Fifty years ago, the winds of April swept away the shackles of dictatorship in Portugal, granting us the most precious of treasures: freedom. Before this historic turning point, we lived under the weight of prohibitions that clouded our voices and restricted the future of our stories. The same stories we now celebrate at Mar d’Estórias.

In the past, speaking freely on sensitive topics like politics was forbidden, a restriction that shaped conversations and limited individual expression. Words were silenced, and the censorship blue pencil (Lápis Azul) diminished the truth. Those who challenged the dictatorship’s muzzle faced consequences, so the exchange of ideas occurred only in whispers.

In schools, segregation was the norm, as mixed classes did not exist. The freedom to learn was stifled by the rigidity of the educational system. Female teachers needed the approval of the Minister of National Education to marry, provided their salaries did not exceed those of their husbands. Meanwhile, nurses, flight attendants and telephone operators were confined to the condition of being unmarried. Women faced a web of restrictions, from requiring their husbands’ authorization to travel to limitations in professional choices.

Selling Coca-Cola, a beverage that transcended borders, was forbidden on Portuguese land. The slogan Fernando Pessoa created for this drink, “Primeiro estranha-se, depois entranha-se”, would make it prohibited in Portugal. Lighters, now mundane objects, were controlled by the state, requiring a license to possess them.

Freedom is now the lens through which we see the world. We can express our ideas freely, share authentic stories, and build bridges between the different narratives that make up our country. Freedom is a precious asset that should be carefully protected for future generations.

At Mar d’Estórias, we continue to be the storytellers of many stories, celebrating the freedom that allows us to share, learn, and grow with them. The teachings of April have various concepts and contours that should endure in memory. All conquered freedom; those who attempt to control it can never truly consider themselves free and will forever be entangled in that struggle.