A Opcao pela Espada

(The Option By The Sword)

By Pedro Marangoni

An over view by Pedro

During the early seventies I had two policy options open to me, and they were clearly opposed. I chose the one that best represented the lifestyle I had inherited from my ancestors, who had helped gain the freedom of democracy, and of building a civilisation that gave opportunity for all, in terms of their ability to work freely and not the forced leveling of the desirable but utopian socialism system that was starting to take over the world. I realised that my version of civilisation was under full attack by an enemy, and I was not going to wait for him to arrive on the shores of my own Country?

Why not fight him wherever he was? With the strength of my youth, I opted for the fight, and I chose the sword.

Our planet was in full Cold War confrontation mode involving the super powers of the day, the USA, China and the USSR. Their Hypocrisy and secret wars between each other had spread to dozens of apparently local wars that were taking place around the world and we had to watch while they meddled in other country's internal affairs.

Utopianism, naive optimism, historical ignorance of other people, made the Kennedy administration stumble at every step in the name of self-determination, based on a concept of anti colonial paternalistic and inconsequential, forgetting that the U.S. were also the result of colonial domination.

In search of African support in the Cold War, the most powerful nation on earth decided to join forces with allied countries encouraging barbaric terrorism against the white settler, especially in Angola, where the Portuguese colony lived in peace and progressed slowly but steady, with no other prey that characterised colonial nations.

The Portuguese have always lived with their backs turn to Europe, almost thrown overboard by the ubiquitous and unique neighbour, Spain. They were more African than European in their adventurous life, which led them to build an empire. A proud Prime Minister Salazar, with deep historical notion of Portugal role in the world, responded with force when confronted with the massacres of Holden Roberto's UPA in northern Angola, regaining the territory in a few months, a remarkable feat of arms, due to the distance of events and the few resources they had.

In Africa, the West and the Soviets were faced with an apparent victory of the USSR, often facilitated by the mistaken interventions of Kennedy. Therefore the Portuguese colonial war spread on three fronts, involving Guinea, Angola and Mozambique. Western values were being threatened and so it was in this theater of war that I became involved, without thinking about the incongruities policies. I was willing to fight the real battle, to destroy the enemy where he was and to occupy his positions. I wanted to defend my country Brazil, by stopping him in Africa!

At 23 years old I was a military pilot and parachutist. However, I soon realised that if I wanted survive in this world I would have to learn to fight with my feet on the ground as a member of the infantry. With this in mind I took up the challenge and in the years that followed I surpassed my wildest dreams.

I went from being in the Brazilian Air Force to French Foreign Legion, from Instructor of Physical Education to commander of militia's in the colonial war in Mozambique, from pilot's observation to a Group Armored commander in the civil war in Angola. From guerrilla fighter to instructor of commandos in Rhodesia. From information agent in Spain to "reactionary writer" in Portugal.

From escaping traps while pursued as a dangerous outlaw, once again I became a Legionnaire, only this time I was based on the island of Fuerteventura, on the shores of Spanish Sahara. Culminating in a cycle of eight years of battles on two continents, in eight countries, and serving under seven flags.



Chapter I - French Foreign Legion
- --The selection of recruits
- --Corsica - training
- --Prison
- --December 25, Christmas in the Legion
- --Prison again - tortured
- --Bye, Corsica
- --Going to Portugal
---- The revolution
---- African militias in Niassa
---- The baptism of fire
---- The revolt of September 7
Chapter III - Rhodesia-ZAIRE
---- Commandos
---- In the former Belgian Congo
Chapter IV - ANGOLA
---- The first plane
---- Begins the military instruction
- ---Struck by flak!
- ---The first combat
---- Looking by aircrafts
---- The military debacle in Caxito
- ---Accident
- ---Armored cars in attack
- ---Mine!
- ---Hell in the Sete Curvas (seven curves)
- ---Fighting in the air
---- Bombing the enemy capital
- ---A major offensive
- ---The beginning of the collapse
- ---Combat of Tank
- ---The end
Chapter V -the information war
Chapter VI - Mozambican Resistance

---- Back to the fight
---- Resistance is strengthened
Chapter VII - "Reactionary"writer
- ---The bestseller

- ---The trap
Chapter VIII - Spanish Foreign Legion
- ---Recruit again!