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February 27 2014

How the Portuguese Influenced Indian Cuisine

Sorpotel. Photo by Flickr user gcmenezes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Sorpotel. Photo by Flickr user gcmenezes (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

The Portuguese established a colony in India at the beginning of the 16th century. Portuguese India was ruled first from Cochin, and then Goa. Over the next four centuries, Portuguese control spread to various parts of India, mostly along the west coast of the country, but also in the northeast in Bengal.

During this time, the Portuguese left their mark on certain Indian cuisines in two ways: by introducing new ingredients to India – including spices that are seen as an essential part of Indian food today – and by introducing Portuguese dishes that then were adapted to Indian culinary techniques and tastes.

The strongest Portuguese influence was of course in Goa, which Portugal ruled until 1961. In particular, Goan Catholic cuisine has a distinct Portuguese flavour. Blogger Hilda Mascarenhas describes the famous Goan dish pork vindaloo:

The name “Vindaloo” is derived from the Portuguese dish “Carne de Vinha d’Alhos” which is a dish of meat, usually pork, with wine and garlic. The Portuguese dish was modified by the substitution of vinegar (usually palm vinegar) for the red wine and the addition of red Kashmiri chillies with spices, to evolve into Vindaloo. The alternative terms are Vindalho or Vindallo. Traditional Goan Pork Vindaloo is intensely flavored with fragrant spices and does not include potatoes. No celebration and festive occasion is complete without the Goan Pork Vindaloo. It is enjoyed with the most popular and loved accompaniment, Goan sannas, which are prepared with toddy! This speciality is served with pride in every Goan home at Christmas, New Year and Easter.

Gavin Harvey adds:

Vindaloo started as a vinegar and garlic based stew made with pork or other meat but when introduced to India it got revamped with various spices and chillies. Potatoes were also added to the dish and “alhos” became “aloo” (Hindi word for “potatoes”) – so soon people assumed potatoes were a necessary ingredient of this dish.

Further down the coast from Goa is the city of Mangalore, and Mangalorean Catholic cuisine has many similarities with Goan Catholic cuisine. A pork dish common to both is sorpotel (or sarapatel), originally from the Alentejo region of Portugal. At the Goan Recipes blog, Glenn writes:

The word ‘sarapatel’ literally means confusion, probably referring to the mish-mash of ingredients of pork heart, liver and even pork blood!

Bandel cheese. Photo by Flickr user Manidipa Mandal (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Bandel cheese. Photo by Flickr user Manidipa Mandal (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Moving to the other side of India, some Portuguese influence can be seen in Bengali cuisine as well. Rangan Datta gives us the history of a special kind of cheese:

Originating from the erstwhile Portuguese settlement of Bandel (about 50 km north of Calcutta), Bandel Cheese is perhaps one of the last traces of Portuguese cuisine in Bengal. The Portuguese influence in Bengal dates back to the late 16th century. Almost a century after Vasco da Gama reached the West Coast of India the Portuguese started making their inroads into Bengal. [...] It was the probably the Portuguese who introduced the art of cheese making in Bengal and in spite of all odds the technique has survived over centuries. The Bandel Cheese introduced by the Portuguese was probably made by the Mogh (Burmese) cooks under Portuguese supervision. [...] This variety of unripened cheese is made from cows milk and comes in two versions plain and smoked. First the the curd is extracted from the cows milk by using lemon juice. The cheese is then shaped and drained in perforated pots. The plain variety is of milk-white colour and comes in disc shapes of about an inch diameter and quarter of inch thickness. The smoked variety comes in the same shape and size but has a crispy brownish crust covering the soft milk-white interior.

Zoe Perrett notes:

The Portuguese influence on Bengal was not pure. Having gone to Goa first, many of the new introductions were delivered with a distinct Western Indian accent, or, indeed, were dishes the Portuguese purloined directly from that small state. The Portuguese also proffered Bengal bounty from travels further afield; fruity beauties like pineapple, papaya, guava, and the lychees from the Orient. Where Goa absorbed the influences, blending Portuguese techniques and dishes with local spices, in Bengal, many of the Portuguese-provided ingredients have retained their own clear identity. Mogh cooks soon mastered Western baking methods; displayed today in Calcutta’s prolific puffs and pastries, and perhaps also in the use of white flour for ‘luchis’ (a Bengali bread).

Kulkuls. Photo by Flickr user Amanda Fernandes (CC BY 2.0).

Kulkuls. Photo by Flickr user Amanda Fernandes (CC BY 2.0).

The Portuguese left a legacy of sweet as well as savoury dishes in India. Kulkuls, or kidyo, are a type of sweet eaten by Goan and Mangalorean Catholics at Christmas. Aparna Balasubramaniam describes them:

Kulkuls are made by deep-frying inch long bits of sweet dough moulded/shaped into small curls (like butter curls) which are often also coated with a sugar glaze which dries out. The kulkuls tend to resemble small worms, hence the name “Kidyo” in Konkani, the language spoken in Goa. If you do not to think of them as “worms” you can think of them as shell-shaped. I like to think that the name Kulkul/Kalkal comes from the rattling sound of these little treats jostling one another when they’re shaken in sugar syrup or maybe in the tin in which they would be stored. Kulkuls are made during Christmas in Goa and are an important item in the Kuswar (a collection of Goan Christmas-time treats), and are distributed to neighbours. They’re also taken along to give away during “obligatory” visits to friends and family. [...] Someone pointed out the Kulkuls are actually a variation of the Portuguese Filhoses Enroladas, which is a roll or curvy noodle-shaped Christmas-time sweet that is deep-fried and sugar-glazed. So it is possible that Kulkuls were brought to India by the Portuguese.

February 24 2014

A Day to Strengthen Portugal's Open Data Community

A typical rabelo boat from Porto carrying the open data flag for the #OpenDataDay. Banner by Transparência Hackday.

A typical rabelo boat from Porto carrying the open data flag for the #OpenDataDay. Banner by Ana Carvalho / Transparência Hackday.

[Disclosure: The author of this post was one of the organizers of the event.]

Pro-transparency and tech for citizenship enthusiasts from different cities in Portugal joined in the global Open Data Day celebration with a gathering in Porto hosted by the Transparência Hackday collective on February 22, 2014.

Designers, programmers, hackers, communicators and public servants dedicated a Saturday afternoon to sharing their experience with transparency issues as well as to opening some data to the public.

Hands-on tasks included the Local Open Data Census by Open Knowledge Foundation, which aimed at putting together data sets at the local level, from transport timetables to annual budgets and air quality:

We know there is huge variability in how much local data is available not just across countries but within countries, with some cities and municipalities making major open data efforts, while in others there’s little or no progress visible. If we can find out what open data is out there, we can encourage more cities to open up key information, helping businesses and citizens understand their cities and making life easier.

By the end of the day, the cities of Coimbra and Porto had quite a full range of information available in a collaborative document that will be used to update the Open Knowledge instance for Portugal once it has been setup by the international organization.

A different group took on the yogurt cataloging challenge launched by Open Food Facts, a free, open and crowdsourced food products database. The idea behind “What's in my yogurt?” project was to gather nutrition facts, ingredients and other dairy data from as many countries of the world as possible in just one day. So did the Portuguese

Data ‘visualinspiration’

The cherry on top for this fourth anniversary of the International Open Data Day was the presentation of the designer and researcher Pedro Cruz from the University of Coimbra of his work on data visualization.

The association for cultural intervention Maus Hábitos (Bad Habits) opened its door for the open data venue.

The association for cultural intervention Maus Hábitos (Bad Habits) in Porto opened its door for the venue of the #OpenDataDay in Portugal.

