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Blood and paper | Opinion

“Portuguese nationality is on sale!” André Ventura’s remarks to the Assembly of the Republic where he clarified his political thinking, in a proposal for a decree-law that he proposed to present: only “prime ministers, ministers, secretaries of state, persons of Portuguese nationality of origin ”may be elected. That is to say the children of a Portuguese mother or father, born in Portugal, or of Portuguese parents born abroad, if the parent is in the service of the State, or the children of parents who have been legally in Portugal for at least two years, if, and this “if” is essential, they do not have another passport …

For a man born after April 25, it is surprising that his political thought fits into the framework of a Portugal of the Salazarist era, closed in on itself, a country opposed to change and modernity. If André Ventura has not noticed it yet, the world has globalized, the planetary circulation of people and goods has become generalized and all countries are increasingly interdependent at all levels, including these. even who today have at least two passports in significant numbers. Having several nationalities, being cosmopolitan, does not mean devaluing or losing the place where we are born and grow up, where history, culture and language mark us indelibly. But apparently, for André Ventura, nationality is above all blood and paper.

Perhaps the new Portuguese candidate for the savior of the fatherland wants to go even further and also intends to republish the medieval laws of “Blood Cleaning”. Adopted in Toledo, in 1449, the laws called “statutes of blood cleansing” were, at the time, instituted to prohibit the access of the “new Christians” to the public functions, to privileges and to honors, since the laws anti- Jews are no longer applied to them. applied. Blood, not religion, thus became the deciding factor.

From Spain, this practice will pass later to Portugal, where the blood test of “purification” becomes an indispensable condition to reach the honors and the important functions, and the new Christian origin is an infamous social mark. This legislation will put an end to the Marquis de Pombal only at the end of the 18th century, more precisely on May 25, 1773, when any distinction between new Christians and old Christians will be definitively abolished.

From André Ventura’s point of view, I don’t know if Jorge Sampaio would have enough “pure” blood to be President of the Republic…

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In fact, blood cleansing laws anticipate racial anti-Semitism in the 19th century which will have tragic consequences in the 20th century. Whereas a genetic ancestry, even if it is very distant, leaves an indelible and perpetual mark, reflects a racist way of thinking. Phrases such as “defiled” and “unclean,” used to qualify new Christians at the time, contain the seeds of the essential idea of ​​contemporary racism and anti-Semitism.

We will say that this has nothing to do with the legislation proposed by André Ventura. In fact, nothing in your proposal is related to the religious question, but the principle is the same: to discriminate on the basis of blood; evaluate a person on the basis of their genes and not their ability, honesty and dedication to the country of which they have a nationality, even if they are not “of origin”.

From André Ventura’s point of view, I don’t know if Jorge Sampaio would have enough “pure” blood to be President of the Republic; or Kruz Abecassis, mayor of Lisbon; or Arons de Carvalho, secretary of state, and Diana Ettner, assistant to the secretary of state to former justice minister Alberto Costa … and the list would certainly go beyond the characters I have for this article . Another little addition that relieves me a lot: with this law, I, who was born and have lived a large part of my life in Portugal, could never apply for any of these positions. My parents, Polish by origin and Portuguese by naturalization, had more than one passport …

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