The year we minimally returned to normality

Image: Plato Terentev
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By FRANCISCO FERNANDES LADEIRA*

Around here, the Earth will stop being flat and become round again.

If we had to sum up 2022 in a few words, we would probably write the following sentence: “the year we minimally return to normality”. After 2020 and 2021 practically dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, this year, finally, as far as possible, we lead a life without masks, telework and social distancing. However, after four years of nightmares caused by a fascist government, we can also say that, as of January 1st, we will be free of another virus, with the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for his third presidential term.

However, this does not necessarily mean that the new coronavirus and Bolsonarism have disappeared from the map. The undemocratic acts across the country, after the October elections, and the increase in cases of Covid-19, in recent days, indicate that we will have great challenges for 2023. As the saying goes: “not everything is flowers”. Like Lula, obscure figures such as Sergio Moro, Damares Alves, Tarcísio de Freitas, Eduardo Bolsonaro, Mario Frias and Ricardo Salles also emerged victorious at the polls. But now we fight under much more favorable conditions than before.

Still on the national scene, 2022 was marked by clashes between Bolsonaristas and the Federal Supreme Court, by the tragedies (more “human” than “natural”) caused by the rains in Capitólio and Petrópolis, by the outbreak of monkeypox and by the specter of inflation. In the month of May, we had the news that the classic album corner club, deservedly, was elected “the best Brazilian album of all time”. A historic repair to a masterpiece that, until then, did not have the due recognition.

Speaking of which, Milton Nascimento, the most emblematic name in Minas Gerais music, turned 80 in 2022 (as did Caetano Veloso, Paulinho da Viola and Gilberto Gil). On the other hand, Tupiniquim culture lost Gal Costa, Elza Soares, Claudia Jimenez, Erasmo Carlos and Rolando Boldrin.

In the international news, the main highlights were the Russia/Ukraine war, the re-election of Emmanuel Macron in France, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the mobilizations of women in Iran, the coup d'état against Peruvian president Pedro Castillo, the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk and Lionel Messi's sensational, epic and dramatic Argentina title at the Qatar World Cup. In this way, South American football proved that it is not inferior to European football, as some like to propagate.

According to data released by Google, this year, among the topics most searched by Brazilians on the main internet search site, were “elections”, “World Cup” and “Russia and Ukraine War”. A good portrait of what was (the busy) 2022.

They say that New Year's Eve is a purely symbolic event. It doesn't change anything. It's just a way of counting one more cycle of translation of the Earth. However, in Brazil, the turn from 2022 to 2023 will mark the passage from “fascism” to “democracy”, from “obscurantism” to “enlightenment”, from a government “exclusively directed to the interests of the rich” to a government “also geared towards popular aspirations.

Around here, the Earth will stop being flat and will return to being round, vaccines will stop turning people into alligators and will be effective again, Nazism will stop being of the left and will return to being of the extreme right, science and universities will once again have more credibility than the zap group.

Faced with this reality, it is not by chance that “hope” was elected the word of the year for 2022 by Brazilians surveyed by the consultancy Cause and the Instituto de Pesquisa Ideia. Anyway, we have good reasons to celebrate this New Year's Eve. I hope that "playpen", "motociata" and "hate office", among other aberrations, become just sad memories of an unfortunate page in our history. Goodbye “1964”. Let 2023 come!

*Francisco Fernandes Ladeira is a doctoral candidate in geography at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of The ideology of international news (CRV).

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