The journey started with Pedro's data visualization of the evolution of the decline of the maritime empires of the 19th and 20th centuries by land extension. In the timeline of events, British, Portuguese, French and Spanish empires dissolute in a fluid way as “some kind of soft bodies”. Other works by him include the traffic of Lisbon condensed in one day – or portrayed as a metaphor of living organisms with circulatory problems – as well as text analysis, public transport exploration, and much more.

“An ecosystem of corporate politicians“ - interactive visualization at

“An ecosystem of corporate politicians“ – interactive visualization at

But his most recent deed, the interactive visualization ”An ecosystem of corporate politicians” – on the relationships between members of Portuguese governments and companies for the period of 1975 to 2013 – was the one sparking more debate.

The powerful visualization shows the companies where ministers and secretaries of state have had positions and allows for the exploration of what appears to be a parasite ecosystem, given the form of the designed organisms:

Data is approached as an ecosystem, where each set of interdependent relations are regulated by physical conditions—each politician has a sequence of companies to visit, chasing them and jumping between them, in order to restart the sequence each time it is completed.

The data was collected from a study on politics and business carried out for the documentary “Donos de Por­tu­gal” (Owners of Portugal).

Getting to know the community

Improve Coimbra was another project from the third main city of Portugal that participants had the chance to meet on #OpenDataDay in Porto. Alike the organizer in Porto, Transparência Hackday, Improve Coimbra promotes monthly meetings that anyone can join to help solve the problems of the city. In little more than one year of activities, Improve has already created several websites and mobile apps for the citizens of Coimbra, such as a platform for crowdsourcing home rents, a map of cafes with available wifi, and Burocracia which makes the minutes of Coimbra's city government assembly available and easy to search. 

Also the northern municipality of Alfândega da Fé was represented in this #OpenDataDay. Ranked in second place in the Index of Municipal Transparency [pt] launched in October 2013 by the watchdog Transparência e Integrigade, Associação Cívica (TIAC), this small municipality of the region of Trás-os-Montes, with less than 6,000 inhabitants, has been showing positive signs of willingness to open local governmental data

That was the ultimate aim of the event, after all, to encourage governmental data openness, and thus the #OpenData in Portugal has grown a bit stronger with more grassroots organizations and individuals dialoguing with each other and the world.

You can check out the agenda of the #OpenDataDay in a pad available in Transparencia Hackday's blog, and read more about the global event in the official website [all links in Portuguese]. 

February 06 2014

La musique des œillets

C'est un roman du Portugal moderne, depuis les premiers jours de la dictature d'António de Oliveira Salazar, en 1933, jusqu'aux péripéties démocratiques de la fin du siècle, en passant par la guerre coloniale en Angola, le coup d'Etat militaire de 1974 et la « révolution des œillets ». Un roman qui (...) / Portugal, Démocratie, Histoire, Littérature, Mouvement de contestation, Dictature, Coup d'État - 2014/02

January 20 2014

European Citizens Call for the Protection of Media Pluralism

For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and 'like' the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

Website: For updates follow @MediaECI on Twitter and ‘like’ the Facebook page European Initiative for Media Pluralism.

“European institutions should safeguard the right to free, independent and pluralistic information”. The quote, from the Media Initiative website, summarizes the main idea behind a pan-European campaign that aims at urging the European Commission to draft a Directive to protect Media Pluralism and Press Freedom.

The Media Initiative is running a European Citizens’ Initiative - a tool of participatory democracy “which allows civil society coalitions to collect online and offline one million signatures in at least 7 EU member states to present directly to the European Commission a proposal forming the base of an EU Directive, initiating a legislative process”. The petition is available in 15 languages and can be signed online:

Protecting media pluralism through partial harmonization of national rules on media ownership and transparency, conflicts of interest with political office and independence of media supervisory bodies.

A short video presents the campaign:

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

January 15 2014

Intonaspacio: a New Digital Musical Instrument Made in Portugal

Mailis Rodrigues, a young talented Portuguese women has invented a new musical instrument and now needs help to show it to the world in an annual event to find the world’s best new ideas in musical instrument design:

Hi, I was selected as one of the 20 semi-finalists of the Margaret Guthman competition with my PhD work. This competition chooses the best new music instrument. I have to travel to Atlanta in February to present Intonaspacio, the music instrument that I designed (you can take a look on how it looks like in the photos), to a juri. But I need some help to pay my trip to Atlanta. Please contribute, even if it's just 5 euros it would help me a lot. I can promise to send you a postcard from Atlanta. Thank you so much!

She explains what Intonaspacio is, and shows the instrument in action in the video below:

She has raised so far €1.275,00 out of the €1.500,00 she needs to cover the costs of her trip. To contribute, check her Go Fund Me campaign.

New Global Voices Podcast in Portuguese

GV podcastThe prolific team of Global Voices in Portuguese have launched a new monthly podcast, Vozes Globais, with alternative news gleaned from the internet in all Portuguese speaking countries.

Portuguese journalist Vanessa Rodrigues (@lunacronica) is heading up the podcast in partnership with community radio station The goal is to partner with community radios in more Portuguese language countries to see the show re-broadcast internationally.

The idea for the podcast was born at a #GVMeetup event in Porto, Portugal in December 2013. For more information on the podcast or other activities of Global Voices’ Portuguese language teams, please contact Sara Moreira.

January 08 2014

Brazil's ‘Silent Revolution’ in Education, Inspired by Portugal

Espetáculos de Circo do Projeto Âncora

Show in celebration of Circus Day

Eighteen years ago a true revolution in the Brazilian educational system was started when Project Âncora launched in the town of Cotia, São Paulo. It took the form of a space for learning, practising and enhancing principles of citizenship with the aim of developing and transforming the reality of the local community. Since 1995 this non-profit project has catered to over 6,000 children, teenagers and their families through extracurricular activities such as music classes, theatre-circus, crafts and professional courses.

In 2012 an old dream was accomplished with the opening of the Project Âncora School of Infant and Primary Education (pdf). Following the methods of Escola da Ponte from Portugal, which challenges the traditional concept of education and the world’s prevalent standard model of schooling, the Project Âncora School follows an “educational philosophy which proposes that self-knowledge and experience are the key tools for learning, centred around the learner, his or her particularities and his or her transition from heteronomy to autonomy”.

Around 300 children and teenagers attend the school, which is structured round three parallel curricula: the individual, the social and the communal. This innovative model was inspired on democratic education and has been implemented in Brazil with the help of Portuguese language teacher José Pacheco, who has been known worldwide for having created the Escola da Ponte (School of the Bridge) in Portugal by making use of a revolutionary methodology (pdf). Marusia Meneguin, author of the blog Mãe Perfeita, has been enthralled by the original proposal:

Imagine uma escola sem classes, horários, provas. Um currículo que é decidido pelas crianças, em consenso, e inclui matérias como circo e meditação. Não há lista de chamada nem ponto, mas estudantes e professores não faltam. Tudo de graça. Agora imagine que esses estudantes provêm de lugares violentos, e já foram expulsos de diversas escolas. Pode parecer utopia. Até o dia em que você conhece a proposta da Escola da Ponte.

Imagine a school without classrooms, schedules or exams. A curriculum which is decided upon by the children, through consensus, and which includes subjects such as circus and meditation. There is neither roll call nor punching the clock, and yet no absences on the part of pupils or teachers. Everything is free of charge. Now, imagine that these students come from violent environments and have been expelled from several schools. It may seem like utopia. Until the day when you get to know the proposal for the Escola da Ponte.

