GVINEJA BISAO – GUINEA BISSAU – GUINÉ BISSAU

Bolnica-The hospital

Bolnica-The hospital

Crkva u Bisau-A church in Bissau

Crkva u Bisau-A church in Bissau

Moderna kuca-A modern house

Moderna kuca-A modern house

Na pijaci suvenira-At the souvenir market

Na pijaci suvenira-At the souvenir market

Narodna skupstina-The National Assembly

Narodna skupstina-The National Assembly

Rusevina stare predsednicke palate-The ruins of the old Presidential Palace

Rusevina stare predsednicke palate-The ruins of the old Presidential Palace

Spomenik nacionalnom heroju Amilkaru Kabralu-A monument to the national hero Am+şlcar Cabral

Spomenik nacionalnom heroju Amilkaru Kabralu-A monument to the national hero Am+şlcar Cabral

Stara kuca iz kolonijalnih vremena-Old house from the colonial times

Stara kuca iz kolonijalnih vremena-Old house from the colonial times

U glavnoj ulici-On the main road

U glavnoj ulici-On the main road

Ispred aerodroma-In front of the airport

Ispred aerodroma-In front of the airport

Jedini pristojan hotel u gradu-The only decent hotel in the city

Jedini pristojan hotel u gradu-The only decent hotel in the city

Mala dzamija u gradu-A small mosque in the city

Mala dzamija u gradu-A small mosque in the city

Stare kuce iz kolonijalnih vremena-Old houses from the colonial times

Stare kuce iz kolonijalnih vremena-Old houses from the colonial times

Uvek se obradujem kad čujem portugalski jezik u bilo kojoj od pet portugalskih kolonijanih teritorija u Africi: Angola, Mozambik, Sao Tome i Principe, Zelenortska ostrva i Gvineja Bisao. Nekako je tamo sve drugačije, od mentaliteta, do muzike koja se pretežno sastoji od, nama bliskih, brazilskih ritmova. U tim zemljama osećam se kao „kod kuće“, mnogo više nego u ostalim delovima Afrike. Osećam se sigurnije, narod je prijatniji i mnogo manje od ostalih opseda došljake da nešto kupe.

Tako je i u Gineji Bisao koja je dugo trpela pretešku sudbinu represivnog portugalskog režima, oslobađanje od kolonijalnog ropstva, revolucionarne dane u kojima je postala simbol i inspiracija drugih revolucija u svetu. Ipak, njen idejni vođa, pokretač i inspirator, Amilkar Kabral, nije doživeo oslobođenje svoje zemlje, već su ga samo godinu dana pre toga, 1973. godine, ubili agenti portugalskog diktatora Salazara, koji je ubrzo svrgnut. Tada je zemlja, među poslednjima u Africi, postala nezavisna. Nažalost, njena agonija diktatura i vojnih pučeva nastavila se i narednih trideset godina, što je ostavilo kao tužne posledice, ekonomsku pustoš, razrušene i nikad obnovljene zgrade, opšte siromaštvo. Možda se situacija malo promeni u vreme karnevala u februaru, a zatim ponovo skoro sve zamre.

Zaista, retko postoji nešto što bi posetiocu skrenulo pažnju u šetnji glavnim gradom, koji se naziva Bisao. Možda samo dva spomenika Kabralu, predsednička rezidencija razrušena u poslednjem građanskom ratu ili ostaci kolonijalnih portugalskih kuća. Čak i suveniri izgledaju obično jer je za njihovu izradu potrebna inspiracija, koja, izgleda, svima nedostaje. Nema ni ko da ih kupi, jer su turisti ovde veoma retka pojava. Najlepša zgrada u zemlji je hotel Bissau Palace, u kome boravim, i to je sve. Tropski arhipelag Bižagos ostaje skoro nedostupan, bez osnovne infrastrukture, a njegove plaže, među najlepšima u svetu, potpuno su prazne. A to je bilo mesto na kome su se iskrcali prvi strani doseljenici pre više od petsto godina, osnovali svoje kolonije, jer ih je opčinila lepota afričkih ostrva i tu ostali.

Danas, više skoro nikoga nema. Revolucije uzimaju svoj danak.

Februar 2010.
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I am always pleased when I hear Portuguese language in any of the five Portuguese former colonial territories in Africa: Angola, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau. Everything is somehow different there, from people’s mentality to the music, which usually comprises Brazilian rhythms to which our ear is attuned. I feel ‘at home’ much more in these countries than in other African countries. I feel more at ease, the people are more pleasant and do not pursue you to buy things off them as much as in other African countries.

It is like this in Guinea Bissau, which suffered for a long time from the repressive Portuguese regime, then went through the period of liberation from the colonial slavery in a revolution that inspired many others and became a symbol of freedom fighting. However, its ideological leader, revolutionary father and instigator, Amílcar Cabral, did not live to see the liberation of his country, as he was killed in 1973, just a year before the liberation, by the agents of the Portuguese dictator Salazar, who was himself ousted only a year later. Then finally this country became independent, among the last in Africa. Unfortunately the agony of dictatorships followed by coups d’etat continued for another 30 years, leaving in their wake sad consequences: economic wasteland, destroyed and never repaired buildings, widespread poverty. Perhaps, things start looking up a little bit around the time of the February carnival and afterwards everything is dead again.

Indeed, there is nothing really to attract visitors’ attention when walking around the capital, Bissau. Perhaps the two monuments devoted to Cabral, the Presidential palace destroyed in the last civil war, or the remainders of Portuguese colonial houses. Even the souvenirs look sad, because to make them look interesting inspiration is needed, and that seems to be lacking all around. And there is no one to buy them because tourists are very rare here. The best looking building in the country is the hotel called Bissau Palace where I am staying, and that’s about it. Tropical Bijagós archipelago remains almost out of reach because of a lack of infrastructural and its beaches, among the most beautiful in the world, remain deserted. And that was the very place where more than 500 years ago the first colonizers disembarked, and bewitched by the beauty of the African islands they remained and established their settlements.

Today there is almost no one there. Revolutions take their toll.

February 2010

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