Chile, joy ya viene

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By MARILIA PACHECO FIORILLO*

We are so unused to beautiful news that we almost need to reprogram ourselves to metabolize winning for good.

I had the privilege, in 1988, of covering the referendum on whether or not the dictator Pinochet should remain in Chile, published in the magazine This is from then. The chronicle of the daily life of this battle-report is a separate story to be told again. Suffice it to say that we, journalists from all over the world, were initially received on sponge cake by the dictatorship, which reserved a large and sophisticated press room in the best hotel in the capital, and gave free passes to those who wore a badge.

Of course the blackouts and bombs tear gas they were daily, constant. Street vendors in Santiago offered, with their ancestral wisdom (that idea that cultures that trade abhor confrontations that only bring harm) announced in a loud voice “lanterns for the blackouts!” It is“lemons for tears”, calm and direct! The most prudent of us stockpiled this White-Leonic artillery until the result came out. Pinochet's self-deception and megalomania were rivaled only in their cruelty, and he and the junta flattered us. But in life as it is, the rallies of the No were supervised by tanks. It was scary, but we went, because the hunger was greater to see a bloodthirsty tyranny crumble.

O No he took. Cleaned. The TV campaign was magnificent, so well portrayed and believable in the film with Gabriel Garcia Bernal (and his internal fight in the opposition to convince that advertising based on the call to happiness, and in ballets, pampeiro knights, humor, singing, would be more effective than a justly resentful campaign to settle scores).

Many people in Santiago embarrassedly expressed their contempt for Pinochet by turning on the windshield without it raining, the gesture of no on the window of the car. Priests and nuns (the Chilean Church was not the Argentine one…) sat in the squares and streets, in a peaceful resistance received to gas jets. Hours before the result, strolling around the outskirts, I witnessed the most moving scene of all my reporting: on an almost empty bus, an elderly lady, seeing my badge around her neck, placed her hand on the window and shook her head several times. finger. Fragile, alone, elderly, vulnerable, victim. Mother (grandmother) Courage.

This was before the result. When the No won, in a landslide, and there was no way to be defrauded; we journalists and international observers, untouchable a minute ago, have been beaten hard. And how we got it! So we took shelter in roof from the previously hospitable hotel, and the scene was tragicomic: it looked like a Red Cross ER, many of us with broken arms, bruises, crutches and sticking plasters. I remember the vehement, applauded speech by the senior BBC envoy. Meanwhile, on the streets, the population left their homes, swelled and jumped in unison (yes, Chileans have this knack of synchronized jumping) singing “Chi, chi, chi, read, read, read, se vaya Pinochet".

Amarcord, I do, with the excuse of speaking in the first person, because Gabriel Boric's victory in yesterday's elections is far from being just the victory of the left against the extreme right. It is fright and joy. It's more than it seems. It is, even if only now, a victory for the entire planet.

I learned about it through the international news, as the Brazilian mainstream media barely touched on the subject, busy with Temer and long-limbed academics. I learned about it after watching, with deep anguish, an exclusive footage of the atrocities that the Myanmar military is committing in villages to the north, torturing peasants at random all day long and killing dozens of people, with refinements of cruelty whose abomination can only be seen compares to the speech of the spokesperson of this tenth circle of Hell (which Dante forgot), General Zaw Min Tun. He did not deny the carnage, and even recommended it (filmed). In the video, the screams of the little granddaughter asking for mercy while they torture and murder her grandfather, who had not fled because he thought he would be spared since he could barely walk, are unbearable. Although they are no exception: one more of the hundreds and thousands of delusions, teratologies with which we anesthetize ourselves every day.

Even though I am resilient by duty, as I deal with the subject of human rights in a radio column, and I diligently follow Myanmar, Yemen, Syria, Belarus and every corner of this easy, easy transmutation of men into monsters more horrendous than those of Goya , I thought I couldn't take it anymore, and I would plunge into acedia, that sin vituperated by Thomas Aquinas.

The puzzling thing, though, was I had the opposite reaction. I was further shocked and bewildered by the next piece of news. Confused, even, with the election of Gariel Boric. My body and mind were so used to our daily barbarism that it took a while for civilization to metabolize. Yes, we are so unused to beautiful news that we almost need to reprogram ourselves to metabolize winning for good. Thus, Manichaean, if you will.

That Boric will face difficulties, taken for granted. That he represents a new left, free of the crypto-Stalinist platitudes that thrive all over, ditto. That he is young, from another generation, and that can be both a hindrance and an unprecedented experience, from another democracy and another Constitution and another way of doing politics that we need so much, ditto.

But for now I just want to savor the repressed sense of celebration, contentment, hope. For the time being, I know that Boric's victory has not only Latin American but worldwide resonance. For all that is eccentric. For demonstrating that, just as history is not over, as was fashionable a while ago, the new normal may soon die a natural death.

Thank you Chile.

The joy has already come.

*Marilia Pacheco Fiorillo is a retired professor at the USP School of Communications and Arts (ECA-USP). Author, among other books, of The Exiled God: A Brief History of a Heresy (Brazilian Civilization).

 

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