In an interview with G1, Pacheco states that education in Brazil, whose model ignores the contribution given by Paulo Freire and other great educators from the country, squanders resources and produces 30 million illiterate people. The results achieved by means of the alternative model, on the other hand, become visible within the community itself:

Os ex-alunos da Ponte – alguns já com mais de 50 anos de idade – são a prova da boa qualidade do projeto. São seres humanos plenamente realizados, com elevado nível de consciência cívica, éticos, empreendedores, solidários. Deverei acrescentar que a Ponte recebe alunos que as outras escolas jogam fora, e os recupera. Aluno que não aprende em outra escola, ou aluno que põe professor em estado de coma em outra escola, vai para a Ponte.

The former pupils from the School of the Bridge - some who are now over 50 years old – are living proof of the good quality of the project. They are fulfilled human beings who display a high level of civic awareness, are ethical, entrepreneurial, supportive of others. I should add that the Bridge welcomes pupils who are discarded by other schools, and recovers them. Pupils who do not learn in another school or pupils who put teachers is a state of shock in other schools, they come to the Bridge.

Campanha de arrecadação

Fundraising campaign for Project Âncora

Whereas School of the Bridge has been in existence for nearly 40 years, the results of Project Âncora School in Brazil, which is just over a year old, will take a bit longer to become obvious. Nevertheless, the project has already attracted attention and has inspired other schools, receiving visits from educators from different parts of the country. After one of these visits, Talita Morais described the differences she finds in this utopic educational model:

O grande diferencial do Projeto Âncora, assim como na Escola da Ponte em Portugal, é que as crianças são conscientizadas a trabalhar o coletivo, o respeito e o amor ao próximo, e a autonomia em seu processo de estudo. Dessa forma, passando pelos níveis – na Escola não há divisão por salas ou séries – os alunos vão se tornando cada vez mais autônomos na sua aprendizagem, escolhendo o quê, como e a que momento deve aprender determinado conteúdo, tudo com o auxílio e orientação de professores e tutores, que vão desde funcionários até voluntários da própria comunidade. Além dessa autonomia na escolha do estudo, eles também participam ativamente das decisões e gerenciamento da escola, por meio das assembleias semanais, que re-definem as regras da instituição.

The big difference of Project Âncora, as well as of the School of the Bridge in Portugal, is that the children are made conscious of the collective perspective, of respect and love for others, and of the value of autonomy in the pursuit of his or her studies. This way, going through the different levels – since there is no division by classes or grades in the school – the pupils gradually become more autonomous in their learning process, choosing what, how and at which moment they learn a certain subject, all done with the aid and orientation of teachers and tutors, who are made up of the schools personnel as well as volunteers from the community itself. Besides such autonomy surrounding the choice of study, they also take an active part in the decisions and management of the school by means of weekly assemblies which redefine the rules that guide the institution.

Teacher Fernanda Rodrigues compared the Âncora with other traditional schools:

Lá, fomos recebidos por uma menina de 11 anos, super esperta e comunicativa! Ela nos contou que estuda lá desde que nasceu e foi nítido o quanto ela era sentia um verdadeiro orgulho de fazer parte do dia a dia do Âncora. Os olhos dela brilhavam e era nítido o profundo sentimento de pertencimento que a educanda tem em relação a tudo o que ali acontece.

Aproveitando, vale dizer que é impossível não se encantar com o espaço, que além de amplo, inspira a Educação em sua magnitude. Pudemos presenciar diversas cenas não muito comuns em escolas tradicionais como garotos zelando pelo espaço, bolsas penduradas na entrada da escola, mural com a pauta da assembleia e muitas pessoas conversando sem aquela típica gritaria que é comum nos ambientes escolares.

There, we were welcomed by a very lively and talkative 11-year-old girl! She told us that she had been studying there since she was born and it became clear how truly proud she was for being part of the day-to-day life of Âncora. Her eyes shone and it became clear there was a deep feeling of belonging that the student holds in relation to everything that happens there.

It is worth saying as well that it is impossible not to become enchanted by the place, which is not only broad, but also inspires education in its greatness. We could witness several episodes which are not very common to find in traditional schools, such as boys taking care of the place, bags hanging on the entrance of the school, notice board displaying the agenda for the assembly and many people talking without giving way to that sort of screaming which is so commonly found in school environments.

Comunidades de Aprendizagem do Projeto Âncora em Cotia, São Paulo.

Communities of learning from Project Ancora in Cotia, São Paulo.

The next step of the project is to expand this experience beyond the walls of the institution and reach the whole town by integrating the pupils into “learning communities”. Once a week, the pupils must visit communal places, such as public health clinics and churches, in order to study local issues and talk directly with the residents. Following Pacheco's formula, called “MC² – change enhanced by contamination and context”, the pupils must grab hold of the reality of the place where they live and seek solutions for the issues that they confront:

Comunidades de aprendizagem são práxis comunitárias baseadas em um modelo educacional gerador de desenvolvimento sustentável. É a expansão da prática educacional do Projeto Âncora para além de seus muros, envolvendo ativamente a comunidade na consolidação de uma sociedade participativa.

Learning communities are communal praxis based on an educational model that generates sustainable development. It is the expansion of the educational practices of Project Âncora beyond its walls, and which actively involves the community in the consolidation of a participative society.

When Project Ãncora turned 18 years old in October 2013, João Carlos, from the blog Soliarte, declared that a dream that has become reality “reached adulthood a long time ago”:

Um novo Brasil que nasce. Viva! Viva!
Obrigado Pacheco pela revolução silenciosa que ocorre na educação do Brasil.

A new Brazil is born. Hail! Hail!
Thank you Pacheco for the silent revolution which is taking place in Brazilian education.

Not only the children benefit from this revolutionary model of education. As she recalled the anniversary celebrations, volunteer educator Johana Barreneche-Corrales pondered the importance of the playful and the emotional ties between the teacher:

Finalmente podemos pensar que para que um projetocoletivovingue, é preciso que um grupo seja construído, e o grupo é grupo, não pela quantidade de pessoas que dele fazem parte, mas pela força com que os laços entre eles são tecidos.

Lastly, we may think that for a project to be successful, there is the need for a team to be put together, and that the team be truly a team, not by the number of people who join it, but by the strength of the ties between its members.

Project Âncora was one of the alternative education schools in Brazil that were visited by the documentary team Quando Sinto Que já Sei, a film made financially possible by means of crowdfunding through the website Catarse and which shall be launched in the beginning of 2014. The objective is to start a discussion about the present state of education in Brazil by exploring new ways of learning based on children's participation and autonomy, values which are emerging and being put into practice throughout the country.

Quando Sinto que Já Sei

“Everything is solved with two simple propositions: replace “to” with “with”. With “to” there is a transference, with “with” there is a search for understanding.” José Pacheco on the banner of the film Quando Sinto que Já Sei (When I feel I already know) on Catarse website.


December 28 2013

PHOTOS: Humans of Portugal

Following the worldwide trend of sharing portrays and stories of humans from all corners of the world, inspired by the work started by Brandon Stanton in 2010 with Humans of New York (HONY), Portugal also has a share of its people from several cities around the country represented on different collections on Facebook.

For three years in a row, this country of roughly 10.5 million people (according to data from 2012) has seen its population decrease. In 2012 not only were there more deaths than births, but also the number of people emigrating reached a peak [pt] unseen since the 1960s. Estimates from 2010 point to nearly 5 million Portuguese people who live outside the country.

Meet some of the faces of those humans who have either stayed or happen to be passing by in Portugal.

