“Hope child” – in Brazil and Gaza

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By RUBENS PINTO LYRA*

It is not necessary to be a “left-wing radical” to share the understanding about the ineffectiveness of initiatives that are not social in nature for social problems

“A part of the bourgeoisie, philanthropists, humanitarians, charity organizers, the most varied social reformers, wish to remedy social evils to ensure the existence of bourgeois society” (Karl Marx, Communist Party Manifesto).

These words of the still young Marx, written more than 170 years ago, are relevant today. The great German thinker addressed them to what he called, at the time, “bourgeois socialists” (MARX: 1998, p. 40). However, they fit like a glove to our current philanthropists – despite not being socialists at all – humanitarians and “charity organizers”, who seek, consciously or not, to cover the sun with a sieve, intending to give effectiveness to notoriously ineffective actions. .

This ideology can be summarized as follows: if everyone does their part, the country's problems will be solved, or at least considerably mitigated.

The media, especially the Globo, make a point of highlighting individual acts of generosity, such as those of Christmas without Hunger and those of marketing business, such as the “Criança Esperança” program, as extremely important initiatives to reduce social inequality. These are, in fact, mere palliatives that serve, consciously or not, to give good conscience to those who believe that campaigns like this are worth carrying out.

Christmas without Hunger is a promotion, like other similar ones, the result of the generosity of many disinterested individuals, who really want to promote good. But it does not aim to achieve what is important: that its beneficiaries do not go hungry throughout the year. Therefore, this initiative works – without its promoters being aware of it – like a smokescreen that hides the imperative need to seek greater social equality, and to identify the means that make it viable.

However, it is not difficult to see that the sponsors of campaigns relating to different “philanthropies” – as a general rule, the media – know very well that this is a way to elide the need for debate about the structural causes of hunger and how to eliminate it. there.

Among them, the Criança Esperança program stands out, held annually in Globo, of high-impact media campaigns, which disseminate, exhaustively, successful experiences, giving them almost demiurgical virtues. They convey the false impression that Brazilian problems would be considerably reduced if programs of this type were disseminated.

They function as a screen that hides the contrast between what is collected in donations – never more than 23 million reais – (CRIANÇA ESPERANÇA: 2019), and the billions that would be needed to guarantee all Brazilian children, as stipulated in the Constitution, quality food, health and education: “To give you an idea of ​​how modest the resources of this program are, considering the objective of 'transforming the lives of Brazilian children: suffice it to say that its collection represents less than 1% of the profit that got the Globo. She, alone, could afford programs much larger than the current one” (LYRA: 2018, p. 79).]

What Rede Globo intends, subliminally, is to instill in its viewers a minimalist conception of the State, considered necessarily wasteful and which suffocates everyone with excruciating taxes. Hence his commitment to believe that the solution to Brazil's problems passes through “society”, that is, above all, salaried workers and other working categories, through the support they give to voluntary initiatives of a palliative nature (LYRA: 2018, p. 79-80).

Those who endorse such campaigns contribute, nolens volens, for the maintenance of an unjust social order, as they intend to replace consistent initiatives to overcome it - with fairer social policies, with benevolent actions, of an individual or corporate nature, which contribute little or nothing to reducing the country's blatant social inequality .

In this same perspective, comments from media presenters and other celebrities are included. They believe that initiatives of this kind will have the power to change people and society for the better in social life. This is misleading reasoning, steeped in conservative ideology, which – consciously or not – conceals the true alternatives for improving the human and social condition in Brazil.

About them – and not by chance – there is absolute silence from the media. There is no discussion of public policies that substantially change the abysmal inequality that, with the pandemic, tends to worsen.

The media also highlights the philanthropy of large financial and industrial corporations, such as Bradesco and Itaú. They boast that these are generous initiatives. Even if their donations correspond to the renunciation of an insignificant portion of their profits, they attribute to them the ability to contribute to the reduction of inequality – for which they are mainly responsible.

