Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Socrates, Cesaria Evora, Christopher Hitchens ~ Bidding Adieu

In the past fortnight, three people whom I admire greatly, departed this Earth to join the ancestors. It's in times like these that you have to think of your own mortality. I grew up watching the football wizardry of Socrates; in College, I was lulled to sleep poring over the commentaries of Christopher Hitchens; and later on, I became mesmerised by the music of Cesaria Evora, the Cape Verdean "barefoot diva". Now, they've all left us, and in quick succession too. It is indeed true: only God knows what lies in store for us; we can never really be the total masters of our destinies. Those who think otherwise are deluding themselves.
Socrates ~ the death of the great Brazilians midfielder of the 80s came as a total shock. That he died from complications from cirrhosis of the liver was even more shocking. If you've never seen the Brazilian football team from the 80s, then you've never lived! Zico, Cerezo, Falcao, Alemao, Junior and the majestic Socrates himself, orchestrating the play in midfield. Pure magic! In my opinion, this was the best football team ever to be assembled.

They turned the game of football -- the beautiful game (jogo bonito) as Brazilians call it -- into an art-form, a living opera. And then there was Socrates: a tall, lanky midfielder; a creative genius; and somewhat of an intellectual to boot. On top of that, he was a trained doctor, who had a chain-smoking habit! What a player! What a character! May his soul forever rest in peace. 
Christopher Hitchens ~ His death was not unexpected, but it still saddens me to see him go.  He was probably the best rhetorician the Western World has seen since the time of the Ancient Greeks. In any verbal spar he was unbeatable. Like a lion stalking an impala, he would seize upon  his "prey", set them up, and then destroy them to pieces with facts and iron-clad logic. A terrific genius! It will be a millennium before the Western World sees the emergence of such a great verbal practitioner like him.
Cesaria Evora ~ I woke up on Sat morning and read of her tragic death. I instantly collapsed into a heap on my living-room couch. I just couldn't believe it! Her music was pure magic. She truly did capture the spirit of the Cape Verdean people (and it's large diaspora).

 Like most people, I wasn't aware of her music until about the early 90s. Once I had heard her haunting voice, I was addicted! "Angola", "Petit Pays" and her duet with Salif Keita, "Yamore" are my favourite songs. A great musician, she shall be sorely missed.

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