Systemic slowness and genocide

Image: Paulinho Fluxuz_


The slowness in the sphere of the state machine in the fight against Covid-19 adds progressive population asepsis to the current history of Brazil

For Bader Burihan Sawaia


The narrative wave of vaccine salvationism, combined with its cousin discourse, the utopianism of “herd immunization” from only of one or two sequential bites on the skin, can be as socially deadly as the collective failure to observe recommended health habits.

This detail, in the avalanche of facts and versions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, constituted the argumentative point of a previous article on the drama of difficult and necessary institutional decisions – a dilemma inflated by the (understandable) exasperation of business expectations and the population in relation to definitively overcoming the pandemic scourge. (To access the text, click here.)

The three procedural paths mentioned – vaccinatory salvationism, the utopia of perfect immunization and sanitary sloppiness – are second only to a fourth trend, structurally overdetermined: the logistical, administrative and operational slowness, due to ostensive incompetence, of the federal government. Parading a monumental leadership vacuum, this bureaucratic performance (very expensive, by the way) is supported by the gap of an institutional campaign – absolutely zero – of official and public clarification on the seriousness of the situation and on the planning of the long-awaited, gradual and safe solution.

The invisible pulsional magmas of mass societies have always been essentially cut by random, undisciplined and pluridirectional endogenous tendencies. The autonomy and spontaneity of an explosion of life, sometimes manifested without control from within the impoundment galvanized by education and by all forms of morality (family, religious, etc.), is constitutive of the way of being of these societies. In conditions of imminent entropic risk (that is, of death at any moment), in the midst of news saturation and serial bubbles of fake news, the absence of a reputable instance of government and/or State, with proven and productive multi-articulatory capacity, leaves society to the fate of daily habits and procedures involuntarily unfavorable to the protection of the lives of others, a fact triggered already at home.

Recent research of the Lowy Institute found Brazil in last place in the ranking institutional response to combat COVID-19. The Australian institute compared indicators from 98 countries. Brazil had the worst response: from zero to one hundred, it received a score of 4,3(1) – an international scandal that goes back to the decade 1501-1510.


The strategic reading is not tormented by doubts: the nullity of responsible ethics equals to a form of governance. The Brazilian case has easily apprehensible characteristics and ingredients. They become all the more clear when the resource of speed is invoked.

Along with all objects, relationships and processes, speed has always had many facets. As an instrument of political, economic and social interference, it can save or kill, depending on the time, context and case. The intentionality of its use determines both the axiological padding (related to values) and the point of the goal involved.

In terms of public health, during a severe pandemic, the government's refusal to exploit, to the last consequences, speed as an operational resource sine qua non it kills infinitely more than it saves.

Here is reconfirmed the circulating image: a genocide that neo-fascist necropolitics today wants smooth and silent – ​​with responsible people smiling, in cynical circles from barbecue and beer to caviar and Perrier-Jouët, indifferent –, an osmotic genocide, without fanfare, so as not to disturb serenities and elite reputation, nor sensitive moods of upcoming elections. The naturalization of the process left the insolence of this illegality outside the Brazilian and international constitutional, penal and civil codes: in the chapter on crimes against the country and against humanity, the legislators forgot to typify it, in the required specificity.

Here, from another angle, is governmental delinquency which, without convulsing the status quo, is confused with that of the State: it is expressed in the neo-fascist option for apparently purposeful strategic slowness, instead of speed in favor of thousands of human lives. At this point, even any “accidental” gap in doses in the national distribution of vaccines ends up falling into the legitimate calculation of structural mistrust:(2) the immunizing delay trivializes death by crowding thousands of coffins, with this unacceptable sign: they could be avoided.

The new coronavirus and its variants have geometrized nuclear irradiation on the insolent beards of an ecstatic state; and Bolsonarism (civil and military) in the state apparatus solemnly mimics confident snail strides. In another elementary comparison, the result resonates like a gigantic cosmic scale differing from amoebic tuning fork. An unappealable shock, at the heart of malpractice: the dromocratic ability of the virus confronts, with deplorable – infinite – victory, the incredible political-vaccination dromoinaptitude of the federal government. The arrogant irresponsibility of official Bolsonarism established a lifelong position behind all strains. He copies quixotic insanity without due height: to pretend to “catch” the virus, he orders a horseless carriage.

In the shadow of a sneaky multimedia invisibility, the systemic slowness in the sphere of the state machine adds progressive population asepsis to the current history of the country. As when it decimated entire indigenous cultures, since the beginning of colonization, and then continued to carry out perversities during the enslavement of Africans, Brazil, in the hemophagous trail of the military dictatorship, today collaborates with the history of horrors.

The duty to defend lives authorizes us to caress: under such uncivil insolence, so primitive, the federal government does not commit a toll on any probity to have even a simple grave in the future. With a wide public example, he claims, rather, an opulent seat at the apex of hell.


This is how political scabrousness – universal here, as anywhere – is apprehended from the perspective of phenomenological sociodromology, conceived by Paul Virilio, of late memory, a French specialist in military history, war culture and the logic of war. Phenomenological sociodromology, unconditional in relation to connivance, sharp from the assumptions to the last paragraph, fundamentally contributes to the thought of opposition to the status quo present in Brazil – “state of absurdity”, obliterated in the perceptive rush of the days.

With Philia loyal, this theoretical perspective meets, on the same circle, on the same day and at the same time, with other visions of contradicto – neo-Marxism, politicized socio-psychoanalysis, committed post-structuralism, biopolitics, neo-anarchism, neo-Frankfurteanism, the discursive dissections and even indignant nihilism, among others. These strands, in the wake of their traditions, share a principle sine qua non: theoretical and social criticism as an instrument of work and life. For no other reason, they are, above all, anti-fascists.

With a magnifying glass and tweezers, phenomenological sociodromology draws attention to this peculiar occurrence: the exclusive typification of crimes of slowness and speed escaped the legal eye in the fullness of the era of acceleration. It is not entirely wrong to assert that the letter of constitutional letters and other legal codes results from a legal perception corresponding to pre-capitalist socio-political and cultural dynamics, when everyday life seemed to have a higher rate of stability compared to the current dynamics of metropolises and medium-sized developed cities. . The socio-technological wheel-life since the first industrial revolution, at the end of the 1970th century, intercepted and shattered this rhythm into a thousand frantic and irreversible paths, exacerbated after the Second World War. The spiral deepened with the proliferation of digital technologies and networks, starting in the XNUMXs. The continuous historical renewal of bureaucratic violence, which underlies crimes of governmental ineptitude, demonstrates that jurisprudence would need to update its foundations.

In joint theoretical combat, as in 1939 et seq., the phenomenological sociodromology, solidarity, helps, today, to count the dead in Brazil; and, bent over funeral lists, makes a point of strengthening, with each name pronounced, the process of denunciation against the population cleansing in progress – especially in the poorest, peripheral and black strata – to international judicial courts.

* Eugene Trivinho is professor of the Graduate Studies Program in Communication and Semiotics at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP).


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