the pandemic condition

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Jair Bolsonaro and the hypothesis (or bet) of genocide.

I suppose that those who read me can easily capture the sound or semantic subtlety that brings the words “hypothesis” and “bet” together; both could appear with some pertinence in the title of this text, as their interchange or alternation would not greatly compromise the meaning of what I intend to expose. Indeed, the scholar's hypothesis may or may not be validated by the formulation of arguments (consistent or fragile), or by the production of evidence (which may or may not withstand evidence), while the government's bet can become reality through the formulation and execution of certain policies, or in the case of Bolsonaro, due to his conspicuous absence in what matters here, the sanitary measures and public health policies necessary to face the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore, I intend to demonstrate that we do not lack arguments to validate the hypothesis of genocide, nor governmental action or inaction to confirm it in practice.

Covid – before and after

Although some historians and sociologists claim that “History will be written before Covid and after Covid”, that there will be “a world after”, that we will not be “in the same world”, there is also a growing understanding that the pandemic, by greater inflection which marks the period in a concentrated and disruptive way, is accompanied by several other processes that have been making the present times unsettling[I].

Epidemics are nothing new, societies have always faced crises; what is different is the global scale of the contagion, and this is the critical data; but there is the promising and hopeful side given by the speed of the scientific response in the development and production of vaccines (even if the logistics and geopolitics of distribution are critical, and the oligopolistic and exploitative interests of “Big Pharma” are in part unavoidable), which constitutes an extraordinary achievement, which should control the health crisis in a few years.

Other markers of this time include the urgency of the global climate crisis; the massive movement of migrants and refugees; the crisis of Western hegemony (of liberalism, colonialism, of the “free market”), USA at the forefront, and the increase in Asian influence and power, China, but also India; the spread of right-wing and far-right authoritarian governments; the radicalization of protest through mass movements, as part of the political, cultural and moral turmoil that began in the 1960s, whose transforming impact could be evaluated in the future with the same metrics as the great events of modernity.

The root of this pandemic could be located, in a historical view of a longer course, in the “hubris”, that is, in the excessive pride and limitless self-confidence arising from the 18th century Enlightenment, in the sense that humans, in many senses, could dominate nature[ii].

In this way, we should not be surprised by the outbreak of epidemics; would be the cost we are paying for the integration of the world and for the intensive forms of food production, for the decimation of forests, for the generalized pollution, for the accumulation of plastic, for the massive extinction of species, for the alteration of the climate cycle, for the global warming that impact , redefining the links of “(…) Earth system sciences to the political condition imposed by confinement, first medical, then ecological confinement, [making] (…) the difference between live on earth in the sense given to this concept in the XNUMXth century – an Earth in the infinite cosmos – and what it means to live in the land, (…) in what scientists callcritical zone, the thin layer modified by living beings over billions of years, and in which we find ourselves confined (...)”[iii].

Still somewhat controversial in what would be the demarcation of a new geological time, the term Anthropocene emerges as a powerful narrative, a concept through which old questions about the meaning of nature, and even of human nature, are again radically revised.

In these terms, Covid did not jump ahead of us with a single leap, but it is a result of these practices, of these interconnected processes. Ultimately, in today's conditions, everything refers to the climate crisis, everything is affected by it, the political, social order, the problem of water, food, migration of peoples, epidemics.

This, then, is a perilous age, a time of challenge and trial.

Such a condition need not necessarily be fatalistic damnation. There is always the possibility of human intervention, creative, solidary, cooperative, which can reinvent ways of being in the world, avoiding the worst, overcoming crises, establishing a more balanced order, even if the imponderable is always a possibility that haunts the fate of people. societies.

In a poor paraphrase of Tolstoy (Anna Karenina) applied to the ongoing pandemic, it could be said that we are all at the same risk, but each one experiences it in their own way[iv]. In other words, the pandemic is universal, but the conditions under which each country, group, class, family or person faces it are particular. As Beatriz Accioly observed using the concept of “critical events”, common in anthropological studies, proposed by Veena Das, these events, “(…) although very generalized and reaching, in some way, almost all people, are not democratic. They affect different social groups in extremely different ways, being strongly marked by racial, regional, gender and social class inequalities”.[v]

As in wars, in a pandemic there are those who are on the front line taking all the risks, getting sick or injured, becoming maimed, losing their lives or surviving with traumas or tragic memories or sequelae; while others, far from areas in conflict or at greater risk, are affected in other ways, both negatively, such as loss of loved ones, business collapse, unemployment, interruption of studies, projects, and “positively” (albeit unscrupulously) , such as industrialists who get rich from the sale of war materials or pharmaceuticals, financial speculators, demagogues, smart guys, hacks, false prophets, types that proliferate when societies see their reproduction conditions threatened and their peoples are terrified in the face of imminent dangers, which impact the usual forms of existence, to the point of virtual collapse.