The poster reads:

The poster reads: “Humans in Power”. Photo from an anti-austerity demonstration (March 2013) shared by Humans in Lisbon by © Jsl Photography

“Revolution doesn’t happen when society adopts new technology, it happens when society adopts new behaviours”. The quote, from Clay Shirky, is mentioned by the Bastart magazine in an interview with João Sá Leão who created the Facebook page of Humans of Lisbon in May 2012. João describes the scenario that inspired him to start mapping the stories of Lisbon: 

Just imagine. One day, we might have a brand new world map. When clicked on any city, we would see its people: the ones that live there as well as those that are just passing by. A totally different way of ‘surfing’ a city…

“I often see [Maria Isabel] in the morning in the cafe ‘Floresta de Madrid’ in Av. de Madrid reading the newspaper or smoking a cigarette … before another journey starts.” © Jsl Photography

One of the most human stories shared in the page of Humans of Lisbon (which already has 3,187 ‘likes') is the one of Maria Isabel, a woman whom the photographer meets everyday on the way to and from work. Sometimes they talk a little bit when João stops his car at traffic lights:

… after many meetings in the traffic lights, she no longer speaks of charity or church but about the government, the weather, asks for my children, complaining that a tooth it´s hurting her… etc … until the light turned green and someone honk, and I have to leave … but tomorrow we meet again.

Today I finally parked the car and offer her breakfast and a little conversation, with no rush.
She remembers the name of my children as often greets from my car window … although sometimes she switch them … in the end I got to know her name and she mine.

Still had time to talk about the crisis and the political … “even the New York Times speaks against Portugal …”, “…This crisis doesn´t help… people offer less or nothing, but some days are better then others…”, she said.

Some days the sun is so hot but she still stays there waiting for some charity…. but from my car I see others closing their windows as she approaches, as if she would harm them…. sad to reach this age and people still close-in the “door”!

If you see her…. do not close your window….. just be nice!

“The grinder which, formerly, was also an umbrellas repairman , is a traveling trader, who carries on a bicycle or motorcycle to offer their services sharpening knives, scissors and other cutting instruments.”   In Inatel / Alvalade  © Jsl - Photography

“The grinder which, formerly, was also an umbrellas repairman , is a traveling trader, who carries on a bicycle or motorcycle to offer their services sharpening knives, scissors and other cutting instruments.” In Inatel / Alvalade. Photo: © Jsl – Photography

“My name is José Reis and I'm from Cape Verde. I always carry this crucifix to protect me.” The picture was published on a different Humans of Lisbon Facebook page, which was created on December 2013 and had 643 ‘likes’ at the time this article was published.

Created on November 1, 2013, the Facebook page of Humans of Porto has already gathered 1,916 ‘likes'. The first photo, taken on the streets of the second main city of Portugal, features “a very special lady at Ribeira” who “sells chestnuts, popcorn, lupin beans and olives… whatever is needed, when it's needed”.

There is a very special lady at Ribeira every time we go there. She sells chestnuts, popcorn, lupin beans and olives... whatever is needed, when it's needed.

“If I knew I was going to be photographed today, I would have brought my earrings. But that's alright because the true beauty lies within”, she said. Either way, she made sure to show off her hat to us. “This hat was given to me by Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands!”, she said proudly and continued working with a smile on her face. Photo: Erge Sonn

The page of Humans of Porto is managed by an all-women team - a videographer, a journalist and a photographer – who say their mission is:

to capture the very essence of Porto and the souls that compose the kaleidoscope of this amazing place. 

“Art is an honest way to make a living”. This is Sérgio’s motto, the artist we met in Santa Catarina that decided to make an exception to his “no interviews” policy and talk with us. He confessed that he exposes his art works in galleries at times, but is on the streets because he prefers to get involved with the whole process and sell his own work.

“Art is an honest way to make a living”. This is Sérgio’s motto, the artist we met in Santa Catarina that decided to make an exception to his “no interviews” policy and talk with us. He confessed that he exposes his art works in galleries at times, but is on the streets because he prefers to get involved with the whole process and sell his own work. Photo: Erge Sonn

They always try to capture life stories behind the portrays such as Sérgio's, who introduced himself:

I am self-educated. My father wanted me to go study arts but I never wanted that. I decided to learn on my own and on the streets because here you can learn something everyday and with every person you meet.

“Film me and put it on the Internet. I want to be a Youtube star”. The Ukrainian guy was once a well-known boxer in the Soviet Union, but now he plays music for a living, entertaining the tourists near Sé. Photo: Erge Sonn

“Film me and put it on the Internet. I want to be a Youtube star”. The Ukrainian guy was once a well-known boxer in the Soviet Union, but now he plays music for a living, entertaining the tourists near Sé in Porto, Portugal. Photo: Erge Sonn

There are pictures too of Humans of Azores, one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, composed of nine volcanic islands situated in the North Atlantic Ocean.

A human from the archipelago of Azores driving a peculiar motorcycle. Photo: Cristian Rodríguez

A human from the archipelago of Azores driving a peculiar motorcycle. Photo: Cristian Rodríguez

An Azorian tour. Photo taken in Roncha de Relva. by Paula Rodilla.

An Azorian tour. Photo taken in Roncha de Relva. by Paula Rodilla.

Humans of Coimbra has many photos showcasing student life and academic traditions in the city, and Humans of Setúbal has pictures of people around town too, but both share their photos without any stories. The same goes for Humans of Almada which has mostly shared landscape pictures. Humans of Cascais was created last October but has only shared one photo until now. 

Do you know of any other “Humans of…” projects in Portugal? Let us know in the comments section below!

December 26 2013

Portugal, pays du doux soleil

Avec le nouveau plan d'austérité entériné le 12 mai dernier, le Portugal poursuit sa descente aux enfers. Qu'ils partent ou qu'ils restent, ses habitants doivent faire le deuil de leurs rêves d'avenir. / Europe, Portugal, Culture, Histoire, Identité culturelle, Information, Jeunes, Littérature, (...) / Europe, Portugal, Culture, Histoire, Identité culturelle, Information, Jeunes, Littérature, Migrations, Mouvement de contestation, Travail, Chômage, Crise économique - 2013/06

December 21 2013

“Beyond Brazil”: European Journalists Wanted for Reporting Trips

Coolpolitics in Portugal announces [pt] an open call for European journalists who want to go on a reporting trip to Brazil in 2014. Twenty-one young reporters from Portugal, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, United Kingdom and Bulgaria will be selected to take part of three different groups that will cover events in Brazil, before and after the World Cup, while collaborating with Brazilian peers.

The Beyond Your World website explains the application process and the expected outcomes of this international reporting and training opportunity:

Ongoing demonstrations, the upcoming World Cup, preparations for the Olympic Games and approaching elections; 2014 is considered to be a very important year for Brazil. Consequently, many beautiful stories are out there and are waiting to be covered. Beyond Your World would likes to make a big contribution with this special project. We want to take this incredible opportunity to explore and tell stories in and from Brazil, not only by giving young journalists the chance to gain experience overseas, but also enabling them to work together with colleagues from different countries. 

Deadline for applications is on January 10, 2014. This project - a cooperation between Lokaalmondiaal and the Brazilian media organisation Canal Futura - is part of the training program Beyond Your World which “seeks to inspire and enable the next generation of journalists to cover international development issues”.

December 13 2013

Global Voices Meetup in Porto: Journalism, Citizenship and New Media

Poster by Manufactura Independente (@ManufacturaInd). Analysis of the protests in Brazil on social networks, by Andrés Monroy-Hernández on Flickr (Creative Commons: BY-SA 2.0).

