angolan politician and journalist, Joao Mello, has called the 28th May. And one could go on, with the 29th May, 30th May and so on and so on… for many days and weeks of violence and hatred followed the uprising, and many Angolans to this day struggle to come to terms with what happened to their families and friends. The 27th May was about identity, liberation, the Cold War, Cuba and the Soviet Union, and it was about money and power, race and class. Finally, during the last year or so, people have begun to publish their research and in some cases their personal experiences about this event – finally, an attempt to correct three decades of silence on the subject. Silence – and a monopoly on the truth. I wrote about the 27th May last year for Relações Internacionais here. Other recent works to appear include Holocausto em Angola by Américo Cardoso Botelho which is remarkably difficult to get hold of if you don’t live in Portugal. I was sent a copy by a kind friend in Lisbon, and have just started wading through what is a long account of the violence and suffering that followed independence in 1975 for those who criticised the politics of the MPLA under Agostinho Neto.

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