Friday, 31 March 2017


Who remembers playing cowboys and indians in their childhood? I thought this was a long time ago but yesterday I saw this kid with a homemade bow and arrow, this bent branch, with a tightened rope throwing a stick as far as 5 metres... there is still hope... not everyone is looking at a 5.5" screen. 

We used to spend hours on end on the street, in our estate, 2 dozens of kids making war and peace. The game had these fuzzy rules, two bands, one of cowboys and another of indians, all heavily "armed" with bows and arrows, spears, toy revolvers and rifles for the ones that had wealthier parents, some with "real" hats and frilly trousers, and even boots, others with just chequered shirts and shorts. Most of the indians' fighting hardware was made of giant reeds (arundo donax) a very abundant material. Some were cut to rifle size and, with a few cloth pegs, could imitate a G3 machine gun we used to hear about as standard issue for the Portuguese Army in the colonial war in Africa. There were several continuity problems at the time, with machine gun vocalised sound effects, the odd Al Capone pistol and Thomson sub machine gun 50 round magazine (yes there was one of those too)

The rules of the game I can remember, were similar to a collective hide and seek. The indians would go and settle camp somewhere, then the cowboys would follow on a scout job trying to track and ambush any random indian they could find. If an indian was ambushed at less than say 5 paces (s)he had to stop. The rule was reciprocal. If the distance was bigger, then the potential hostage could run away back to the camp or quarter. Everyone was a referee on this matter, always resolved promptly by both parties.

And then the shout of "Hands up!"... surprising the potential captive... followed by the question:

"Do you surrender?"

No answer was required for this question. Surrendering, becoming a captive or prisoner was an inherent part of the game. Sometimes picked up by the arm, others with the wrists tied with rope for more authenticity, others with handcuffs (continuity fail again...) There was even this case when two were captured and, as there was not enough people to bring both, one was tied onto a tree and soon forgotten, in the heat of the battle. He was released, in tears, much later by an adult passer-by.

It was just like that, no arguing, just surrender, trust the captor, becoming a captive was part of the game, without it there was no reason to play it.

Why all this? Let's roll on 50 years later, now! I look at people that passes by, television characters, people that argue, shouting at each other, looking at couples, young and old relationships... No one surrenders anymore. Surrendering is now shameful, has become a sign of weakness, failure, loss of independence. Maybe too many WWII stories of Japanese soldiers for which becoming a prisoner was the ultimate shame, the kamikaze, the very polite new rule of war made by the Geneva Convention, maybe the behaviour of quite a few recent captors. But somehow, when I recall my game, it never crossed my mind, when becoming captive, that I was less than my captors, we were all equals regardless of our warring status. That was the case for many centuries in a lot of conflicts. This is now lost and it is no surprise, that the war on terror is not working, because it is not a war... it is just terror, from both parties. There is no equality, just disdain... for life.

Maybe it is that never explained proverb "all is fair in love and war". I don't know how old it is, but it comes across as a very recent one. Not surrendering, invoking independence, is a lie as it has nothing to do with independence and all with suspicion. You are suspicious of the person you claim to love and it is on that basis, that you promise to build an everlasting relationship. Independence and suspicion go hand in hand nowadays.

And yet... you surrender every day. You do it! You surrender when you sign that employment contract, when you press "I Agree" on your phone to accept Google's or Apple's EULA, or that app you bought, that Vodafone price plan, that train ticket, you do it every day hundreds of times... and why? Just like in my childhood game... you assume that you are an equal, that you will be treated fairly, that those entities are intrinsically trustworthy. But if it is your partner, the tax man, the police, the Chancellor, oh no, they cannot be trusted. "(S)He cannot be trusted", how many times do you hear this every day applied to a relationship? No, for us the words of Winston Churchill will always resound in our ears:

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender!

I much prefer the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupery in The Little Prince:

“I am looking for friends. What does that mean... tame?"
"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. "It means to establish ties."
"To establish ties?"
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world....” 

So next time you start a new relationship (and statistically that will be a sure bet), when getting into that stage you need to utter the words "Do you love me?" just ask instead:

"Do you surrender?"

And if there is an answer... just go.