There is, however, one important difference; In a war, there are high-risk delimited zones, where the actual conflict takes place, although in today's conditions, with atomic devices, these limits are widely extended. While in a pandemic the enemy, in addition to being invisible, is everywhere, even though the risk of becoming a victim is variable, depending on public health policies, socioeconomic conditions of the different strata of the population, lifestyles, personal and collective responsibility, etc. .

The hypothesis (and the bet) of genocide

As for the requirements for proper management in our country, unfortunately in this context of a pandemic of such magnitude and pervasive incidence, when more discernment is required from government officials, operational capacity, responsibility towards its people, transparency in management and accountability, we have its inverse.

Not just in the current sense of accountability and being accountable for your actions, policies or decisions, there is a huge deficit of accountability in Bolsonaro's conduct; while leadership is also expressive the absence of what could be designated as moral accountability, so many are his repeated affronts to citizenship, to minimal decency, to guidelines for proper conduct in the face of the pandemic, the total lack of empathy with the victims.

In his arrogance and disregard for his attributions, lack of preparation, provocations, Bolsonaro seems to fear nothing, given the insufficiency, weakness, condescension or connivance of the institutions, on the part of the press, and other civil society entities in confronting, in the name of the constitution, of laws, of ethics the repeated failures of such a ruler.

The Bolsonaro government exceeded all limits regarding these criteria, confronted science, promoted misinformation, propagated charlatanism regarding drug prescriptions, encouraged disobedience with respect to the prudential conduct recommended by the World Health Organization, followed and practiced and even imposed by government officials. from most countries.

Alongside what is called necropolitics, which characterizes various measures and actions of the Bolsonaro government at the domestic level (which ranges from extolling torture, arming militias, denial of the pandemic and ultraliberalism - although not even this commitment to the owners of big money be able to implement -, predator of the workforce, generator of chaos, unemployment and hunger), there is a dimension of greater breadth, given by its unconditional alignment with obscurantist and denialist tendencies with respect to science and civilizing values, whose radiating center fascist was the Trump government, of which the Brazilian ruler was a fanatical imitator and slavish follower[vi].

The chronicle of such improprieties, the record of such governmental irresponsibility should - laws, codes, constitution, ethics, international treaties and democracy prevail -, constitute a libel of substantiated accusations to instruct a due, and absolutely necessary, criminal process, imputing crimes the nature of which, directly or indirectly, is none other than genocide.

Given the prevailing simulacrum conditions of democracy and the deformation of the public communication sphere - either by the injunction of authoritarianism or by the control of the gigantic corporations of the big data, big tech -, disputes over consciences and adhesions, conflicts of interests and the projection of domains and hegemonies constitute a field in great boiling, in which narratives, versions, fakenews confront facts, truths, science, knowledge, common sense.

In such a context, designating actions, policies or even a government as such as genocidal, as is intended here, will always be something problematic and questionable. If such monstrosity does not jump out at us today, as in the classic examples of the Nazi death camps, pogroms and other massacres, the logic/illogic of its incidence, the mechanics of its operation and its macabre result can be demonstrated both by the norms, regulations , decrees of the Bolsonaro government, notably in the face of the pandemic, as in the alarming numerical expressiveness of its victims[vii].

On February 25, 2021, Brazil, under the Bolsonaro government, without considering underreporting, surpassed the mark of 250.000 deaths, victims of the pandemic.

Consider three moments and dimensions of the pandemic:

1 – the recognition of the virus, its lethal potential and its exponential propagation;
2 – recommended social practices to avoid contagion and propagation;
3 – production, acquisition and application of vaccines.

In the three items, the federal administration proved to be a disaster, the consequences of which in terms of the number of victims, economic and social recovery are still composing grim statistics.

