The decolonization process was poorly done (among many things: the rights of the citizens that lived in African territories, and considered themselves Portuguese, were not clear in the decolonization agreement; Portugal failed to offer collaterals against the properties that its citizens owned in African [so after the decolonisation many lost all their possessions and returned to Portugal empty handed]; and they passed on the government of the territories to unprepared people, without setting up a transitional government, ignoring thus the consequences of such a reckless act).
Portugal let down the Children of its empire.
The soldiers that fought in the overseas war: These children of the empire fought to defend their nation’s imperialistic sovereignty; came back defeated, with psychological and physical scars and, what did Portugal do? It didn’t give them any support; it didn’t recognise their job, their sacrifices, their patriotic duty; it didn’t even compensate them as it has been promising for years – they will die and still not see a dime.
The African assimilated: These children of the empire… when arriving to Portugal, after the decolonisation, had to go through a naturalisation process even though they had documents stating that they had been Portuguese all their lives.
The Portuguese who lived in Africa: These children of the empire lost everything they had built in the African territories, and by decree of the vengeful new African leaders they had to leave the countries (where many had grown up in) in 24 hours, being allowed to carry only 20kgs of all their possessions – this operation was called 24/20. Upon their arrival to Portugal they were labelled as “Os Retornados” (the returning ones), and classified as second class citizens.
Interestingly enough they (along with the assimilated) were the ones who cleaned and developed Portugal (for when they arrived there, Portugal was a pitiful country whose capital was surrounded by slums – which didn’t exist in their African nations prior to 1975 – and didn’t have high buildings, which existed already, for example, in Mozambique).
The Children of the children of the empire: They grew up listening to how despicable Portugal was in 1975-1977; how in Africa Coca-cola existed for ages (Mozambicans were called “The Coca-colas”), and Portugal ignored what it was all about (note: it only had Coca-cola in 1984); and how socialism had ruined the work of their parents in the African territories…
These kids have a mix of love and hate for Portugal. Love because they know nothing else but their own country; and hate because of what it did to their parents.
The Portuguese way of dealing with the decolonisation: Anyone questioning it is a fascist. Not to teach it in our schools, thus proving to not have pride in its History. To Hope that everyone will obliterate it as time goes by.
However the Children of the Empire will never let the Portuguese dark page of history die. They will pass it on to their children, the children of their children and the children of their children’s children.