Letter to Manuela D'Ávila

Paul Klee (1879–1940), Temple Gardens, 1920.
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By JULIAN RODRIGUES*

You have been bearing everything without bending over, with dignity and lightness.

Manu, Manu

That's a lot of hate on your shoulders, beautiful. Too much of the bill. Their raw brutality surpasses any political rationalization we try to make. We know who they are and how they operate. We know all the mechanisms handled in recent years. We know how they spread violence, we know how disgusting they are. The violence of these neo-fascists has a focus. First of all, they hate women, black people, LGBT people and all progressive people.

The web of lies and persecution started much earlier, didn't it? Long before most of us realized what this extremist leftist grinding machine was. Long before the popularization of the concept of fake news – or understanding the defamatory gears. Some of us were attacked as a priority – so to speak. Jean, Maria do Rosário and you, Manu, were almost exclusive victims in a certain period of the violent networks of the extreme right. As if everything were a rehearsal of what would become the modus operandi – the pattern of Bolsonarism on the rise.

Of course, it's not just the few most targeted targets. They spread prejudice across the board. The neo-fascist offensive killed Marielle, deposed Dilma, arrested Lula, invented piroc bottlesto block Haddad's election. And you aroused a hatred extra-strong-plus-addsl in the fascistoid gang.

Guys just can't tolerate a beautiful, smart, popular woman... A chick who's been a communist since she was a teenager. Which has a lot of votes. Which is articulated. Who defends human rights. Who is a feminist – speaking openly in favor of women's sexual/reproductive rights – and LGBT friendly on top of that. Never before in the history of this country had a 37-year-old woman been a candidate for vice-president of the Republic. Do you have any idea? You see: a communist woman, young, beautiful, articulate and feminist.

Think of our friend. Jean: fagot black from the northeast, socialist, charismatic, intelligent. She became a deputy – it was too much for the guys. So: Manuela D'ávila: woman – radical and broad, who always dated who she wanted and when she wanted, young, empowered, with tattoos  – and another truckload of votes. That she decided to be a mother (without giving up her trajectory as a public figure).

You've been bearing everything without bending over, with dignity and lightness. It went against the sexists, Bolsonarist troops (often without even having the full support of the left).

Vice President, Mayor of Porto Alegre. Touching her personal life, studying, writing her books, reflecting – she never lowered her head to the obscurantist phalanxes. This Bolsonarist mob, a machete (yes, it's all white-cis-straight men) keeps chasing you - committing unspeakable violence against your little girl Laura, against you, against your family.

Jean Wyllys, Tatiana Lionço, Márcia Tiburi, Larissa Bombardi, among other preferred targets of the fascists, opted for self-exile. You, however, decided to stay. Walk touching your life, your projects, keep dyeing your hair in every possible color. They are not able to accept that this Manu girl wrote a master's thesis at the same time that she was campaigning to be vice president of the country. It's connected that she is too much for this bunch of resentful fascistoids?

I can't even imagine the perverse, painful effects of this incessant political violence on your everyday life. Have mental health. But I know you are strong, resilient - she armed herself. Today Manuela is one of the leaders of the Brazilian left who best understands the challenges of communication from a theoretical point of view – and is one of the greatest influencers from the left.

We've known each other forever (long live the student movement) and you know I've always been your fan (even, sometimes annoying my PT). I wish you a lot of hard shell, wisdom and lightness. The future of the Brazilian left passes through some talented young socialist cadres, with political training, charisma, in tune with contemporary agendas. That is: it passes, among many, by you, necessarily.

From now until 2022, we are facing the challenge of defeating Bolsonarism and electing Lula. You are a key player in this war, regardless of which position you occupy. Let's, like Jean, spit in the face of the fascists again and always. He takes care of himself. Hug Duca tightly – kiss Laura. In the hardest hours, she remembers that “you're not alone”.

* Julian Rodrigues is a professor and journalist, LGBTI and human rights activist

 

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