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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Robert Fisk’s World: Back to Portugal, where once there was revolution in the air

Western countries can be divided into those who fear an Islamic take-over (France, Britain, Germany, the United States) and those who like boasting that they threw the Muslims out of their lands (Serbia, Spain and Portugal).

Lisbon still flaunts a statue of one of its greatest Muslim-bashers – Good winning against Evil, of course – and Alfonso I declared himself king after biffing the Moors in 1139. The last army of the Muslims who had created the paradise of Spanish Andalusia was finally chucked out of the Alentejo 110 years later. The Moorish citadel – now the Castle of St George – survived the 1755 earthquake and it's good to remember that Lisbon itself was once a Phoenician city. Long live Lebanon.

My Portuguese publisher, Pedro Bernardo, takes a more short-term view. If Portugal had not been in Euroland, it would have suffered the fate of Iceland, he insisted: bankrupt, ignored, chastised, subject even to Britain's anti-terrorist laws as UK citizens tried to get their money back....


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