Regarding the items:

a) just remember the president's denialism, his administrative irresponsibility, especially regarding the ownership of the Ministry of Health, the absence of a plan to face the pandemic, the xenophobic infantilism (imitating his idol Trump) of the Chinese virus; when it became impossible to deny the epidemic (it wasn't just a little flu), he began to preach like a religious fanatic, like those who supported him, the cure through the miracle drug (chloroquine), and even earlier, prevention through the use of Covid-kit, in a vain attempt to produce an effect equivalent to that of the other kit,o kit-gay (this appendix baby bottle), which helped to dull the minds of some voters who elected him;

b) Bolsonaro, unlike all responsible rulers, instead of setting an example for the use, encouraging, regulating or imposing the appropriate measures of: social distancing, limiting meetings and crowds, use of masks, restrictions on passenger transport, lockdowns of the economy, closing schools and combating resistance or hesitation in relation to vaccination, he did the exact opposite, with gusto and ease, circulating without masks, mocking those who care for themselves, spreading fanciful, jocular and conspiratorial narratives about the effects of vaccines;

c) it would be appropriate here to recall the Bolsonarist slogan, “We have chloroquine, we don't want the vaccine”, to the astonishment of those who are not fanaticized, given the absurdity of the homicidal/genocidal inductions of its inspirer. proves her mother's age, assuring that she should do it.

It did not take adequate measures, and at the right time, for the acquisition of vaccines, but when the need for them was imposed by the statistics of those affected and the staggering numbers of deaths, it launched a war of vaccines with governors, notably that of São Paulo, that even though he was a vulgar and opportunistic politician, by taking some reasonable measures, he momentarily rose to the heights of a statesman.

In this horror show related to the vaccine, whose main figure is the former captain, the ruler's criminal action/inaction is even more harmful. The country, despite having a remarkable structure, expertise and tradition in mass vaccination campaigns, is now one of the most backward in such a move, and continues without an adequate universal vaccination plan. “It is worth remembering that the President of the Republic even celebrated when the vaccine tests at the Butantan Institute were paralyzed due to the suicide of one of the volunteer participants in the research”, recalls Fernando Aith, Director of Cepedisa-USP, in reference to the moment that Jair Bolsonaro commented that he would never buy the vaccine from Sinovac, in addition to having refused the vaccine made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer[viii].

The fact of saying that vaccination would not be mandatory, questioning the scientific effectiveness of the vaccine, in addition to boasting that he did not want to be vaccinated, Bolsonaro strongly contributes to the dissolution of a sense of community, necessary in a large-scale immunization campaign.[ix].

The combination of the three items (a, b and c) gives a measure of the genocidal ineptitude of our ruler, causing extensive and deep damage in the fight against the pandemic.

Possibly the most detailed study demonstrating the genocidal debacle of the federal government can be found in the Bulletin of Rights in the Pandemic, by the Center for Research and Studies on Sanitary Law (Cepedisa) of the Faculty of Public Health (FSP) at USP, together with Conectas Human Rights . In its tenth edition, the bulletin lists, in a timeline format, more than 3 norms related to the pandemic, highlighting the federal government's denialism and its friction with federative entities, and with independent institutions and civil society organizations, which resisted their mistakes and tried to take some autonomous initiatives[X].

Not only did it not help, but it hindered or sabotaged.

In a report produced by researchers from 16 countries that analyzed the responses to the pandemic in each nation, considering the interaction of economic, political and public health variables, Brazil was in the vexing position, alongside the USA, as the countries in which it was most more calamitous the failure[xi].

Already in mid-2020, jurist Deisy Ventura identified significant evidence of an ongoing genocide in the country. Based on the formulation of the concept by the Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, in 1943, “By genocide we understand the destruction of a nation or ethnic group”, Ventura identifies an intentionality in the practices and omissions of the Bolsonaro government that can configure such a crime.

As Lemkin clarifies, in the article that introduces the concept: “genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, it means much more a coordinated plan of different actions aimed at the destruction of the essential foundations of the life of groups, with the objective of, later, exterminate them”[xii].

Explaining the systematic functioning of international criminal law, from its origins, with the courts of Nuremberg and Tokyo, to the constitution of the International Criminal Court, Mauro Kiithi Arima Junior discusses the criminal acts committed by President Bolsonaro in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. XNUMX. It is dedicated to the analysis of the application of the provisions of the Rome Statute to the acts practiced by the Bolsonaro government in the conduct of the policy to combat and control the pandemic, concluding by the pertinence of characterizing them as an international crime typified in that Statute.[xiii].

If such imputation may not have a full criminal characterization or a rigorous conceptualization in this case, there is no doubt that, like the Nuremberg Court of 1945, the term “genocide” can be applied to Bolsonaro in descriptive terms.[xiv].

