Lula and obscurantism

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By MANUEL DOMINGOS NETO*

Lula's determination to remain silent regarding the 1964 coup is unacceptable; goes against his own history and confronts the forces that guaranteed his election

Nations do not result from “natural” processes: they are communities imagined and built to legitimize the modern State. Anyone who has studied modern history with an eye on cultural processes knows this. The construction of nations is extremely delicate and dangerous work: it produces the most powerful and deadly collective feeling ever known.

There is no modern carnage that is not conducted in the name of defending this sacrosanct entity, also called “homeland”. Great murderers of the 19th century acted in the name of God, country and family. Currently, the advance of ultraconservatism occurs through the biased agitation of these flags. There is no authoritarian political regime that dispenses with the use of noble feelings belittled by obscurantists.

A mere head of state does not have the moral authority to ask for the lives of his citizens. A “father of the country” or a “head of the nation” has it. In the name of this sacrosanct community, multitudes kill and die, convinced that they will ascend to the ultimate pantheon of glory.

Jair Bolsonaro promised to machine-gun social reformers in the name of God, country and family. He learned, in the Army, that “the highest value of a nation / vibrates in the soul of the soldier, roars in the soul of the cannon” (Anthem of the Artillery, based on German army music, was once shown to me by an attentive friend ).

(Reminder to those who defend the reform of military education as an appropriate way of “democratizing” the Army: it is the songbook, more than lectures in the classroom, that leaves the military convinced of their status as creators of the nation and responsible for its destiny).

The construction of this community, the nation, is permanent. The most recognized theorist of nation-building in the 19th century, Ernest Renan, coined a phrase that would be repeated insistently: the nation is an everyday option. There is no truce in the fight for the nation we desire.

The construction of this community represents a constant dispute between divergent social interests. In this process, it is essential to “forget” certain facts and exalt others, said Ernest Renan, an author used by Italian fascists.

Eric Hobsbawm, in turn, revealed that the invention of traditions plays a fundamental role in the creation of nationalities.

Today we talk about a “dispute of narratives”, but the political struggle has always been guided by divergent interpretations of lived experiences. Those “from below” must reject the instructions of those who exploit them.

Lula ordered silence regarding the 1964 coup.

The Brazilian soldier believes that, on this occasion, he saved the country. He is not ashamed of the fact that such “salvation” was made possible by the Pentagon’s military force. The President of the United States gave the order to stop the reformism led by João Goulart, a legally established ruler.

Lula's determination is inadmissible. He contradicts his own history and confronts the forces that guaranteed his election. She's a spit in Jango's face. She denies the speech that legitimized the 1988 Constitution, when Ulysses Guimarães argued that the dictatorship deserved hatred and disgust from Brazilians.

Lula's determination helps to legitimize the betrayal of popular interests that occurred in 1964. It throws into the trash can the commitment of all the democrats who were involved in combating the murderous regime.

It tramples on those who gave their lives for freedom and social reforms. The list is long, from Tiradentes to Manoel Fiel Filho. It passes through Bárbara de Alencar, Bergson Gurjão and Helenira Resende.

Consciously or not, Lula endorsed the historical perception of the barracks, which sees itself as the incarnation of noble purposes. Why did Lula take such an attitude? The Constitution determines that he takes command of corporations. Lula spoke as a subordinate, not as a commander. He does not have the role of spokesperson for the ranks.

In the name of preserving democracy, it makes no sense to endorse those who are committed to destroying it. Lula spoke like an obscurantist and owes Brazilians an apology.

* Manuel Domingos Neto He is a retired UFC professor and former president of the Brazilian Association of Defense Studies (ABED). Author, among other books What to do with the military – Notes for a new National Defense (Reading Cabinet). [https://amzn.to/3URM7ai]


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