Fernando Balseca: Centennial Saramago | Columnists | Opinion

The thought and writing of the Portuguese writer José Saramago (1922-2010) is so universal that it can be affirmed that, at this precise moment, he is speaking to us, since his literary work has an incredible capacity to investigate the human being and its contradictions. His narrative art always presents paradoxical situations that force readers to break their spheres of belief to embrace other perspectives on the world we share. In his work, for example, the Iberian Peninsula is geographically separated from Europe and drifts to the south; or an official story can be changed with a word.

His novels call to imagine a very human Jesus Christ, all too human; they tell of a society suffering from an epidemic of blindness; they teach the paradoxes when a man finds his exact double and no longer knows who is who; they show the strength and intelligence of the citizens who decide to punish bad politicians with blank votes; they paint the vicissitudes of crazy companies such as moving an elephant, in the 16th century, walking all over Europe; They question our responsibility for the lives of others when they verify that a strike has never been declared in an arms factory.

Saramago embodies the writer who knows he is finite, gifted with the gift of words and endowed with a talent that he cultivated with determination.

But Saramago not only wrote novels, short stories, poems and plays, but whenever he could, he questioned – in his public interventions, interviews, conferences, statements – why humanity fails to build a more just and equitable society, a true community that collaborates collectively in the search for an extended and harmonious social peace, and that effectively shows concrete advances in the quality of life of all. In these days of electoral climate, we Ecuadorians are touched by what Saramago expressed in 2004 in Buenos Aires: “When a politician lies, he destroys the basis of democracy.”

What does that have to do with us? Everything, especially because the political and economic powers third-world Ecuador daily with their corrupt, unfair, lying, deceitful and deceitful practices, while, on the other hand, the citizenry does not decide to participate more and better with what corresponds to them: to seek firmly a common vision of peace and progress, in which what brings us together as citizens counts more than what separates us as groups with different identities. That is why Saramago warned about the authoritarian temptation of political power that finds ways to corrupt economic power.

Saramago’s moral authority comes from the earth, from the ground (in Azinhaga, his native village, he walked barefoot until he was fourteen years old), as he grew up in a precarious environment together with his maternal grandparents, shepherds who gave him the best of their patience and wisdom. In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998, Saramago gave a lesson in impressive lucidity and simplicity, making both a virtue inherited from his wise grandparents. Saramago embodies the writer who knows he is finite, gifted with the gift of words and endowed with a talent that he, without a doubt, cultivated with determination. Saramago is a great centenary. (EITHER)

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Fernando Balseca: Centennial Saramago | Columnists | Opinion