In these terms, genocide does not necessarily have to be the immediate annihilation of a people, of a segment of it, or of an entire nation (although the country is the second in number of deaths by Covid, and the government encourages the predatory and illegal occupation of the land of the original peoples, threatening them with extermination for the destruction of their livelihoods, which is close to an ethnocide ); it can mean a coordinated plan, or rather a total lack of coordination, and this seems to be the case in question (not only is there no national plan to face the pandemic, but there is, in its place, a deliberate sabotage of such a measure), in that result in the destruction of the foundations of the apparatuses, institutes, and inept or non-existent measures, measures or public policies (this is the notorious case of neglect with the SUS, its dismantling, its under-financing), which should face health and epidemiological emergencies, such as those that are ongoing.

To this catalog of mistakes, improprieties and political-administrative irresponsibility we must add the stimulus or condescension with the predatory occupation of the Amazon (probably the 63.000 fires in 2020 are the result of illegal deforestation according to calculations by INPE – National Institute for Space Research)[xv]. What constitutes an “Ecocide,” that is, the destruction of immense areas, which threatens all species, including human existence[xvi].

Such a departure from what a good government is, from what is the minimum exercise of its competences, turns Bolsonaro into a clamorous case of misgovernment, whose intentions, acts, actions and inactions converge to the political, administrative and institutional disintegration, annulling the possibility to implement appropriate measures to combat the epidemic, so that we remain only in this health area.

In addition to evidence produced by epidemiological science, sociological research, legal knowledge and statistical spreadsheets related to the pandemic, as for characterizing government Bolsonarism as a tragedy, a genocide, we can resort to more subtle demonstrations, but no less relevant to confirm such deadly results. I am referring here to symbolic dimensions of his image, his leadership, his behavior as Head of State, his public conduct, his institutional responsibilities.

We don't need to be formalist constitutionalists, old-fashioned republicans, or anachronistic monarchists to expect rulers to honor their positions with musty power rituals, but a little composure, decency, education would be desirable to dignify functions, legitimize mandates and inspire society. Everything Bolsonaro needs.

Marx, analyzing the critical events of the 1840s in French politics, referred to Odilon Barrot, personification of an opportunist liberalism, as serious nullity, solemn nothingness, deep superficiality; for our consumption we could dispense with the adjective reaction to designate Bolsonaro's conduct, it would suffice la nullité. Or if we wanted to keep the expression, adapting it: grotesque nullite.

But such nullity is not exhausted in a tirade of effect – our small consolation, which we inveigh with words -, it has institutional consequences, it has economic effects, it has impacts on the living conditions of millions. If already under “normal” conditions, his unpreparedness for the position was abysmal, in the face of the pandemic, his ineptitude is calamitous. Not just his “public policies”, let's call them that, nor just his “government project or plan of action”, if such existed with minimal consistency, are an affront to rights, a threat to freedoms, an economic disaster and a social tragedy; have more.

Here his very particular political style, type of leadership and personal personality compete in the construction of a profile with the toxic ingredients of debauchery, irresponsibility, paranoia, authoritarianism, mockery, cynicism, indecency, abuse. Such traits were more evident, with all the virulence of a boundless boçality, in the way he has behaved in the face of the pandemic, gloating over those who suffer directly, mocking everyone who takes care of himself, circulating among people, causing crowds without making use of of protective equipment, thus setting a terrible and deadly example for the nation, making jokes out of purpose and out of context, laughing heartily when the attitude that is expected is one of empathy, solidarity, seriousness, total commitment, compunction and respect before such a dramatic picture.

In the last week of February, when the country recorded the highest number of deaths from the disease in 24 hours throughout the pandemic, 1582 victims, Bolsonaro, one of the countless times he spoke out against the use of masks, in total contrast to recommendations enshrined by science. epidemiological, by the World Health Organization and by the unanimous practice of the rulers of all countries, with perhaps the exception of some obscure tyrant, of a small country lost in some cosmic vastness. At the same time that the country counted 250.000 dead, governors and mayors announcing, alarmed, the imminence of the collapse of the health system, the executive director of the WHO, Michael Ryan, characterized the situation of the pandemic in Brazil as “a tragedy[xvii]".

What else do we need to characterize genocide, to qualify genocide?

Therefore, the conditions of existence of large sections of the population are threatened, their relations of solidarity annulled, the feelings of belonging, of collective identities, of shared responsibility, of personal security, of the right to health, of dignity, weakened, discarding them in the name of a roguish salvationism, a demagogic opportunism, an authoritarianism with clear fascist overtones, an astonishing obscurantism, traits and disasters personified in the rough, coarse and despicable figure of President Bolsonaro[xviii].