Friday, 13 December
9.30 p.m. in Gato Vadio: Exposing the Invisible, Tactical Technology Collective
Saturday, 14 December
2.30 p.m. -6.30 p.m. in Maus Hábitos: Citizen journalism and new media in the Lusophone World. Registration necessary:
in conjunction with: Transparência Hackday.
8 p.m. in Espaco Compasso: Lusophone dinner.
9.30 p.m. in Espaco Compasso: Concert “Gringo e o Curisco” (Brazil)
Design: Manufactura Independente (@ManufacturaInd). Background image: Analysis of the protests in Brazil on social networks, by Andrés Monroy-Hernández on Flickr (Creative Commons: BY-SA 2.0).

Global Voices in Portugal invites journalists, amateur media practitioners, citizens and groups dedicated to independent online communication projects or in favour of a more active digital citizenship to a meetup in Porto on 14 December, 2013.

The first Global Voices meetup in Portugal will take a look at how people can come together and strengthen dialogue, understanding and solidarity within and between communities that express themselves in the “languages in Portuguese” (as the only Portuguese-language literary Nobel prize winner, José Saramago, used to refer to the diversity of languages existing in the Lusophone world), as well as what roles do people play – and can play – today on the Internet to share Lusophone issues with the world.

At the Porto meetup, we will search for new ways of working together and building bridges between platforms of online communication that elevate voices which need to be heard. We want to see, hear, record and sow the seeds for a more civic kind of journalism. We believe that we can reap rewards from sharing and collaborating through the “networks of indignation and hope” (Castells).

What's going to happen?

Broadcasters, amateur filmmakers, professional reporters, volunteers, and developers from diverse locations of our scattered linguistic region will be present.

Poster by Manufactura Independente (@ManufacturaInd). Analysis of the protests in Brazil on social networks, by Andrés Monroy-Hernández on Flickr (Creative Commons: BY-SA 2.0).

Click to see a larger version. Design: Manufactura Independente (@ManufacturaInd). Background image: Analysis of the protests in Brazil on social networks, by Andrés Monroy-Hernández on Flickr (Creative Commons: BY-SA 2.0).

The programme is mobile and stops off at three social and cultural intervention associations in Porto's city centre, bringing together collaborators and friends of Global Voices from various parts of Portugal, with participants from Brazil, São Tomé and Angola. At the end there will be cachupa from Cape Verde – a popular dish made from corn, beans and fish or meat – along with Brazilian music at the association Espaço Compasso [pt]. 

The meetup begins with an evening of cinema and a conversation about investigative journalism documentary Exposing the Invisible by the Tactical Technology Collective. This pre-event will happen at the Gato Vadio (Stray Cat) [pt] association and is part of an international film festival organised by Tactical Tech, which began 9 December and runs until the 15.

The meeting and the items dedicated to citizen journalism and new media in the Lusophone world will take place throughout Saturday afternoon on 14 December in Maus Hábitos (Bad Habits) [pt]. The meetup will run in conjunction with the monthly meeting of Transparência Hackday (Transparency Hackday), a Portuguese group which aims to make information freely available to the public and encourages the interaction of citizens with technology. That meeting has promised the disclosing of public expenditure data in Portugal, following the example of the platform launched by the Open Knowledge Foundation, Spending Stories.

Participation in the meetup is free, but registration is necessary and should be done through this link: [pt]. All information about location and events can be found on the programme [pt]. A private Facebook event is being used to introduce participants and topics for the meetup. 

Global Voices in the Community

Beginning in November and running until the end of 2013, Global Voices is organising a series of face-to-face meetups in six cities around the world. The Global Voices in the Community meetings are led and facilitated by members of Global Voices who live in and know the local communities where the meetings take place. 

In the last GVFace (the weekly forum of debates and conversations which Global Voices runs on Google Hangout) which took place on Friday, 6 December, the meetup organisers discussed the events that have already happened, with the Porto meetup the only one yet to take place. The conversation revolved around the theme, From online to offline: Recreating the virtual Global Voices world for real audiences. You can watch the discussion here

December 06 2013

#GVMeetup: Recreating the Virtual Global Voices World for Real Audiences

You've been reading their stories and have been following them on Twitter for years, but have you ever met the Global Voices authors and translators covering your countries?

This winter we launched our first official global in-person ‘meetups’ led and facilitated by Global Voices members, who live and know those local communities in six countries. 

And we are already half-way through!

They will be sharing their experiences of bringing the virtual Global Voices mission, energy and love to very real offline audiences in their countries.

In Karachi, Kampala, Cairo and Skopje dozens of participants have already met GV members who facilitated peer learning and knowledge sharing in the field of citizen media. And #GVMeetup facilitators are getting ready to woe audiences in Porto and Phnom Penh next!

More information on our Google + event page.



November 20 2013

The Accused of the Prestige Environmental Catastrophe in Spain Are Exonerated

Marea negra en una playa gallega. Foto de Wikimedia Commons con licencia CC by SA 3.0

Black slick at a Galician beach.  Photo from Wikimedia Commons used under license CC by SA 3.0

On the 13th of November 2002, the petrol tanker Prestige wrecked off the coast of Galicia, in northern Spain, causing a highly toxic oil spill to pollute Spanish and French coasts in what is considered one of the worst environmental disasters in seafaring history.

Eleven years later, after ten years of investigation and a nine month trial, the Galician High Court of Justice has acquitted the three defendants – ship's captain, Apostolos Mangouras, Chief Engineer, Nikolaos Argyropoulos, and ex-director of the Merchant Navy, José Luis López Sors – of all crimes against the environment. 

The catastrophe occurred when, due to unknown causes, one of the ship's oil tanks punctured close to the “Coast of Death.”  The ship's captain asked Spanish authorities for permission to dock, but was prohibited from bringing the tanker closer to the coastline for fear that the leakage would pollute the port.  He received the same response from Portuguese and French authorities.  The Prestige was forced to return to the high seas, with a cracked hull and in terrible weather conditions, which would later lead to its sinking and a serious environmental and economic catastrophe.


El petrolero Prestige a punto de hundirse tras partirse en dos. Foto del blog Ecología Verde con licencia CC by NC 3.0

The oil tanker, Prestige, about to sink after splitting in two.  Photo taken from the blog Ecología Verde and used under license CC by NC 3.0

According to the blog El ojo Sostenible [The Sustainable Eye, es],

  • La catástrofe del Prestige fue la mayor catástrofe de este tipo ocurrida en Europa y la segunda del mundo después de Exxon Valdez en Alaska.
  • 2.000 km de costa se vieron afectadas y entre 250.000 y 300.000 aves murieron.
  • El coste supuso más de 10.000 millones de euros.
  • The Prestige catastrophe was the largest of its kind in Europe and the second worldwide, following the Exxon Valdez in Alaska.
  • 2000 km of coastline were affected and between 250,000 and 300,000 seabirds killed.
  • Cleanup costs climbed to more than 10 billion Euros.

The sentence has reverberated nationally and internationally with publications suchas as Aljazeera [en], The Telegraph [en], The Times [en], BBC [en], The New York Times [en], Le Monde [fr] and Spiegel [de], among others, covering the topic.  In Spain, the court's decision has outraged citizens, who have expressed their frustration in social media networks.  In Twitter, “Prestige” has been a trending topic for several days.

 ”Prestige” case: From everyone to jail, to everyone free! Long live wine!

Han sido 10 años esperando la sentencia del Prestige. La Justicia es lenta, pero injusta.

Waiting 10 years for the Prestige sentence. Justice is slow, but unfair.

The Prestige committed suicide. 

Manel Fontdevila: No one found guilty in Prestige case.

Some tweets compared and contrasted the disparity between this sentence and others:

We're idiots in this country: A 200 Euro fine for a man eating a croissant while cycling, and nothing for the Prestige case.

