The Maria Veleda Award, instituted by the Regional Directorate of Culture of the Algarve to highlight and recognize the cultural activity of Algarve personalities, protagonists of particularly relevant and innovative interventions in the region, was delivered this Saturday to Margarida Tengarrinha, in an emotional ceremony that took place in the Great Auditorium of the Municipal Theater of Portimão.
In the room were many family, friends, students and admirers of Margarida Tengarrinha. The session featured two musical moments, one by the duo “ViolinAcordeão” (João Pedro Cunha and Gonçalo Pescada), the other with the orchestra of young violinists from the Joly Braga Santos Conservatory, in Portimão.
A 17-minute documentary about Margarida Tengarrinha was also shown for the first time, in which she recalls her 86-year life, rich in stories, struggles and conquests. This documentary, which is the result of almost five hours of conversation recorded with the winner, will now be part of the database of the new website of the Regional Directorate of Culture.
In the end, Alexandra Rodrigues Gonçalves, regional director of Culture, presented the prize to the first recipient, symbolized by a trophy in cork, designed by Pelcor.
Here are the images of the ceremony, as well as, after the photo gallery, the speech of thanks given by Margarida Tengarrinha.
Speech by Margarida Tengarrinha, in full:
«First of all, I would like to address to the Regional Directorate of Culture and the jury, who deemed me worthy of this award, my heartfelt thanks. And if I say "moved" it is not a matter of fussiness, but because I have reached an age when, naturally, in the depths of ourselves, we take stock of the life we live, and when others (and well qualified) it is valued, the assurance that we are not living in vain becomes greater.
For giving me this strength, thank you! I believe that whoever has the eagerness to live and also the necessary courage to cut along the paths foreseen and take other unknown and dangerous ones, must feel how I felt two impulses in opposite directions; go or stay.
I remember that, still very young, Rimbaud wrote that “I wanted to experiment as much as possible and with the greatest intensity”. I added to that thought «and also with the greatest utility».
And that was the first reason that led me to launch an intense struggle for Peace, in a world devastated by War in which new dangers arose, such as the two atomic bombs dropped by the USA on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
We were young and we wanted a better world, in a Portugal where poverty was raging, dominated by a small group of big monopoly financiers and landowners.
We were young and we wanted freedom, because we were smothering in a Portugal dominated by all fears: Women were disregarded to the point of being taken from them fundamental rights and treated as a minor; ubiquitous Censorship cut news from newspapers, impeded plays, forbade the publication of books through the narrow grid of an index as fierce as those of the old Inquisition; the political police, the PIDE, was a sinister spider, which, informed by its network of snorts and informers, used the weapons of the most ferocious repression, arrests, tortures and murders, but also another no less effective weapon, which was to take the bread to adversaries; and it strangled all the media of culture that we young people were greedy for.
So, there was only one way – the fight!
The struggle that, after 48 years, with the MFA's front and massive popular support, brought about the 25th of April of Freedom and Democracy. But there is still much to be done in this country where, this year, more than 390 unemployed lost their right to unemployment benefit; where more than 52 children have lost their right to family allowances and one in three children lives on the brink of extreme poverty; where more than 5 people lost the right to social integration subsidy; where the SNS is increasingly degraded; and education and culture are cast to the very last plane of the fundamental needs of the individual; where women suffer such violence that this year 39 were murdered by their partners.
For all this, it is clear to me that there is only one way – continue the fight!
Second, receive the Award «Maria Veleda» has a particular meaning for me, as I have always considered her the bravest and most coherent revolutionary among the women who fought for the Republican Revolution.
When Ana de Castro Osório casually referred to Maria Veleda in an article in the newspaper “O Tempo” in May 1911, she said that Maria Veleda “had openly declared herself anti-suffragist, anti-feminist and exclusively free-thinking”.
Maria Veleda refuted many of these and other statements, saying: “if women are recognized as having the right to vote, it is inconsistent to claim it only for those who have a degree or can be considered intellectuals. If a woman has the right to vote, she must have it on equal terms with a man; and in this sense, we declare ourselves “suffragists”… although this attitude conflicts with our ideal, – because we want to defend the woman of the people against all aristocracies – the aristocracy of diplomas, the aristocracy of talent and the aristocracy of money».
Maria Veleda was convinced of the importance of raising the cultural level and social awareness of women, which led her to give literacy classes to working women; engaged in the fight against “white slavery”; took an active role in founding the childhood tutoring, in which he worked from the beginning; and, being herself a single mother, she gave them particular support, within the scope of the Liga Republicana das Mulheres Portuguesas. When the League split into two large groups, that of conservative women and that of radical women, they elected it president of the latter group.
She was fully aware that the defense of women's rights is inextricably linked to the general struggle for freedom and democracy.
It is the same conviction that the Women's Democratic Movement, to whom I am grateful for having proposed my candidacy, maintains today, because the more developed a society and the more progressive the ideals that guide it, the greater and broader are the rights of women. . For the struggle for social progress is also the best defense of women's rights. For all this, the fight goes on!
December 6, 2014»