Well, it's that time of year again. I'm off to my sisters' where I will be spending Christmas this year with a truckload of wife, kids and the gifts I managed to produce this year.
It wasn't the best of years, 2010. I felt the entire year was a prelude year; constantly hoping the financial crisis doesn't hit my family hard as it has been hitting so harshly and unfairly the middle class in Portugal, trying to succeed in a small business venture with a couple of childhood friends, trying to maintain at the age of 40 enough brain matter to keep up with the fast paced developments in computing... all things I didn't get an answer to this year. In a scale of 10, I'd say 2010 ranks 5. And all go to my family, their love and their patience for a man that is becoming increasingly ill-tempered. That's the only assurable thing I have in this life and in the present conjuncture.
My best wishes of a happy Christmas to all of you who celebrate it and don't. I have just one request: The last time my country experienced such a grave financial crisis I was still a boy, oblivious to anything but my mundane needs and desire. Today I'm seeing one as an adult. And it is breaking my heart to witness first-hand how cruel and unfair the world we live in really is. To see those that didn't provoke these events, being the ones suffering through it with salary cuts, taxes increases and social benefits removed in a country that is already one of the poorest and most corrupt in Europe feels like a knife through my heart and gives me revolutionary thoughts. Makes me bitter and wanting revenge in the name of the 2 million poor people in a country of 10 million inhabitants, and where charity institutions have been experienced an increase in requests for help in the 200% range for the last year. For all purposes, our societies haven't evolved much from the feudal regimes in the middle ages. Democracy is proving to be just a slighter benign form of dictatorship in which the illusion of power is given to the masses once every 4 years. Governments then will resume their agenda which is not anything like what they talked us into. We are still being ruled and I will not witness in my lifetime a society that starts being governed.
Anyways my request is that in this season, give my country a thought. 5 minutes, 30 seconds, doesn't matter. It's estimated that the poverty levels for 2011 will reach alarming levels in the 30% range of the total population. For a western European country, this fills me with shame, anger and a feeling of impotence.