Playing the #piano: noise contamination and seven years in prison. The #Prestige dumps 63,000 tons of oil and it isn't a crime #verguenzadejusticia [Disgraceful sentence]

No one guilty in the Prestige case; but for defending public education?  Four years jail #MarcaEspaña [indicate Spain] [es]

Iván Pandora, in his blog La Caja de Pandora [Pandora's Box, es] writes:

Un grupo de voluntarios trabaja, en la localidad de Muxía, en la limpieza del fuel vertido por el petrolero 'Prestige'. Foto de con licencia CC by SA

In the Muxía region, a group of volunteers works to clean up the oil dumped by the Prestige tanker.  Photo taken from and used under license CC by SA

Parece que el hecho de que ese barco (monocasco) – que según los expertos era muy anticuado y con medidas de seguridad más que precarias – tuviera permiso para navegar por las costas gallegas no es punible.

La controvertida decisión de alejar el barco y esparcir el fuel durante horas por toda la costa, tampoco.

La pésima gestión del gobierno y la lentitud por no decir inoperancia, parece que no merece ninguna disculpa oficial.


It seems the case is nonpunishable due to the that the fact that the ship – single-hulled and, according to experts, very old and equipped with more than precarious security measures – had permission to navigate through the Galician coastline.

Also nonpunishable, it seems, was the controversial decision to remove the tanker from the coastline, spreading oil throughout the area for hours.

The government's abominable management and slowness, if not uselessness, seem to be deserving of not a single official apology.

Blogger Juantxo López de Uralde laments that charges were never pressed against those principally responsible for the catastrophe:

Ya al juicio se llegó sin que ninguno de los responsables políticos reales de aquella tragedia se sentaran en el banquillo. (…) Pero no sólo nos llama la atención la falta de políticos, sino también hay que preguntarse cómo es posible que ninguno de los responsables del fuel, del flete, de las compañías propietarias del buque… se sentaran en el banquillo. Pero es muy doloroso que quede impune la negligencia criminal de aquellos que mandaron el barco “al quinto pino”.

The trial came to an end without a single person politically responsible for that tragedy sitting in the docks.  (…) Apart from the remarkable lack of politicians, we have to ask ourselves how it's possible that not one of those responsible for the fuel, the cargo, the shipping company…sat there in the docks.  But it's particularly painful that the criminal negligence of those who sent the tanker out to sea went unpunished.

The platform Nunca Máis has decided not to appeal the sentence and the region's fishermen's cooperative is considering the same, due to the very high legal fees involved [es].  According to El Confidencial [es], in this catastrophe, it's the taxpayers who lose out:

Voluntarios limpiando la playa de Carnota (La Coruña). Captura de pantalla del vídeo «Historias del Chapapote» con licencia CC by SA 3.0

Volunteers cleaning the beach at Carnota (La Coruña). Screen shot from the video «Historias del Chapapote» [Tar Stories] used by license CC by SA 3.0

La sentencia considera que los únicos tres procesados por el accidente no incurrieron en ningún delito, por lo que no se le puede exigir responsabilidad civil a nadie. La consecuencia más importante es que los seguros del armador no cubrirán los gastos que generaron las labores de regeneración de la costa. (…) La Fiscalía cifró en 4.328 millones de euros los gastos y los daños generados (…). Pero el dictamen anula cualquier reclamación económica.

The sentence considers the three defendants processed not guilty of charges, and for this reason, civil liability cannot be imposed upon anyone.  The most significant consequence is that the shipowner's insurance won't cover the costs incurred in the coastal cleanup.  (…)  The prosecutor quoted around 4.328 billion Euros in costs and damages (…).  But the ruling takes away any right to economic claims.

Costs could rise if French plans [es] to re-file the administrative review presented by the coastal protection trade union of Las Landas [French area affected by the spill] to the National High Court, days after the disaster, are successful.  Their lawyer, Renaud Lahitète says:

Lo presentamos al día siguiente de llegar fuel a nuestras costas por precaución, para poder actuar en caso de que se dictaminase que no había delito penal, como así lo dice ahora la sentencia.

We presented the review as a precaution the day after oil arrived on our shores, in order to be able to act in the case of no criminal offence being laid, just as the sentence now says.

Greenpeace Spain now considers the sentence to be “a white card allowing the petrol industry to put the environment, and citizens, at risk.”  The organization's campaign director, María José Caballero states [es]:

La sentencia demuestra que en España no estamos preparados para juzgar una catástrofe medioambiental, ni para condenarla, ni para defender el medio ambiente.

The sentence shows that in Spain we are not yet ready to try an environmental catastrophe [in the courts], neither to condemn it, nor to defend the environment.

In Muxía.

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

November 12 2013

Social Movements of Portugal Get Together to Debate Massive Protests

What is the purpose of the massive protests?”, a question that many Portuguese citizens have repeated since the economic crisis started, has become a motto for a Laboratory of Democracy organized by the non-profit association Academia Cidadã (Citizen Academy).

The “informal debate about the occupation of the public space in large scale demonstrations” in Portugal will take place on November 14, 2014, at The Nation Room – Embassy of No Land of 2013′s Architecture Triennale of Lisbon, and will be broadcast via livestream

O que muda no país quando centenas de milhares de pessoas se manifestam? Serve de alguma coisa dizer apenas que o caminho “não é por aí”? Se os políticos não ouvem de que serve perder um dia a gritar? E que alternativas e propostas têm os protestantes? Quem organiza as manifestações deve ser responsabilizado pela situações de violência? Ou a violência é a resposta possível ao estado a que chegámos? A polícia tem agentes infiltrados a criar agitação? 

What is the change that comes in the country when hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate? Is there any point to just [criticize and] say that the path [to follow] is “not that way”? If politicians do not hear, then why should one waste a day shouting? And which alternatives and proposals do protesters have? Those who organize demonstrations should be made responsible for the situations of violence? Or is violence the possible answer to the state that we have reached? Does the police use undercover agents to “agitate”?

Aiming at “helping to create political, economic and social alternatives to the austerity”, the debate, moderated by journalist São José Almeida, will bring together the main collectives that have mobilized massive protests in Portugal in the last years to share the ”defeats, achievements and challenges to the current ways of protesting”. Guests include members of the Geração à Rasca (“Scraping-By” Generation) protest that started the March 12 Movement back in 2011, Plataform October 15, Screw Troika!, and also the trade union federation CGTP (General Confederation of the Portuguese Workers).  More activities hosted by Academia Cidadã are planned until November 16.

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

November 07 2013

Bring Your Tapes: Welcome to the Post-Digital Era

Antifluffy and The FUTUREPLACES Impromptu All-Star Orchestra present Daft Phunk @ Maus Hábitos. Photo by Luis Barbosa

Antifluffy and The Futureplaces Impromptu All-Star Orchestra at Maus Hábitos, Porto, on November 2, 2013. Photo by Luis Barbosa for Future Places on Flickr (used with permission).

I was surprised to see remnants of magnetic tape on people's hair and clothing at the closing session of Future Places, a digital media festival in Porto, Portugal, reinvented this year as “media lab for citizenship”. Since 2008, the annual event has been hosted by the University of Porto in partnership with the University of Texas at Austin under a program called Collaboratory for Emerging Technologies.

Scholars, artists, musicians, scientists and technologists came together from October 28 to November 2, 2013 for a rich program that included a series of workshops, debates and performances, as well as a doctoral symposium on digital media.

The dark-tape character among the participants who caught my attention was Antifluffy, whose bio simply read “our glorious mascot”. I had the chance to “meet” this fictional character (created by art director and co-curator Heitor Alvelos) at the end of the show, and he was exhausted. Antifluffy had just wrapped his audience in VHS tape during an exercise on ‘post-digital’ immediatism.

