The true national reconciliation

Image: Marcelo Guimarães Lima


There is no way to talk about national conciliation without going through the punishment of the crimes of Jair Bolsonaro and his allies

According to some experts, the so-called Stockholm syndrome, a condition in which the victim of physical and/or emotional violence develops reactions and relationships of affection towards her aggressor, can be understood as a psychological defense mechanism in situations of risk, tension and harm. Mechanism by which the victim tries, unconsciously, to transform the gravity of his circumstance, tries to imaginarily minimize the evident dangers and the real damages of situations of harassment, pressure and aggression.

With Freud, psychoanalysis studied the defense mechanisms of the ego, the role of fantasy in psychic life and health, the disjunctions involved in the subjects' representations of themselves and the world. Seeing reality and your personal reality as they really are is, for human beings, a constant challenge. An “existential” challenge, something that is part of the situation and vital constitution of all of us.

Life requires courage from us, said the wisdom of the jagunço-philosopher portrayed by Guimarães Rosa. And courage is a constant achievement in the challenges imposed by life and in those self-imposed such as, for example, the pact with the devil sought by the jagunço Riobaldo in Great Sertão: Veredas to transform his subaltern condition into the inevitable struggles and challenges of the life system of which he was a part, the jagunçagem, with its particular values, rewards and costs, demands and impositions.

The victory in the jagunça war, in the case of Riobaldo, unfolded in the subsequent victory against the devil himself, to the extent that the former jagunço disbanded, at least in his daily life as a besieger removed from the war, from his belief in exchanges with the King of Darkness. Ambiguously, between the narrated belief and disbelief, Riobaldo frees himself by retirement from the demonic pact as from a past life of violence.

Riobaldo actually got to know human evil in the violence enacted and experienced in wars and confrontations. Undoubted evil in contrast to the dubious existence and actuality of the Shadow King's power. We can say that the jagunço-philosopher in Guimarães Rosa's narrative is a realist, someone who knew the complexity of his condition, who fully assumed his choices in war and, as much as possible, within the sertaneja and warrior condition, in friendship and love by Diadorim, a hermaphrodite symbol of convergence in the struggle between masculine and feminine, something like a representation of the Heraclitean division of reality which is the unity of opposites, the junction of what is divided through conflict. War, conflict, struggle is the possible unity of the diverse, and it is also the principle and origin of all things, said Heráclito.

Here it is important to point out that Riobaldo, as an assumed and experienced warrior, knew his enemies, it was not his place to have any doubts or illusions about those he fought. The same does not seem to happen in the troubled political life in Brazil today. What is certain is that disorientation is a general condition of subjects and human groups (classes, nationalities, etc.) in today's neoliberal world in crisis, something that we can recognize as a fact, but that we obviously cannot justify. For what is at stake here and now is not our self-representation, the everyday narcissism of all of us, “self-love” as such, but the effectiveness of our ideas and actions in the reality of the conflicts of human life and the greater conflict that today conditions our lives in its various individual and collective dimensions, that is, the conflict that opposes, on the one hand, the maintenance of the current economic and political structures that exclude global power, and on the other, literally, the survival of civilization, with all the its questions, and even, in the relative long duration, the survival of the human species in the so-called Anthropocene period.

Globalized capitalist society seems to have reached the point of confusing, in the same mental perspective and material activity, vital social reproduction and the destruction of the basic conditions of planetary life. Such a society can be and has been characterized, among other formulations, as autophagic, schizophrenic, blind and irrational. That individuals are affected in their representations and self-representations in such a context is not surprising.

But it is really strange that the same thing happens with those who take upon themselves the political-pedagogical responsibilities of safeguarding and radically transforming human society through the values ​​of intelligence and freedom, against obscurantism, dispossession, violence, oppression , against the trivialized death drive.

Recently, and repeatedly, Senator Jacques Wagner, leader of the PT, publicly defended General Villas Boas,[1] who played an outstanding role in the 2016 coup and who, if I am not mistaken, continues to represent the obscurantist and anti-democratic thinking of the Armed Forces leadership as, at the same time, heir and orphan of the 1964 business-military dictatorship and the convenient Jurassic ideology of “ generic anti-communism” of the XNUMXth century Cold War.

