In the heart of barbarism

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By TARSUS GENUS*

How many dead still need to be piled up, so that the Powers react together with the people?

“Before the Congo I was just an animal”, exclaimed the terrified Joseph Conrad, author of the magnificent Heart in Darkness (1902), whose central theme in Vargas Llosa's concept is the dialectic between “civilization” and “barbarism”. The work revolves around Kurz – the fleeting little God sheltered in the confines of the African Jungle – and Marlow, who “arrives at the mouth of the great river” and feels his head plunge into the raw solitude of violence. In the jungle, the protocols of war are filtered and crushed, in whose path bodies without an address shine.

The Congo was a territory controlled by the Cia. Belgian of Leopold II, Emperor whose colonialist barbarism was already on the same level as the Nazi “camps”, which appeared decades later. the mighty movie Revelation Now, by Francis Ford Coppola (1979), was inspired by this work by Conrad, with the story in the Vietnamese jungles, where barbarism was the “civilizing” proposal, confronted with the guerrilla Vietnam of national liberation. In this film, as it could be in a satanic tale, the devil and the good God exchanged places: hell is not the sober jungle and the gods, who came from the heavens, brought the messages of hell spitting fire and death.

Vargas Llosa said that “Leopold II was a human indecency, but cultured, intelligent and creative”, but during the 21 years that his company dominated the “Belgian” Congo, the population of the Colony was reduced by half, such was the intensity of exploitation to which she was subjected. Conrad's confession, therefore, that before learning about this undertaking he was “just an animal”, was related to the fact that his accommodation in civility – creator of monsters like Leopold II – shared with the happiness of the colonialist elites, with whom lived without remorse.

I am reminded of a poem by Paulo Mendes Campos that inadvertently proclaims Conrad's inverse ideal with his guilty conscience, as he atones for his ignorance of colonial barbarism. The poet separates the love verse from the concrete story, as great poets know how to do without hurting anyone, when he says: “your soul, my friend, is like Belgium softened with canals, but mine is like the violated Congo of a freedom bad born”.

I think there is an analogy, outside the poem and inside the story: what can we consider ourselves before Bolsonaro? Rejected by the National Army, it was coordinated by senior military officers to reach the Presidency, defender of torture and assassinations of political opponents, it was supported by many of them – both from the “center” and from the right –; he was elected by the canons of formal democracy, but he never denied despising all the institutions of political democracy, even placing himself as “non-political”.

Bolsonaro is the one who blinded a large part of the people (by hatred) and used all the tricks of the “old politics” to seize power, aiming to promote an extreme right-wing coup. By designating the National Army as “my Army”, he treats it as if it were not a State institution, but a private militia dependent on the moods of its owner.

The backdrop to this tragedy of political democracy, which failed to neutralize a useless politician throughout his public life (and who gave himself the right to celebrate death and torture) is made up of two cruel, illegal and deadly attitudes : the permanent mockery of social isolation, which would make it possible to substantially reduce the number of deaths and the contempt for science, scientists and epidemiologists, by sabotaging vaccination, intentionally delaying the purchase, production and reservation of vaccines, which would make it possible to reduce the contagion and the uncontrolled spread of the disease.

Producing a conflict between science and religion was the choice of Bolsonaro's mentors, who put him on the offensive in the brutal void that followed the beginning of his government: without a political program that was not a succession of prejudiced statements, without an economic program that were it not for “ending corruption” for the economy to “recover”, Bolsonaro became a lonely void, occupied by the mental schemes of fascism, which always used religion to raise its necrophiliac crest.

Without knowing Brazil, which he saw only as a landscape from the alienated perspective of the military extreme right, without political cadres that were not just a few unprepared people, without experience in the State and in management, without a capacity for strategic persuasion other than that provided by the “media” accomplices of the “difficult choice”, Bolsonaro had only one merit as a strategist: he knew how to sell himself to the business classes as a right-wing reformist, to pluck the State and dilute social rights, and thus attract to himself the support of the villainous elites, who were unable to compose a candidacy that would unify them.

In one of the editions of “Borders of thought” Marcelo Gleiser, in a conference on “Science, humanity and survival” said, in my view correctly, that the difference between science and faith is the following: “in science we have to see to believe. You look at nature, you look at the world, you get data about how the world works, you analyze that data and you understand. By faith, you believe to see. Belief comes before vision. You believe in it, you don't even have to see anything…”

The instrumental use of religion and faith for the political domain walks with the history of mankind. In the case of the Bolsonarist strategy, it goes against Humanity. By not seeing “nothing” and deliberately disregarding science, the Bolsonaro Government piles up bodies as a strategy of domination and to hatch the serpent’s egg. Conrad said that “before the Congo it was just an animal”, perhaps we should more quickly unravel who these people were who brought Bolsonaro to power – despite all this evidence of his madness – and who still insensitively contemplate the destruction of the nation and its people .

We are not animals. How many dead still need to be piled up, so that the Powers react together with the people, to see and believe in science and democracy, removing Bolsonaro from Power, which he already exercises illegitimately?

*Tarsus in law he was Governor of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mayor of Porto Alegre, Minister of Justice, Minister of Education and Minister of Institutional Relations in Brazil.

 

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