Jose Saramago the Portuguese author who had won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1998, passed away at the age of 87,on Friday 18 June at his home on the Spanish Canary Island of Lanzarote.Born Nov.1922 from a poor family he never finished university but continued to study part-time while supporting himself as a metalworker.
''He speaks about universal themes and really tackles social problems, love, passion, science" said Graca Almeida, a retired professor of Portuguess Studies at Lisbon's New University.''He goes beyond the problems of Portugal and takes on universal world problems".
Saramago, who was a member of the Portuguese communist party since 1969, often found himself going against the tide of popular opinion.Portugal's membership of the European Union is overwhelmingly appreciated in his homeland, a country of 10.6 million people which despite EU development aid is still Western Europe's poorest country.Saramago, however disagreed.
''First of all I am Portuguese,then Iberian and then, if I feel like it,Iam European" he once told the AP.
Asked once about his apparent pessimism, the author said that the only people who could afford to be optimists were either stupid, had no feelings, or were millionaires.
"As citizens, we all have an obligation to intervene and become involved.It's the citizen who changes things".
"I can't imagine myself outside any kind of social and political involvement".
"Americans have discovered fear".
"I think that we are blind.Blind people who can see, but do not see".
"What kind of world is that,can send machines to Mars and does nothing to stop the killing of a human being".
" In the end we discover that the only condition for living is to die".
"The world is governed by institutions that are not democratic-the World Bank,the IMF, the WTO".
"There are plenty of reasons not to put up with the world as it is".
"Society has to change but the political powers we have at the moment are not enough to effect this change.The whole democratic system would have to be rethought".
Saramago was an author,a poet,great thinker,viewer and blogger too.
Some of his Novels:
Baltasar and Blimunda (1987)
The history of the siege of Lisbon(1989)
All the Names(1997)
Death at Intervals(2008)
The elephant's Journey(2010)
The death of Jose Saramago represents an irreparable loss for the Portuguese people, the Portuguese culture,Europe and the whole world.