I live in Lisbon! I live right in the center of Lisbon! I also work in the center of Lisbon, in Mouraria and Castelo. Everything is red hot. There are tourists everywhere. The houses continue to be dedicated to Local Accommodation. I don’t expect in the next decade to have permanent residents in my parishes, unless they change their temporary housing lease policies.
Yesterday I opened several news sites and was amazed. I asked myself: What is happening in Portugal? What’s going on in Lisbon? What will our future be?
The news seems to be scary. For a little while, think about reading news taken from western movies. A first piece of news reported the insecurity in Bairro Alto, as there were crowds of people every night – but this is nothing new – accompanied by violence, stabbings, drug trafficking, gangs, etc. What did the police say on the news? It’s a complex situation and you can’t control it.
I open another website and see that right inside my parish there is a situation of persecution of shopkeepers by an Asian gang – from Bangladesh – that extorts money from shopkeepers. On another site, I see that there is a problem with the Brazilian mafia that is seeking dominance in the night, in drug trafficking and prostitution.
No wonder… I don’t need to open newspapers or websites. It’s enough to pass through Lisbon and see that every corner on the main roads contains drugs for me – which isn’t even drugs. When I ask why they don’t do anything, he tells me I can’t do anything!
Last week I was at home, praying, at one in the morning and I hear gunshots and a bomb… I go to the window! All neighbors at the window. We all wonder what happened. A van passes uphill, exactly in the opposite direction of the traffic. A bunch of people beating… What happened? Nobody knows …
The country is facing a very serious social problem. Many people are looking to survive and look for places that provide food to put on the table. Really not having food to put any plates on is an unimaginable drama for me.
If not having access to food is a drama that puts us in very vulnerable situations, I see that not having security is of no less importance, that is, we need to feel fed and safe. If we don’t have security, a fear is created in us that makes it impossible for us to live our normal lives.
What is happening? Why are these processes of violence growing? Completely out of control in the city of Lisbon?
This is not something new in Europe. We, in Lisbon, are still somewhat protected, but in a way, it’s the price we have to pay for international fame…
It is an international and deeply urban phenomenon. But it is a phenomenon that is growing, not because of tourism, not because of emigration, not because of foreigners, but because we have stopped caring for young people and have assumed a naive attitude towards the human heart.
We began to believe that ‘when someone is born, he is born wild, he is nobody’s’ – as the song says – and this led us to neglect the spiritual and ethical education of the youngest. Evil is no longer punished by religion – which no longer forces any in Western societies – nor by society. It is then that we see that greed, envy, backbiting, violence, murder grow in every man’s heart.
Jesus says in the gospel that there is nothing that is outside of man that when entering man makes him unclean, because it is from within man’s heart that all envy, backbiting, adultery are born…
Everything is born from the heart of man and we can make the strictest and most punitive laws, the subway a policeman on every corner, but if we don’t take care of the heart, the western will continue.