There is, then, a genocidal project embedded in these disasters, in this insane course of mismanagement, whether it comes in doses of chloroquine, of dismantling essential public health services, of administrative ineptitude, of social-Darwinist attitudes of survival of the fittest, and the The rest be damned, because “Brazil (the economy) cannot stop”.

It is true that political deterioration, administrative ineptitude, the affront to rights and ethics are anchored in structures of an excluding domain and in a social inequality that seems inextricable; but such damages were intensely updated after the anti-system events of 2013, soon captured by the forces of the right and the extreme right (in a tragic irony, since historically “the system” is the prerogative of the right in our country); by the legal-media-parliamentary coup of 2016, removing president Dilma Rousseff; by the massive spread of fake news demonizing the left, notably its largest party, the PT, criminalizing its greatest leader, Lula, preventing him from running for president in 2018, when he was favored in voting intentions, a fact resulting from lawfare of which he was a victim, triggered by “Operação Lava-jato”, which, in addition to favoring Bolsonaro’s election, subsequently revealed what is being perceived as the biggest legal scandal in recent history, in the country and abroad.

Following the example of its North American idol, whose actions, for the most part, were designated as an “abomination” by reputable analysts in their own country, and “Trumpism” as a degenerative disease, Bolsonarism fits, with equal propriety and full pertinence, such designation and the same diagnosis.

We have, therefore, a ruler who rides alongside what, with some macabre poetic license, could be designated as the three horsemen of the apocalypse - ethnocide, genocide and ecocide -, the fourth being the plague, which came to make the lives of Brazilians, punishing them for their poor electoral choices.

As long as the Brazilian citizenry does not succeed in activating the republican means (or other means of greater political power) to remove this sinister simulacrum of government, and while the citizen conscience and its political will accumulate forces and initiatives to take him as a defendant to the International Criminal Court of The Hague, it is up to us to develop, as a sovereign people, our own means and resources to safeguard our dignity, health, rights and freedoms, capable of overcoming epidemics and resisting mismanagement and authoritarianism.

The global dimension and the search for (new) normality

But if we are experiencing such a disastrous conjuncture at the domestic level, the pandemic takes us to the global level, either through the forms and modes of universal viral contagion, or through its epidemiological overcoming through the production, distribution and application of vaccines.

In the midst of the pandemic, we are therefore consumed by its impositions, our daily lives are permeated by risks and threats that cause us fear, insecurity, apprehensions, expectations. We are waiting anxiously for the vaccine that will protect us, we are waiting for the end of the scourge, when the order of things will be restored and our life will be able to follow its normal course.


The expression “new normal” has been in the public domain for some time now, due to the inescapable perception that things in the world, corporate arrangements and people’s lives – due to the impact of this experience, due to the sinister trail it leaves in terms of loss of life. , public and private financial losses, exacerbation of emotions, political conflicts and cultural wars - will no longer be the same.

A first and urgent challenge will therefore be to give meaning to this “new normality”, to give it conceptual consistency and political validation. That is to say, perceiving the data and elements that constitute the processes that are being abandoned, and at the same time identifying those that come ahead, whose synthesis will constitute the field of political action to conform new realities.

If it is not fully configured as a rupture, there is no doubt that the pandemic is a turning point, which in addition to demarcating a global conjuncture, demands a historical perspective to give intelligibility to the causes and dynamics of its occurrence, the terms and conditions. projections of their overcoming.

A new reality, a new consciousness, will emerge. But neither one nor the other will happen through automatisms, through the supposed spontaneity of a natural course, or a progressive linear evolution.

This new reality will not arise either by the instantaneousness of abrupt changes or processed by the immediacy of an individual or collective awareness, but will open the way through the rubble of a society that was already well advanced in entropic processes, whether in terms of socioeconomic macrostructures predatory, whether in terms of values, culture and ideologies that are questioned, deformed, conflagrated, dissipated.

Only a conscious, researched, reflected, debated, disputed action, advancing in consensus, mobilizing millions will be able to forge a new agenda.