The performance explored the idea that part of our past is recorded in analog form. The metaphor of the magnetic tape was also an invitation to consider magnetism between human beings. Can wrapping strangers in tape be a “visible rendition of human connections”? In a post-digital era, Antifluffy believes so.

Building on the concept of immediatism coined by insurrectionist philosopher Hakim Bey in a manifesto from 1994, Antifluffy invites us to partake in “non-mediated experiences” (such as a writing a letter by hand) because it's humanly and psychologically important to build bridges, encounter strangers, and explore new ground.

“The very idea that the future is digital is somehow dissipating. We have entered the post-digital [era] to an extent that there isn't even a possible separation anymore,” says Antifluffy. “Gadgets have entrenched themselves in our lives to an extent that it doesn't even make sense to think of them as being in their own space. They have already taken root in our daily lives.”

Interview with Antifluffy

Global Voices (GV): Who are you, Antifluffy?

Who is Antifluffy? Future Places poster by Manufactura Independente, concept: Heitor Alvelos

Who is Antifluffy? “Antifluffy contemplates a sea of ​​winter, a cold bleak landscape, a metaphor for contemporaneity, for the utopia that crumbled…” Concept: Heitor Alvelos. Poster for Future Places by Manufactura Independente.

Antifluffy (AF): I am a mascot of a media lab in Porto. I am an icon, because I have an image and a catchy name. And I am an idea about how the world can be better a place.

GV: Do you mean the real world or the digital world?

As Antifluffy I don't really make a distinction, it's all connected. Essentially what I try to convey is the thought that there is nothing really fundamentally different from new media if we don't consider its repercussions on the existential level. There is a kind of underlying determinism about media – and even what people call post-media – that is this road to go towards the future without actually considering what it is doing to us and what kind of choices we really have.

GV: Do you choose to be on social media?

Yes, of course, I should say that I have many Facebook accounts and many Twitter accounts in the sense that being an idea, I am essentially something that is in everyone's brains. Antifluffy is a way of describing a quality that every human being has that is called obliquity. It's the capacity that every human being has, intrinsically, to think outside-the-box, to innovate, to not just go with the flow, to not just let themselves be seduced by the mirror of everyday gadgets right away.

Ultimately Antifluffy is the belief that people can get a better deal out of what media is offering them. One thing that strikes me is to realize that we all have incredibly powerful tools at our disposal right now and yet it seems that rather than working in our favor they are acting against us, making us more anxious, more deterministic, more alienated.

Where is the healing aspect of new media? I haven't quite figured it out yet and I think we have a duty to find it and nurture it. Of course I am making a huge generalization, there are people doing something fundamentally right, but they are the exception rather than the rule…

We are the fluff

Participant of the citizen lab “We are the fluff” wrapped in magnetic tape. Photo by Luís Barbosa for Future Places (used with permission)

GV: Who is the “We” of the “We are the fluff” performance that has just happened

When I say “we” I mean ‘We human beings', ‘We creatures that happen to be alive in this moment'. I am an invitation for people to develop the obliquity they have within themselves. To reconsider the parameters of their connection with contemporary culture…

Antifluffy was partially inspired by a TV commercial for a mobile phone company that in my opinion represents a syndrome. The ad shows an abridged story of the 20th century, including among other things, historical footage of soldiers on the battlefield. The fact that a mobile company uses images of human beings that very likely didn't make it back home, and then says that the solution is to change your contract for a better deal, 4 cents a minute, is somehow going to do what? In terms of historical heritage, in terms of what our ancestors deserve?

Fluff is the kind of crap that says history can and should be revisited as a mechanism… for what? For fluff! It's just stuff!

GV: Earlier today I saw a crowd on the street led by an orchestra. What initially looked like a spontaneous musical performance was actually a sponsored (and filmed) event with the logo of a mobile company everywhere…

I am not against the fact that there are companies providing access to culture. I think that is absolutely fine, but what it seems to me right now is that it has all become a bit of a minefield. It used to be – or at least it seemed to be – easier to read the cultural and the social landscape, and at the moment it has all become very ambivalent. With those kind of experiences. You know, one little detail can suddenly shift the whole experience into a different territory, from the cultural to the commercial in this case. Not to say that bridges cannot be built, of course they can, but at what price?

GV: Would it be easier to get more people out to the streets in Porto every time there is an anti-austerity demonstration if the call for protest was sponsored by a brand?

The 15th of September, 2012, was a key moment to the understanding of what is going on socially in Portugal. On that day we had what a lot people say it was the biggest demonstration since the revolution of 1974. Avenida dos Aliados [Porto's main avenue, where the City Council is] was filled with hundreds of thousands of people protesting because the government was going to propose a nasty kind of tax. And the strange thing is that a mobile phone company was organizing an outdoor rave party that night.

Usually in my presentations I show two slides: one with the crowd filling out the Avenida dos Aliados at 3pm, and the next slide is the same crowd at Praça Filipa de Lencastre at 1am having beer and listening to some DJ. So what you are describing is actually what we already have. I am sure there was a connection between these two events that was planned.

But my concern is exactly this… what's the word, it's not polarization, but schizophrenia. Is this kind of schizophrenia in which you are either on party mode or on protest mode, and I don't think this is healthy. It's actually very damaging to our integrity as individuals.

It worries me that I don't see that many people proposing new social geometries. The only time when people all come together is to say NO. But what I never see is that same huge group of people proclaiming an alternative together as a whole.

Tape remnants at Maus Hábitos. Photo by Luis Barbosa for Future Places.

Tape remnants at Maus Hábitos. Photo by Luis Barbosa for Future Places (used with permission).

GV: Do you think that digital media can help bring people together to accomplish alternatives?

… I think the first condition for us to get out of this nasty situation is to rearrange the ways in which we connect… I mean how can we be healthy as individuals and as citizens if we keep being bombarded by all of these messages and images of a catastrophe and at the same time we get all this stuff which is all saying ‘Hey it's all great and fine and fun’ you know? There has got to be a middle way, there must be a way to harmonize these two schizophrenic moments. We are hostages of this polarization and being bombarded with the idea that it is all going down hill and then up the next minute. After the TV presenter reads all the tragic news – let's have a commercial break, and it's all about fluff, and love and iPads, and it's not healthy to listen to these messages.

GV: Are you fighting against these kind of alienating messages?

Despite the ‘anti’ in my name, I like to think of Antifluffy more as an invitation first of all, to optimism. You know there are things that will never be taken from us, and one of them is affection. Let's be generous with one another, let's value one another, let's not be afraid to say it. It's about optimism, it's about connecting, and it's also about not insulting people's intelligence. Antifluffy is a way of saying that some things take time to unravel, to be understood, they are complex. Let's take it easy, it's alright, you don't have to understand everything right away, as opposed to the vertigo that is happening on social media and in old media.

October 31 2013

Meetup with Global Voices!

gv-logo-below-square-144You may feel as if Global Voices community members are already longtime friends after being a regular reader of their posts and translations highlighting the online conversation in their countries. Perhaps you may also follow them on Twitter or are familiar with their digital projects and activities. Certainly these virtual connections can help make the world feel like a smaller place, but there is still something elemental about offline interactions that can only help strengthen these online bonds.

Throughout the months of November and December, we are organizing six global in-person ‘meetups’ led and facilitated by Global Voices members, who live and know those local communities.

However, these gatherings are much more than networking social events. They are opportunities for knowledge sharing, skills building, and future collaboration among peers who share similar missions.

Perhaps you have an idea for a citizen media outreach project and you want to find potential partners. Or you may want to learn new strategies for digital storytelling for a global audience. You can also learn more about Global Voices’ work and how to become a volunteer. These and much more may be a part of the half-day program.

