Jellyfish Nation


(…)A jellyfish contains between 95 and 98% water. Portugal could be a jellyfish: it is 97% water(…) Portugal’s claim to its continental shelf is not just economic, but also psychological: as an antidote to the country’s diminished stature on the world stage. The Portuguese were pioneers of the Age of Discovery, and a world power to rival the Spanish for a good while after. Their empire stretched from Brazil to East Timor, and included colonies in Africa, India and China. That may all be in the past, but it seems Portugal is still suffering from post-imperial withdrawal syndrome.

Portuguese Sea, by Fernando Pessoa
Oh salty sea, so much of your salt
Is tears of Portugal!
Because we crossed you, so many mothers wept,
So many sons prayed in vain!
So many brides remained unmarried
That you might be ours, oh sea!

Was it worthwhile? All is worthwhile
When the spirit is not small.
He who wants to go beyond the Cape
Has to go beyond pain.
God to the sea peril and abyss has given
But it was in it that He mirrored heaven.

There’s a saying that goes by “God is everywhere, but the Portuguese were there first“, and yes, he have a jellyfish named after us. :)


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