The senator invokes the cordiality of personal relations with the general to defend him from… from what, exactly? From the military's own acts and pronouncements in favor of the coup and the coup regime: it's Jair Bolsonaro's fault, says the parliamentarian, not the general! As if President Jair Bolsonaro and his military supporters in government positions and state bureaucracy had nothing to do with each other! If Senator Jacques Wagner is not naïve, he must believe that we all are.

Cordiality is a principle of human relationships that we must undoubtedly cultivate. We do not despise cordiality: it is part of the ethos, of the set of habits and norms of Brazilian culture, directly present in popular culture, and not just a mere conciliatory and mystifying representation of relations between classes.

But the general's actions and opinions have nothing, absolutely nothing to do with cordiality in Brazilian life. The general's cordiality towards the PT senator ends exactly where the dictatorial power seconded by the military as a project for the country begins. The dictatorship desired by the Brazilian reactionaries and promised by Bolsonaro would in no way reward the cordiality and personal generosity of Senator Jacques Wagner, quite the contrary.

In the same vein, PT federal deputy Washington Quaquá published a photo hugging Bolsonarist general Eduardo Pazuello praising the general's personal cordiality at an official work meeting.[2] "Honi soit qui mal y fale”, preemptively declares the deputy and generously offers us his justification for the congratulatory photo with Jair Bolsonaro’s general. It is about “conciliation”, national interest, democracy, and other high-sounding ideas and arguments, in short, noble ideals that people of good nature and open mind can easily understand. Anyone who does not want to understand or accept such lofty justifications only demonstrates limitations of understanding what “democracy” is, about the clairvoyant professional activity of everyday politics, as the parliamentarian understands it, and so much evidence in the same direction.

That good will and unilateral good intentions can be sources of serious errors of evaluation and action (or inaction) in the political conjuncture is something that recent experience teaches us much more clearly than the justifications of the parliamentarian. Do PT representatives need to be reminded of the recent electoral process and Jair Bolsonaro's dirty game to try to get re-elected? With Jair Bolsonaro in power, would we now have gentle generals handing out hugs to the opposition? Is it necessary to remember that the right and the extreme right at this moment are alive and ready for new opportunities for coup alliances? Even the noble conciliator parliamentarian can understand this, I believe. There are those who confuse thinking dialectically, that is, recognizing the complexity and incessant dynamism of reality, as a kind of license for inconsistency.

True national conciliation, reconciling the country with itself and with its vocation as the land of its own people, is the one that involves punishing the crimes of Jair Bolsonaro and his allies. The refusal to face and punish torturers in uniform and their bosses in the post-military dictatorship in the last decades of the last century, left us as a country with the cruel legacy of impunity for coup leaders, incentives for coups, irresolution about what we are finally like collectivity.

In the present situation, we see the Coup Party Press Party resuming its lying and coup-plotting practices against Lula and the PT, Faria Lima pretending that it had nothing to do with Bolsonaro, the centrão and the extreme right, as well as the military, in holding compass, in effect reorganizing for future strikes. The moment does not ask for “fraternization”, but struggle.

Great Sertão: Veredas It is a story of aretê, of Riobaldo's warrior virtue and, above all, of the personal astuteness of the jagunço who overcomes the demons of uncertainty and cowardice in the firm and targeted action of making warrior justice prevail against those who broke the fundamental norms of jagunça sociability. For even in the society of these violent men there are norms that define limits, rights and duties. Those who violate such norms contribute to confusing all meanings, mixing up the reasons for life and death, a true demonic work of will and lack of meaning.

*Marcelo Guimaraes Lima is an artist, researcher, writer and teacher.


[1] The unbelievable forgiveness of Jaques Wagner to General Villas Boas – Pedro Estevam da Rocha Pomar

[2] Valter Pomar: Quaquá, in arm with the genocidal Pazuello, “trampling the tomb of more than 450 dead”


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