Sometimes we have to let events happen to get things right. Sometimes it really takes everything to expire to fully understand its meaning.
I just got back from Guia Cemetery in Cascais, where this afternoon Diogo Freitas do Amaral was burying. Still in the morning, when I entered Jeronimos with my wife, for the last mass of body present before the funeral, I was approached by the journalist António Esteves, from RTP, who asked me if Freitas do Amaral had been “very distressed in recent months by failed to make peace with the right. ” I said no – it's the truth I know and witness. Suffering sometimes with the disease, certainly; but distressed, not at all. I never saw him. And with that question at all.
Diogo Freitas do Amaral has always been a quiet man, well with him. Even with the disease, which has been going hard over the course of this year, eating her many days, she has dealt with it, as far as I saw, with courage and serenity. No shadow of anguish or anxiety. A natural road.
But the question of Antonio Esteves is understood. In many comments, after his death on Thursday, and in the published obituaries, this theme was unavoidable: Freitas do Amaral's “loneliness” and the break with his political field or his with him – “ostracism”, as he himself named him at the presentation of his last book last June. This ostracism did exist, and it has a caricatural and symbolic mark in that deplorable episode of the withdrawal and devolution of the portrait, when he accepted to be foreign minister in the PS government in 2005. Already "loneliness" has much more to say. First, the sheer size and breadth of the personal and institutional testimonies and honors given and addressed to him these two days reveal that, after all, the news of his loneliness was like the death of Mark Twain: a news, after all, a little premature. Second, because some loneliness is the necessary condition of the free man – no one is free if he is afraid of the dark, that is, if he is afraid of being alone. Freitas do Amaral chose to be free both when he served – and very well – the right (even if it was from the center), and when, after leaving for the right (which he wanted to go to other directions), he continued to define and follow his own. way.
At the session where, three months ago, he presented the third and final volume of his Memoirs, “Another 35 years of democracy – a unique journey”, Freitas do Amaral surprised everyone by reading, in the end, as a reference poem, stanzas of “My Way”, an unforgettable song by Frank Sinatra. Today in Jeronimos, after the end of Mass and following a formidable evocation of his father by his son Domingos Amaral, a lady who had once sung a religious song (Frei Hermano's “Avé Maria”), he also went up to the altar. to sing Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as the farewell before leaving for the funeral.
I imagine the surprise of many people. I do not know if it was one of the last wishes of Diogo Freitas do Amaral, or just an idea of the family, to better join us with the spirit of the deceased: to sing his poem of reference, right where he was going from.
I believe the Jeronimos have never experienced such a moment: Frank Sinatra's song thus sung in the Main Chapel, with the Bishops still solemnly standing on the altar, echoing another sound and ambience in those beautiful and monumental Manueline stones. But the first time it was, it was anyway. It seemed to me that as the song progressed, the stained glass became even more sublime, gaining brilliance, especially in the luminous faces of its figures. And looking back, far away, at the entrance to the central nave, it seemed to me that even Camões, lying up in the tomb, gave a smile. I was sure of this shortly afterwards: when, at the head of an impressive academic procession, Freitas do Amaral's urn, carried by his university professors, passed by the grave of Luís de Camões, I saw perfectly the torn smile in his face, and then I heard this sudden whisper: "Cool, man!" Camões had liked "My Way" and it is known that he also knew about ostracism.
"My Way" was the way Diogo Freitas do Amaral answered questions like the one Antonio Esteves had asked me. And the way of signaling to us that it was not just a reference poem, as it might have seemed in June, not far away in the book session at the Belém Cultural Center; but in the Jeronimos Monastery, at that ceremony and at that moment, the song was, after all, the anthem of his freedom of conscience.
There is no harm in having disagreements – after all, democracy is justified because of this. I also had them with Diogo Freitas do Amaral and he with me. This is not a serious reason to break and distract. I don't think Freitas do Amaral owes anything to the right – not to the left either. But I know that the right owes a lot to Freitas do Amaral. When it was needed, when it was more accurate than at any other time, he was there – and not just in the crowd (which is very important and essential), but more than that, leading: giving the face, the voice and the direction. The right which, in its most complete right, separated from him, caused him to separate as well. And that is often the case under these circumstances. I do not follow some positions of Freitas do Amaral, or the way in which he expressed them. But I do not question the right to do so, nor do I express disagreement over insults. This, by the way, bothered him a little. Because? My way.
At the Guia Cemetery, the Navy paid him one last, touching tribute, led by the Admiral Chief of Staff of the Armada. And the President of the Republic, who with his enlightened democratic patriotism was responsible for these two days of funeral, culminated in the handing over to the widow, Maria Jose Freitas do Amaral, of the national flag that had been covering the ballot box. With this gesture and the words he said to the family of Diogo Freitas do Amaral, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, wanted to express and convey personally the gratitude of Portugal for the great figure who left: the teacher, the jurist, the jurisconsult, the man of thought, the scholar, the politician, the party leader, the parliamentarian, the ruler, the publicist, the active citizen, the man of culture, the writer, the democrat, the patriot.
That is what I have said that is more due to Freitas do Amaral: gratitude. Especially by those who served the most: the center and the right. We may disagree, but we must not forget or mistreat our own history.
Due to those coincidences that the calendar has in store for us, Diogo Freitas do Amaral was burying on 5 October, that is, on the day 876 years after the signing, between D. Afonso VII de León and our D. Afonso Henriques, of the Treaty of Zamora by which the Portucalense County passed to the Kingdom and Portugal was recognized by the neighbors from which we separated. Knowing how much of his time, energy and life Diogo Freitas do Amaral devoted to the study and dissemination of our first founding king, I have no doubt that it was not just Camões: D. Afonso Henriques certainly smiled, even because he He was also a champion of "My Way". We would not exist without it.
I would like Radio Renaissance, for the writing of this text, to put a link on the page that will allow readers to hear in full Frank Sinatra's beautiful song, not just reading the poem, which I transcribe. Only then, listening, we can fully understand the last legacy that, as a hymn of freedom and conscience, Freitas do Amaral wanted to deliver us, just as he was leaving the church to the grave.
And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I'll say it clear
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
I've lived a life that's full
I've traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way
Regrets, I've had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way
Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I until it up and spit it out
I faced it all and i stood tall
And did it my way
I've loved, I've laughed and cried
I've had my fill my share of losing
And now, the tears subside
I find it all amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way
For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way
Yes, it was my way
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