A post-pandemic agenda should consider:

1 – an assessment of the performance of governments, notably with regard to prevention measures, conservation and restoration of living conditions of populations. For as was evident, some rulers acted more responsibly than others; others were not only relapsed, but criminals, in their scientific denialism, discursive manipulations, charlatanism, such as Trump (USA) and Bolsonaro) Brazil);

2 – the terms of international cooperation, either through specific forums and multilateral agencies such as the World Health Organization, institutes and research centers, universities, or through direct exchange between States;

3 – the cultural specificities, collective behaviors, disposition and spirit of the great human masses of different countries, regarding attitudes of cooperation and solidarity among its members, or the opposite, refractory to health recommendations, indiscipline in the face of preventive care protocols , greater or lesser confidence in science and government officials;

4 – a new parameter regarding the fundamental relationship Man x Nature. It is no longer admissible for an informed conscience, that in the 7.8st century, nature appears as an open field to be predated, without controls or limits, by human action, understood as this action instructed by forces, commands, means and capitalist hegemony, by its market logic, by the prevalence of private interests. This economic system is unsustainable, it is the cause of the predatory use of non-renewable resources, the misery of most of the XNUMX billion inhabitants of the planet, and the threat to the living conditions of the next generations[xx].

For this reason, a new awareness and a new commitment also challenge those who are engaged in the production of social, economic and cultural forms that intend to be bearers of a post-pandemic and post-capitalist future; must review the “man-nature” relationship, by facing the climate crisis through the advancement of science, political responsibility and moral commitment.

The most attentive and perceptive will have understood, from this planetary health experience, that it is necessary to go deeper in the consideration of the myriad of elements, beings and processes that make up nature and our relationship with it, that it is a precarious balance , and that before stigmatizing a bat, a food fair or a people's eating habits, expressions of crass prejudice, we need to recognize the interdependence of everything and everyone to preserve the ecosystems necessary for life and its social reproduction.

There is a growing scientific consensus that these types of zoonotic pandemics (originated in other species) are expressions and result of the uncontrollable stress to which biodiversity ecosystems are subjected. Consequently, we would be entering a period in which other epidemics such as this one would become relatively frequent, or unavoidable, caused by the intrusion of human action in ecosystems of which it did not previously concern or form part.

If it had not yet penetrated the collective consciousness of the multitudes, Covid-19 has demonstrated, in an admirably dramatic way, how much we depend on each other. The same goes for global warming and biodiversity; this set of circumstances and this mutual dependence will imply a new configuration of the legal, political and even emotional spheres, encompassed under the general title of “the new climate regime”, in the expression of Bruno Latour.

5 – commitment to promoting values ​​and attitudes, such as:

Respect before the forces of nature and greater awareness of their interaction with human action; respect and empathy with all those who suffer, who have lost loved ones, whose basic living conditions have been affected, whose perspectives have been disrupted, projects that have been banned, opportunities lost;

Cooperation in the face of tragedies of any kind that life confronts us with; shared responsibility, whether for personal attitudes for the benefit of all, such as wearing face masks, or collective attitudes, such as ensuring a fair distribution of vaccines among countries and peoples. More than ever, it is evident that we are all connected, not just now through electronic means, but since always because we inhabit the same world, a common habitat, the same destiny, regardless of nationalities, races or ideologies;

Trust, in science in the first place, but confidence and hope in our ability as a society, as humanity to cooperate, to show solidarity. Those of us who have the condition, availability and means to study and reflect on facts and events, managing to see them with greater clarity, it would be our responsibility to make them understandable to the greatest number of people, helping them to face fears and insecurities, valuing science and knowledge, combating ignorance, prejudice and manipulation, in addition to stimulating empathy, solidarity and participation in the face of common tasks and urgencies;

Recognition those who in ICUs risk their lives to care for or save others, nursing staff, doctors, caregivers, and the wide range of essential service workers, transportation of goods and people, urban cleaning, and the researchers and scientists who in in the short term they produced vaccines, in short, for all those who, in their work or in their attitudes, prioritize life and not profit, status, privileges, power;

The Billing government officials and everyone with public and community responsibilities to do what is due does not relieve us of individual responsibility for our own safety and that of others. For this reason, in a situation like this, a first and necessary attitude is not to limit the limits of defense and protection in the face of the epidemic threat solely to the scope of individual, private spheres, but to adopt an ethics of solidarity that goes beyond a feeling of empathy, and become an active disposition of a citizenry that demands appropriate sanitary measures, emergency public policies, responsibility of rulers;

