YES, THEY WERE STARS
They were, in a Manoel de Oliveira film from the 1980s, they were stars that danced in an ingenuously blue sky, yes, at the top of some steps in the Mouraria, above beggars, yes, the beggars that we were, they were 12 and they were sung as destiny, currency, Charpentier, it was night and they shone brightly.
I now find them here, yellow stars on a ground that once was sky, Europe, territory, land, a mere feasibility, ground we walk on, defended ground.
They were a dream, a wish, work, they were termed Union, they are a blue ground just like it is said the planet looks when seen from afar, blue like the distance.
And there is a goal, railing, barbed wire, fence, there is a screen, police, sports equipment, there is an obstacle, let us call it distance again, we can call it a challenge, trampoline, wall bars, as always in sport, overtaking.
What are these stars like for those who die in the south, in Africa, how do they shine?
We think, of course, of that Mediterranean, a sea which those who sang it said it was once a place of encounters, exchange, discoveries, trade and is now a bloody wound ploughed by clandestine boats, the wretched who die gazing at the stars on the sands of Spain, Italy, Lampedusa, protected territories, we think of the Mediterranean.
And I think of the sword with which Dido, of Carthage, North Africa, killed herself, after seeing her beloved Aeneas depart for the other side of the sea to fulfil his destiny, to found Rome, city of the Law, the first star. That wound has always remained, cemented by Schengen, the Mediterranean is now an open crater, a festering wound.
And yet, by accentuating through the title the folding screen which the piece surprisingly also is, Carlos No evinces a moment (merely sung?) when arts and cultures, peoples and distances, languages even, and so diverse, were dreamed, came together from coast to coast, across the seas, Namban, another paradise for people who remember, we don't really know if it was like this, we say.
We dream of dreams, federations, unions, desires, treaties, embraces, and there are stars across the skies.
But the defence of those dreams, the safeguard, Schengen, protection - strikes how many with certain death?
In the silence which the dimensions of the piece render majestic, let us pause a minute: there is death on this ground, let us bow down.
Jorge Silva Melo