1 comment:

  1. Ah Paulinho, brilhante! Completamente "surrendida" :-) Beijos



Abbey Act of Union Al Murray Al Qaeda al-Hilli Aldi algorithm Alistair Darling amateurs Amazon Andy Burnham Angela Merkel Apple Apprentice USA Arabic Aramaic avarice bad accounting bank Bank of America Bank of England bankers banks Barack Obama Barclays Bank Barrabas battered wife BBC beef Big issue Bigfoot Black-Scholes blag Blake Edwards Boeing 777 boobs Boris Johnson brexit Britain Britain First British BS BSOD cancer carbon footprint Carmen Reinhart Catholics Cathy Rentzenbrink CCTV Cessna Chagos Charleston Chevaline Chilean Peso China Chris Huhne Citibank CLP Clydesdale Comigel compensation compound Conservatives corporation Corsa Cosa Nostra counterfeit courts Coutts cowboys creationism credit crunch crime Cristovam Buarque Crown Prosecution Service cupertino cycling data data storage David Cameron death debt Decca Aitkenhead deception Deep Impact Del Boy deportation derivative Diego Garcia disentropy distraction diversion dollar Donald Trump doomsday door Dubai Duchess of Cambridge Duke of Cambridge Durham Book Festival Economist Ed Milliband edollars education embezzlement encryption energy entropy ERII errors Esbjörn Svensson Trio EST eternity ethnicity EU EU citizens EU referendum Europe eurozone event horizon evolutionism Excel FA facebook fake Falklands Fannie Mae fashion Faslane FBI Federal Reserve Findus Flight MH370 FM For The Many foreign exchange forest Frances Andrade Freddie Mac FSA Fürstenberg G20 GDP Gengis Khan George Bush ghost money God google Google Drive GOP Gordon Brown greed Grenfell Guantanamo Bay gun gun control guns ham Hatton Garden Haute-Savoie Henry VIII hijacking Hillary Clinton Hillsborough hoax Hollande Holyrood horse HSBC Hulk Hogan human Ian Watson Gladwish Iceland iCloud IMF incompetence indians inflation Institutional Corruption interest Internet iPad iPhone islands Jacintha Saldanha jazz Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Paxman Jo Cox John Prescott journalists Julie Andrews Katie Middleton Kenneth Rogoff King Edward VII Labour Labour Leadership Lac Mégantic Lamborghini Larry Page lawyers Light Brigade loans London Lord Sugar Los Angeles losers loss lottery Louise Mensch love Mafia Maillaud Malaysia Malvinas Margaret Thatcher Martin Rutland mass shooting McDonalds Metropolitan Police Michael Brewer Michael Gove Microsoft misconception misrepresentation moby dick money Monthy Python Morgan Freeman murder music MWh nail house National Insurance Nationwide Natwest Nelson Mandela nerdocracy New York News Corporation News of the World newspaper Nick Leeson Nicola Sturgeon Nigel Farage NRA nuclear plant odds oil Olympic Oregon Osama Bin Laden Oxford Palestinians paperless Paris passport Peckham Pedro Beça Múrias penny photovoltaic pollution Pope Francis prank President Princess privacy probability processed food Québec Queen Elizabeth II Queen of England race racism. discrimination rain forest RBS referendum Religion remain Republicans rescission respect Robert Mugabe Romania Ronald Reagan Royal Bank of Scotland Royal Family Rupert Murdoch S.O.B. Sadiq Khan saint-exupery saints Salmond San Bernardino Scotland Silly Money sinners Sky Skydrive Slominski smoke SNP solar panels Sonderkommandos Sorbonne sorry soylent green speculation St. George stabbing Stephen Lawrence storage sudden riches sum0 Sun Power surrender suspicion Syed Rizwan Farook terror Terry Bollea Tesco thalidomide The Apprentice The Cloud The Sun Theresa May Tim Cook timber Tom Watson toxic train runaway train trees Trotter troubles trust truth twitter Typhoon UK UKIP Umpqua Unesco United Nations US elections USA USA President USD vault war Wayne Lee Busst weapon westminster White House Winston Churchill World Yale Yvette Cooper Zimbabwe ZWD

She's fit?

My apologies for this Julie... one day I may tell you the story.