Prudent optimism. As cruel, disruptive or dramatic as this pandemic is, differentially affecting each other, whether people, peoples or countries, it too will pass. So, without ill-informed optimism or excessive hopes that intend to shorten its course, now that we already have the vaccine, assuring us a return to a certain or new normality; but also without a fatalistic pessimism that supposes it perennial, or far from being overcome, either by the emergence of new viral strains, or by the great damage and chaos it has caused, it is necessary to maintain a perspective of balance between these two possibilities;

Redefining the nature of the state. It also demonstrates the importance of a more agile State, of greater capacity for intervention and regulation, of a more enlightened action, valuing science, and that there are indicators that are equally or more important for well-being than GDP;

Now that the pandemic has finally exploded the notion that there would be no alternative (TINA – There is no alternative, of Thatcher, turned into an ironclad clause of neoliberalism), a new hope opens up, a more promising future dawns, as long as we know how to do the necessary things to get there.

6 – Brazil beyond Bolsonaro

With the same sense of urgency and even more social energy and political disposition, we must do whatever is necessary, as citizens, movements, parties, organizations and institutions, whether to shorten the mismanagement that makes the nation unhappy and compromises its future, or to guarantee that its destructive and authoritarian nature is contained within the framework of the constitution and within the parameters of the democratic regime.

Just as the primary meaning of a State is to guarantee the life of the people, the conditions for their social reproduction by containing generalized violence, that of a good government is to provide the conditions, means, regulations and initiatives so that society advances in prosperity and well-being. Government is a complex arrangement of social cooperation, allocation of resources, forms of authority and procedures. In short, it is administration and public policy, management and power.

from Latin, gubernare, to govern, means to direct, guide, fix attention on, attend to, inspect, supervise. If we were to compare the meaning of these terms with what the former captain’s government did or failed to do in the face of the pandemic, we will see how far his performance was from what was expected, how much he denied the basic meaning of his functions, how much he gloated of his attributions., how much he abdicated his responsibilities.

What you did and what you do with these attributions, how much you mobilized or not the resources of your position and condition, particularly in this crisis, had and has a direct impact on how many will live and how many will die, or have already died.

If the arguments presented in this text constitute consistent reasoning, are in line with the facts and supported by the data, as I hope to be the case, in many aspects and in the number of victims – among those who will have sequelae and those who lost their lives due to the pandemic -, will have demonstrated the inescapable responsibility of Bolsonaro's misgovernment for such a dramatic picture, whose contours and colors refer to what we can imagine as a genocide.

Once again, the instrumental value of hope qualifies and summons those who must and can promote change to restore, where it has been usurped, and to establish, where it is still insufficient, dignity, democracy and sovereignty in our country.

Today, here and now, this re-establishment demands the vigorous and virtuous combination of three dazzling expressions of the humanist tradition, ethics of conviction, republican principles and democratic practice: the moral dignity of the impactful denunciation of J'accuse; enough with the symbolic force of the civic conscience of the Letter to Brazilians; a political call for millions of insurgent voices to cry out Bolsonaro.

*Remy J. Fontana, sociologist, is a retired professor at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC).


[I]'A very dangerous epoch': historians try to make sense of Covid. The Guardian, 13 Feb 2021.Available at Accessed on 17.02.2021/19/XNUMX; Bruno Latour, interview with Nicolas Truong, "Covid-XNUMX offers a truly admirable and painful case of addiction". Major Card. Available at dependency-/52/49952. Accessed on 17.02.2021/XNUMX/XNUMX; Lilia Moritz Schwarcz, When the XNUMXth century ends. Cia.das Letras, ebook, accessed through the Skeelo application, on 20.02.2021, inspired by Eric Hobsbawm's periodization model, which demarcates times not by the chronology of years, but by the relevance and intensity of crises that destabilize certainties, break down institutions that seemed solid foundations and values ​​that were intended to be unquestionable, the Covid-19 pandemic marks the end of the XNUMXth century.

[ii] Cf. Vinita Damodaran, director of the Center for World Environmental History at the University of Sussex. The Guardian. 13 Feb 2021.

[iii] Latour, quote

[iv] In Tolstoy's original, "All happy families are alike, the unhappy ones are unhappy each in their own way."

[v] “Critical Situation – Voices from the Fighting Fronts Amidst the Contradictions of a Pandemic Under Capital”, Jacobin, Special -2020.

[vi] I do not need to insist here on the neo-fascist nature of these rulers, already a consensus established by most sociologists, analysts and political scientists.

