Monday , October 25 2021

Ruben de Carvalho, radical and free: by Jaime Nogueira Pinto


Most of my great friends-the living and the dead-are or were my co-religionists of ideas and fellow combatants. Ruben de Carvalho, a long-time member of the PCP, a member of the Central Party Committee, arrested several times before April 25, clearly did not belong to this majority. But he was a very special friend.

Although he had been in his health for about three weeks – a trauma that in a normal, civilized country would never have happened and left him in a coma – it was a shock to me when he learned this morning of his death.

Since 2015, he has been doing the Free Radicals on Antena 1. And over the years, when we have dined many times and spent many hours together, what I remember about him is precisely this free radicalism, an ever rare but rare gift still in whom, like him, he had a partisan loyalty; and a serious fidelity, of the old, a fidelity for which he sacrificed himself and sacrificed himself.

Like all great, generous, and conscious men of the world and history, he spoke of his times of imprisonment and isolation in prison with sobriety, humility, without theatricalities, without entering into that

martyrology of those who have gone through nothing and entertain themselves to invent past and useful profiles.

When Ruben agreed to enter a program where two "radicals" – a communist and a nationalist (or "fascist," as the antifascists like to say) – would discuss ideas, facts, historical ephemeris, and talk about books, films, and everything a little, I did not resist asking him,

"And your Philharmonic leaves you?" ("Philharmonic" was the graceful, affectionate and accurate name with which the music lover Ruben de Carvalho referred privately to the Communist Party.)

"I am very old, and I am very old in my Philharmonic," he answered.

Who is like who says, I am free, committed, convicted but free. And was. Without ever failing to be loyal. I, who do not have a Philharmonic, admired the balance I could muster. And when things were heading for the climb, one of us would drop a joke, laugh and change the subject.

We started the program in October 2015 with Luís Marinho and from the summer of 2016 we were with Rui Pego, who never tried to "moderate" our "radicality" (only occasionally our wandering).

By decision of principle, we were not talking about partisan politics, aware that there were more people talking about it and getting angry about it. Apart from that, we talked about everything – "squares", wars, communism, fascism, Lenin, Mussolini, the Portuguese past and, of course, the Estado Novo (what he called "fascism" and I "authoritarian nationalism").

Putting "authoritarian nationalism" to "fascism" was already a grace we shared, so when this year we did a program dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the founding of fascism (we had already done one on the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution ), I began by saying that we were going to speak of the "100 years of Mussolini's authoritarian nationalism".

I'm going to miss the laughs, the conversations, the recordings, the freedom with which we went through History and the stories and with which we discussed so much. Most of all, I'm going to miss your phone calls to ask how the "right-wing conspiracy" and some dinners were when we talked about battles we'd been together but on opposite sides.

As always, in great friendships, as in great passions, there are things – and important – to say.

I am hopeful that the Maestro of my Philharmonic has already distributed the score to you.

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