Writings

We're not afraid of no ghosts


The picture here depicts pretty accurately one of the reasons why I live in the Algarve. Besides me not being afraid of no ghosts, it carries a message to the local authorities that I fully sign on to.
The picture is from one of our local beaches, one that we often slept in when living in the camper. There are many beaches around here, some more regulated and frequented by the tourists and those that like a bit of civilized comfort while tanning. Those beaches have a toilet and an asphalt parking and a little bar or restaurant attached to them. Then there are the wild beaches, where you very often have to abuse your car in order to go, where peeing and pooing has to take place in the bushes and where you bring your own snacks and beverages to. These beaches are the ones where the surfers, the hippies and the retired north europeans set up camp and one of the beautiful things about these temporary caravan parks is that it creates little temporary van communities where you always have neighbours to borrow sugar or a hammer from, and feel slightly more sheltered by numbers when you go to sleep. 
This beach where Mr Ghostbuster appeared a few days ago, was all of a sudden changed from being a camper friendly haven, with a big lawn where we used to park, to an asphalt clad parking space with poles in the ground to prevent vans from getting in. No beach bar or toilet, the new construction was only a parking, with poles and a bunch of forbidden to signs.
In many other parts of the world, the restrictive measurement by the authorities would just make the crowd who used to sleep there give up and with a curse or two under their breath, silently take their camping experience elsewhere. But not here. After the restricitons were put in place it only took a couple of months before there was business as usual. Poles were moved, signs ignored and the community of campers where once again settled in. A very quiet non violent protest wtih only a beautifully painted ghost to signal with a peaceful middle finger what was felt about this new attempt at order.

In order to fully appreciate this little act of defiant rebellion one must understand the reason for it. Now I am no stranger to rules and regulations, remember I grew up in a country that the only rule is that there has to be rules, and many, so I have witnessed both the effectivness and lunacy of that system, but always tolerated it (well, most of it anymways...) because I saw that behind, were a government who even though not always succesful tried to make things better for the inhabitants of the country. I could see my tax kronors at work and that to some extent silenced the little punk inside.
But down here it's a different story. Here corruption runs rampant, is seen and felt in everyday life and everyone here knows that they are under a government who are more concerned with fattening their own retirement funds than taking care of it's citizens so by the law of 'so above so below', this way of conducting affairs with only self interest at heart, trickles all the way down to local authorities and to the common man, who by not being helped or supported by his government, feels that he has no other choice than to replicate their behaviour.

Corruption corrupts.

Now, the economic climate is such that nobody really has the time or energy to fight the fight. We're all too tired to just try to make ends meet and I suppose the Portuguese feel demoralized, it's after all a people who very recently overthrew a dictatorship and thought they had found freedom in democracy, to only some years later once again find themselves being subjects to another form of dictator, the one of greed.

So when new rules and new restricitons are being introduced we naturally view them with suspicion, guessing, almost always correctly, that the measure introduced is one where there is a corrupt intention behind, some rich guy is getting richer. But instead of going to the media, or your local officials where you know that you to no avail will voice your concern, the Algaveans simply conduct their own silent protests, simple, quiet acts of defiance. Moving some poles to park and painting on top of the no parking signs, because they know that to stick it to the man, the only resource left is to consistently overrule the folly of his decisions and engage in a bit of healthy civil disobedience. I like that. I like that a lot. Seems like a good idea for the world large to latch on to and show those of our leaders who are driven by greed that they can not rule over our lives anymore, that we will not tolerate their unintelligent, 'only out of self interest' kind of decisions, their ghost like presence hovering over our lives is not wanted, not needed.


It rhymes very well with my own philosophy of self reliance and independent thinking. Not resorting to blame 'them', but simply taking matters in your own hands and as long as nobody gets hurt in the process claim independence, not just silently comply to unintelligent descicion making and show them that although we know they want us to be wary, cautious and scared, we are simply not afraid of no ghosts.

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