[vii]Following in the footsteps of the USP Cepedisa-Conectas report, Itamar Aguiar (UFSC) analyzes in detail the decrees, edicts, administrative measures and other initiatives of the Bolsonaro government leading to a genocidal policy, drawing a parallel (and making an approximation) with those of the regime Original Nazi. Cf. Itamar Aguiar,The Brazilian Bolsonarist Fascist Pandemic”. Communication to the International Seminar – Contingencies of the Pandemic generated by Covid-19 in contemporary societies, February 23, 2021 – Online Zoom – Lisbon, Portugal.

[viii] Cf. “Research identifies the strategy of the Federal Executive to disrupt the fight against the pandemic”, USP Newspaper on AR, 22/01/2021. Available at Accessed on 25/02/2021

[ix] Alberto Matenhauer Urbinatti, et al. “The politics of COVID-19 vaccines in Brazil: Seeing through the lens of STS”. Society for Social Studies of Science, February 8, 2021. Available at sts/. Accessed on 25/02/2021

[X] Cf. Bulletin no. 10. “Rights in the pandemic: Mapping and analysis of legal norms for the response to covid-19 in Brazil”, São Paulo: (CEPEDISA) of the Faculty of Public Health (FSP) of the University of São Paulo (USP) and Conectas Human Rights , of 20/01/2021. 56p. Available at Accessed on 25/02/2021

[xi] “Comparative Covid Response: Crisis, Knowledge, Politics – Final Report. Harvard Kennedy School. January 12, 2021. Available at Accessed on 25/02/2021

[xii] "There are significant indications that Brazilian authorities, including the president, are being investigated for genocide." Interview by jurist Deisy Ventura, from the Center for Research and Studies on Sanitary Rights at USP, to Eliane Brum, The country, 22.07.2020. Available at html. Access on 22.02.2021/XNUMX/XNUMX

[xiii] KIITHI, Mauro Kiithi Arima Junior. Sanitary genocide in Brazil: Why should Jair Bolsonaro be tried by the International Criminal Court?. Jus Navigandi Magazine, ISSN 1518-4862, Teresina, year 25, n. 6244, 5 Aug. 2020. Available at: Accessed on: 21 Feb. 2021.

[xiv] Jânio de Freitas, one of the most respected journalists in the country, observes that “If the priority were the pandemic, the government would not continue to be handed over to those who deny it and, as a government, they sabotage, in full view of the whole country, everything that can fight it. . For this, resorting, without fear, to criminal actions and omissions. A succession of them, incessant until today”. Concluding by regretting that the pathetic (sic) general Minister of Health and the President are not subjected to “trial by a substitute for the Nuremberg Court”. “Carte blanche for death”, Newspaper, 16 Jan. 2021

[xv] See Robert Hunziker, “Brazil's 63,000 Fires”. counterpunch, September 8, 2020.

[xvi] In this regard, a bill is already being submitted to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, granting Ecocide the same legal status as Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes of Aggression. Cf. Robert Hunziker, “Ecocide”, CounterPunch, February 19, 2021

[xvii]“Brazil is experiencing a 'tragedy' and the presence of variants is no excuse, says WHO”. Folha de São Paulo, 26/02/2021. The article reads: “The African country [Nigeria] has a population almost as large as Brazil's (196 million inhabitants against 210 million, respectively) and a GDP per capita that does not reach a third of Brazil's. But the proportional number of new cases of Covid-19 is one hundredth of the Brazilian: 3 new cases per million per day in Nigeria, 300 in Brazil.

New daily deaths per inhabitant are 7,3/1 million in Brazil and less than 0,1/1 million in Nigeria. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 1.183 deaths/million Brazilians. In Nigeria, 9,2 Covid patients died for every 1 million inhabitants”.

[xviii] Regarding this criminal presidential negligence, the absence of consequential guidelines in the face of the pandemic to prevent contagion and mitigate its effects, a manifestation from UFSC is very timely, warning of a necessary “change in the national posture of facing the pandemic, so that we are not all accomplices historical events for naturalizing a new holocaust in the 21st century”. To see, UFSC news, 26/02/2021, “More than 100 UFSC researchers sign a letter with 10 recommendations to end the pandemic”. Available at

[xx] According to calculations by Cambridge University economist Partha Dasgupta, global economic growth, measured by GDP – gross domestic product, increased 14 times compared to 1950. Such prosperity came about at a “devastating” cost to nature; maintaining current levels of consumption would require an Earth 1.6 times its current size. See Larry Elliott, “We're on a collision course with the planet. But with public support, that can change”, The Guardian, 10 Feb 2021. Available at Access on 17.02.2021/XNUMX/XNUMX


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