This type of philanthropy is nothing more than a profitable investment, as it serves to give them the image of organizations that not only aim for profit, but also for the good of the country. And it also serves to divert attention to the fact that large companies, especially those in the financial system, constitute the pillars of a cruelly unfair social order. In fact, “in a country that is one of the world champions of social inequality, only five billionaires hold the same wealth as the poorest half of the country!” (GOMES: 2020). Under these conditions, it is no wonder that “the pandemic has exposed social inequality and revealed that black and poor people are the most affected” (PANDEMIA, 2020).

There is no need to pretend, therefore, that we can advance in human dignity, and that we have emerged “better than before”, knowing that the fundamental rights of the poor and excluded in this country will become even more vulnerable in the post-pandemic period. Something very different from initiatives that propose illusory solutions, such as those described above, are the bonds of solidarity that can be established, for transformative purposes, between those who are, to a greater or lesser extent, exploited by capital.

These are capable, within society, of promoting effective actions to transform it, when they become aware that only the implementation of inclusive social policies can give, in Brazil and elsewhere, hope of redemption to poor children.

At the international level, a recent statement by journalist Jorge Pontual, from Globo, goes against this alternative, by endorsing violent voluntarist actions to achieve supposedly defensible social objectives.

With more than five thousand children dead in Gaza and fifteen hundred missing, according to President Lula (2023), the “Criança Esperança” broadcaster defends, through the voice of one of its most conspicuous collaborators, the genocide practiced by Israel, even through attacks on ambulances (COSTA:2023).

But what effect would the generosity of some towards them have, when a militaristic policy is in force that takes thousands of their lives? What importance does it have for the spokespeople of the interests of the rich and powerful the slaughter committed against a poor people, with no means of defending themselves against the permanent political, social, economic and military oppression of which they are victims? For them, the four thousand deaths of children in Gaza do not matter, nor do the millions who in Brazil continue to suffer from hunger and misery, condemned to early death or social marginalization, due to an exclusionary economic system.

Providing only a few children with a better life, leaving almost all of them in a situation of permanent vulnerability, is a naive way, in some cases, and an unfair way, in many others, of giving good conscience. The hope with which Globo dangles is nothing more than an ideological mask that hides the effective solution for children, in Brazil or elsewhere: the promotion of inclusion in society.

It is not necessary to be a “left-wing radical” to share the understanding about the ineffectiveness of initiatives that are not of a social nature for social problems, as can be seen in the document Letter to the people of God, signed by one hundred and fifty-two Brazilian bishops. In it, the prelates state that “the response to Brazilian problems should not be understood as a sum of personal gestures in favor of some individuals, a series of actions intended to reassure only one's own conscience” And they add: “the changes we need require May we awaken from the sleep that immobilizes us and makes us mere spectators of the reality of thousands of deaths that plague us.”

In conclusion, they warn, as did the apostle Paul, that “the night is already advanced and the day is approaching: let us reject the works of darkness and let us put on the maturity of light” (BERGAMO:2020).

* Rubens Pinto Lyra He is Professor Emeritus at UFPB. Author, among other books, of Bolsonarism: ideology, psychology, politics and related topics (CCTA/UFPB).

References


BERGAMO, Monica. “Bolsonaro’s speech is unethical and is based on an economy that kills, says a letter signed by 152 Brazilian bishops.

COSTA, Filipe. Massacre in Gaza. https: aterraeredonda.com.br, 11 nov. 2023.

CHILDHOPE breaks a historic record by reaching 22.5 million. Available at 15.uol.com.br Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

GOMES, Helton.Five Brazilian billionaires have the same wealth as the poorest half of the country, says study. Available at https://g1globo.com 14.jun.2020. Accessed on September 24th. 2022.Folha de São Paulo: São Paulo, 28 Jul. 2020.

LULA, Luiz Inácio. Statement released by Globo 14.11.2023.

LYRA, Rubens Pinto. Hope child: path to change? In: Journalism and citizenship. João Pessoa: UFPB Ed., 2018.

MARX. Karl and ENGELS, Friedrich. Communist Party Manifesto. São Paulo:Cortez, 1998.

PANDEMIC exposes social inequality and reveals that black and poor people are the most affected. Single Workers Central. 25.Jul.2020.


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