5 Questions with... Marisa Matias

Marisa Matias (PT, GUE/NGL) is a member of Parliament’s ITRE Committee and DROI Subcommittee
Marisa Matias | Photo credit: European Parliament Audiovisual

1. What is the smallest change you have made in your career that has had the biggest positive impact?

When, using all my stubbornness, I decided to help spread the message of informal carers in my own country. It was amazing, and still is, seeing them fight for their rights and managing to find their more than fair recognition for the proper functioning of the social state.

2. What one item would you save from your home were it on fire? (apart from your photo album)

Some books and the “collection” of pillowcases that I’ve gathered from several parts in the world. They are handmade by women, normally fighting to survive, and everywhere I found them I bought one: Palestine, Honduras, East Timor.

3. Is there anything you have personally achieved or done that would surprise people?

Perhaps that, until I was 14, I had to go fetch water for our home every day, because we didn’t have running water.

4. What is the most humbling thing you have experienced in your career?

When I visited the border between Syria and Lebanon, I witnessed Syrian refugees fleeing from the war. Facing them fighting for their lives in a moment that nobody was seeing them was one of the most valuable lessons of my whole life.

5. What was the most inspirational and influential book you have read and why?

I don’t think there is just “one” book, there are several. But “Invisible Cities”, by Italo Calvino, is one I remember fondly because it amazed and challenged me, seeing how different lives and societies can be and, at the same time, finding beauty everywhere, even if it’s only in our imagination.

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