The unbearable lightness of freedom.

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By FLAVIO AGUIAR*

What surprises and shocks, the mystery of mysteries, the wonder of wonders, was the recording of the meeting, the fact that it was preserved for posterity.

The most astonishing mystery of the April 22 ministerial meeting in Planalto is not the meeting itself. After all, what could you expect from that bunch of depraved people that wasn't depravity? The meeting itself, the profanity, the impudence, the shamelessness, the lack of modesty, the opportunism, the lack of shame in the face, the stupidity of all the proposals on the table, the disregard and contempt for the afflictions of the people and the country, none of this surprises or shocks. What surprises and shocks, the mystery of mysteries, the astonishment of astonishments, is the fact that it was recorded. The fact that she was immortalized, preserved for posterity.

What was the original purpose of the recording? Who came up with the idea? Was it a protocol habit? Was it an exception? Side question: are there minutes? Perhaps the difference between the recording and the minutes would clarify the purpose of both, if any. If Judge Celso de Mello did not request it, what would be the fate of the recording? Who would take her? What use would it be? From the content of the speeches, you can even think of blackmail.

One thing is certain: although descending into the hells of slang, baseness or lack of morals, the characters in this farce, at the same time comic and sinister, behaved – all of them, including those who remained silent – ​​as if they were gods of Olympus, above good. , of evil and laws, whether those of the country or those of good manners, seeing themselves as omnipotent, unpunished and unimputable entities before anyone of the Portuguese language, even the God they say they worship so much, but for which they do not manifest , deep down, the slightest respect, for so much abusing his name in vain.

I tried to think of some similar meetings, in real history and also in fiction. The first that came to mind, and which I have already mentioned in another article, was the funeral mass of the National Security Council, held on December 13, 1968, when the government headed by Costa e Silva decided to enact Institutional Act n.o. 5 on top of Brazil and the minds of the Brazilian people.

There are profound differences between the two, because in that of 1968 all the rickshaws and trolls of decorum and protocol were respected: it was Your Excellency over there and the Minister over here; but the common thread between both meetings is the feeling of impunity and the famous phrase of the then Minister of Labor, Jarbas Passarinho, saying that at certain times scruples must be put aside. Even so, there is a gap: the characters on December 13th, even if they didn't actually have any, thought they did or at least wanted to appear to have scruples.

The only vote against the enactment of the Act was that of vice-president Pedro Aleixo. But even he considered himself a “man of the Revolution”; otherwise he wouldn't be there where he was. Already at the April 22 meeting, there was nothing to lose or appear: there were no scruples there, not even on the part of those who wanted to appear through obsequious silence. And it was clear that there were no scruples, neither on the part of the Minister of Finance who quoted Hitler's economists nor on the part of the judge who until then had been an accomplice in everything. Would it still be, if “your” PF delegate was not defenestrated? Oh, cruel doubt...

Still in the wake of 1968, I came up with the name of a book, released that year: Or carnival two animais, by my late friend Moacyr Scliar. But no: neither Carnival nor animals deserved to baptize that meeting, led by such an inhumanly human bunch of riffraff. Furthermore, Moacyr, wherever he is, would be scandalized to see the name of one of his books used to characterize the madness of a bunch of soulless people.

Another meeting came to mind: on January 20, 1942, in a mansion in Wansee, on the outskirts of Berlin, fifteen high-ranking representatives of the Third Reich met, under the chairmanship of General Reinhard Heydrich (who would be killed by the Czech resistance in June of the same year). Secretary of the meeting: Lieutenant Colonel Adolf Eichmann. Among those present, judge Roland Freisler, certainly one of the inspirers, even if unsuspected, of Lava Jato's methods and procedures. The differences in the situations were and are evident. But they are united by the same feeling of impunity, of masters of rope and cleaver in other people's lives.

An observation: with the going of the carriage and the war, those present at the 1942 meeting tried to destroy the 30 copies of its minutes, carefully made with terms “softened” by Eichmann; they managed to destroy 29. But one remained, which was found and served as proof, at Nuremberg, of the determination and planning of the Holocaust. At the April 22 meeting, at least initially, there was no concern about destroying anything. On the contrary, there was the satisfaction of exhibitionism, something of a naughty childishness that takes pleasure in recording and exhibiting the misdeed, the “petrified poo” in the room, to quote a chaste expression of one of those present.

Then I turned to fiction. in the poem Paradise Lost [Paradise Lost], by John Milton, in the second canto, the rebellious angels, defeated in their revolt, are hurled into Hell. Lucifer brings them together in an assembly, to deliberate what to do. The chiefs manifest themselves, like Beelzebub, Belial, Mammon. Some want to resume the fight, others prefer to stay where they are to avoid a worse fate. After all, Satan himself speaks, Lucifer, the shining fallen angel, who makes a statement at the same time joyful, painful and glorious, to stay in the liturgical verbiage: “it is better to reign in Hell than to be a slave in Heaven”. Hegel and his dialectic of master and slave would thank you.

But the comparison didn't do very well either. Satan ends by saying that he has heard news that the Lord has created a new being, in his image and likeness: a human being, endowed with freedom. “Who knows,” argues Satan, “he might become our ally?” In other words: Satan, like a true statesman, leaves to do politics, something completely foreign to the April 22 meeting. In this, anti-politics reigned; instead of the law of polis, reigned the darkness of arbitrary and nonconforming dismantling. There was no Satan present, just a few devils without category, infatuated by their vanity, presided over by a spiritual and cowardly cripple, who takes pleasure in attacking the weakest and most oppressed, and loves to serve as a doormat for the powerful monster of the northern hemisphere, seated on the bank of the Potomac, just as if Satan were, when he is but a mere second-hand Tartuffe.

After all, I remembered something that fit as a point of comparison. I am referring to a passage from the film by Luis Buñuel, the ghost of freedom, from 1974. In this passage from the surreal film, some guests gather at the host's house for what appears to be dinner. Looks. Because when they sit at the table, they sit on toilets, where they defecate in public. A child says, "I'm hungry." And she is scolded: “this is not said at the table”. At one point one of the guests gets up and asks the maid where the dining room is. She shows him the place and he goes, sitting alone in what should be a washroom/toilet to… eat! With a good wine on the side. Obscene, no? Another guest knocks on the door, and he responds as befits: “he's busy”.

Well then, this is the perfect comparison for the April 22 meeting: people defecate in public, the act is recorded for history. Because what is feared is exactly the freedom of others: in the depths of those hearts of tormented souls, of the dead who don't know they died, there beats an appalling fear of the free thinking of others.

* Flavio Aguiar is a writer, retired professor of Brazilian literature at USP and author, among other books, of Chronicles of the World Upside Down (Boitempo)

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