The new episode of the Justice Visions podcast expands on historical truth-seeking initiatives in the (post-)colonial state. In this miniseries co-hosted by postdoctoral research fellow Dr. Cira Pallí-Asperó, we look into formal and informal truth initiatives in European countries dealing with settler and overseas colonial legacies. In this episode, we zoom in on Portugal to discuss decolonisation in a context of explicit glorification of the imperial and colonial past. What kind of initiatives have been taken place? Led by who and for which purpose?
Our guest is Dr. Bruno Sena Martins, researcher at the Centre for Social Studies at the University of Coimbra. First and foremost, he stresses, the anti-colonial struggle is not something of the past: “it is a mission for this generation to (…) decolonize the present and to decolonize Europe”. In Portugal, critical consciousness about the colonial past has only recently been shaping up in the public debate with the establishment of different initiatives led by civil society organisations and by minority groups of people of African descent, with a significant role of academia.
Dr. Bruno Sena Martins talks about what kind of openings and opportunities have been created to address the legacies of the Portuguese colonial past; and how civil society organisations have been advocating to redress issues of inequality, recognition, social, racial, and historical justice. “This is a movement where different people, different actors claim that it is important to look at the past in a critical perspective. It is important to acknowledge that the colonial violence is still with us”.