The international greeting that accompanied the news of Luís Moita’s death on 28 January – made up primarily of thanks for his unique combination of intelligence, political commitment to the history of the liberation and decolonisation of Portugal and Africa, and the richness and transparency of human relations, of creative networking in social and cultural research at an international level – sums up and expresses more than any Luís’s biographical profile. His illness did not prevent him from being participant and protagonist of the last PPT sessions on Brazil, which had been so important in his life.
Luís crossed paths with Lelio Basso’s and Linda Bimbi’s lives, dreams, and projects for the ‘liberation of peoples’ since the early 1970s, at the height of his participation in the process of liberation from Salazar’s dictatorship. Since then, his history – from CIDAC to the very intense academic activity, from the great experimentation of education to democracy in the armed forces, to the support and collaboration of international movements and organisations for peoples’ rights – has been creatively intertwined with that of the PPT and of the Foundation. A first expression and symbol of the fruitfulness of this encounter was the PPT Session in Lisbon in 1981 on East Timor: Luís participated in it together with a panel of judges that brought together many liberation struggles, of which Ruth First, an equally symbolic figure with deep ties to the struggle against apartheid, was an example.
Our remembrance, at a time of ‘saudade’ for his presence that will continue in another way, also wishes to express a sense of immense gratitude to Luís. For his coherence, his rigorous and calm lucidity, his capacity for dialogue and mediation, his profound gentleness that gave confidence even in the most critical moments, and for the sociological and geopolitical expertise found in his numerous contributions, which can be considered a living archive of the emancipation of peoples that is part of the research-witnessing that the times we live in particularly needs.
As they used to say: Luis, Present.
Gianni Tognoni, PPT Secretary General
Franco Ippolito, President of the Lelio e Lisli Basso Foundation