The six cities for this first round of meet ups are:

Karachi, Pakistan – November 1, 2013
Cairo, Egypt – November 16, 2013
Kampala, Uganda – November 16, 2013
Skopje, Macedonia – November 30, 2013
Porto, Portugal – December 14, 2013
Phonm Penh, Cambodia – To be announced

These meetups are free to attend, but RSVPs are required. With each meetup, we will publish a post, as well as a Facebook Event invite with more details on how to sign up and the proposed agenda. This post will also be updated with these details. Special invitations will also be sent to previous applicants from our Rising Voices microgrant competitions, many of which come from these cities.

We're also launching a hashtag – #GVMeetup to follow along even if you one of these meetups are not scheduled for your city.

These six meetups are part of a pilot project to explore ways that our vast Global Voices community in all corners of the world can help facilitate peer learning and exchange among readers and other individuals and organizations in the field of citizen media. We hope to build upon this experience for more meetups in 2014!

In the meantime, for more information please write to rising [at] globalvoicesonline [dot] org

October 25 2013

Portugal Says “Thank You Troika”, Really?

“There are no dead ends – Screw Troika!” Poster of the national demonstration called for October 26. At the time of publishing of this post, 5,866 people had said on Facebook that they were going to the protest in Lisbon; 14 cities have organized events.

Subverting the discourse of austerity, a protest was held in Lisbon earlier this week to “thank” the International Monetary Fund, European Central Bank and European Commission for the ongoing measures to tackle the economic crisis in Portugal.

The protest took place on October 21, 2013, and gained the attention of mainstream media though journalists were surprised to find out that protesters were just being ironic:

De forma a: 1. mostrar, usando uma linguagem clara e sem subterfúgios o que realmente a troika e o governo querem, 2. tornar clarinho como água o que já sabiamos, que só 2% dos portugueses acredita que a austeridade está a funcionar; e 3. divulgar a manifestação de dia 26 de Outubro, o grupo Que se Lixe a troika, organizou este protesto recorrendo à ironia e ao humor.

Aiming at 1. showing, through a clear and direct language, what troika and the government really want; 2. making something we already knew crystal clear: that only 2% of the Portuguese believe austerity is working; and 3. spreading the word out about the protest called for October 26, the group Que se lixe a Troika (Screw Troika) organized this protest resorting to irony and humour.

In a video from October 21′s action you can hear messages of “support” such as ”485 euros a month?? Isn't that a bit too much? 150 or 200 would be just fine!” or:

We came here to thank Troika, to thank austerity, I believe we must get poorer, because not everyone can have rights, isn't it?

Check out the caption of the poster above for more information about the national protest called for October 26. 

October 24 2013

Future Places: Digital Media Tools for Citizenship

Future Places - Media Lab for Citizenship

Future Places: Media Lab for Citizenship. Website: | Facebook | Twitter: @futureplacespt

Future Places, a former digital media festival that is turning into a “media lab for citizenship” for its sixth edition, will take place in Porto, Portugal, from October 28 to November 2, 2013.

“A festival without an audience, where everyone who is present participates and discovers in real time ways of collaborating”, explained curator Heitor Alvelos in an inspiring closing note [pt] of 2012′s edition, recalling the ongoing motto since 2008 ”technology are potential tools for the emancipation of citizens”:

não subscrevemos o paradigma que está por detrás da instantaneidade vertiginosa e auto-referente dos gadgets digitais. Queremos usá-los, sim, mas recusamos a amnésia que muitas vezes transportam e induzem. Queremos simultaneamente honrar uma herança histórica, analógica, que atribui sentido e explica o que somos hoje; queremos cultivar a determinação que permite revoluções lentas, mudanças de paradigma a longo prazo; e participando em actos de contestação ao que é socialmente injusto, queremos simultaneamente propor. 

we do not endorse the paradigm that lies behind the dizzying instantaneity and self-reference of digital gadgets. We want to use them, yes, but we refuse the amnesia that they often carry and induce. We both honor a historic and analog inheritance which gives sense and explains what we are today; we want to cultivate the determination that allows for slow revolutions, paradigm shifts in the long term; and while actively contesting what is socially unjust, we want to simultaneously make proposals. 

The event will bring together scholars, artists, scientists and technologists for a week of practices and debate on digital media. A series of citizen labs will offer workshops on stopmotion, music, gaming, photography, and more.

Reposted bycheg00 cheg00

October 17 2013

Elderly Care in Portugal Highlighted on Blog Action Day

The Community Center of Gafanha do Carmo [pt], in Ílhavo, was highlighted by João Paulo Pedrosa as a positive example [pt] concerning elderly care in Portugal. On October 16′s Blog Action Day dedicated to human rights, the blogger, from Malfadado o Contestatário, started by questioning:

Quantas pessoas idosas vêem os seus direitos ignorados, esquecidos ou até espezinhados pelas outras pessoas? Quantas situações de miséria, quanta falta de respeito… quanto abandono. 

How many old people have their rights ignored, forgotten or even trampled by other people? So much misery, so much lack of respect… so much abandonment.

And then he shared a video from this institution where, he believes, “seniors are treated as they deserve”:

Check out Centro Comunitário da Gafanha do Carmo's Youtube channel.

“Wherever men are condemned to live in misery, human rights are violated. To unite to have them complied to is a sacred duty,” Father Joseph Wresinski. Cartas do meu moinho blog shared a photo of Lisbon´s replica of a tombstone in honor of the victims of human misery inaugurated on October 17, 1987, in Paris, Plaza of Human Rights and Liberties.

Other bloggers went international. Taking on Amnesty International's resources for Blog Action Day, maisk3d and Viagem das Letras shared the video ‘How to forcibly effect a community in 5 easy steps‘. Bruno Duarte Eiras from Entre Estantes, shared ’The Movement to End Modern Slavery‘, by Walk Free. Maria João, Duas e Muitos, posted a cartoon on human rights by Zen Pencils.

Belinha Fernandes wrote a few tips on how to start acting locally if you care about human rights and pointed out the upcoming 14th Youth Work meeting of Amnesty International – Portugal, taking place in November in Albufeira.

October 16 2013

Portugal: A Digital Narrative Around Food, Crisis and Territory

Screenshot of the website -

“Returning architecture back to the city” — Screenshot of the website (also on Facebook).

The historical Mouraria neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal, can now be explored in a ground breaking web documentary, Mundo Mouraria. In a true digital narrative form, the documentary makes a map available to help visitors wander the streets, sounds and flavors of Mouraria while getting to know the stories of six local dwellers. Its synopsis reads:

Here is a handful of interrogations: What does it mean to inhabit? What is the dialog between space and life solutions for the here and the now (the ‘crisis’)? 

Miloca, Joaquim and Nina are the human geography of dreams. Or better, they are evidence: the geography is (also) dreams and the space of now is already being nourished – literally – through the hopes of a future. A clandestine Guinea, a Latin America for hymns, a Portugal with self-employment.

Precious lesson taught to us by Rita and Leader: To preserve is to reinvent. Language, work, knowledge, knowledge transformed into flavors.

Salvino is memory-geography. All the Callicians of his generation have already left or died. He is here to look straight into our eyes in the presented perfect of “has beens”, “has comes” and “has hads” which are historic proof of existence.

And life always surprises the route: Mundo Mouraria, should be understood as worlds, as plural. The global world at every corner, in local answers to challenges that are out there, somewhere in the global undefined.

Mundo Mouraria was launched on October 15, 2013 at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, and marks the debut of the recently launched co-op Bagabaga Studios. Paulo Querido, a leading figure of online journalism in Portugal, has described [pt] this multimedia narrative as “pioneer in the history of Portuguese journalism”. 

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