the official mourning

Image: Rene Asmussen


The mourning triggered and staged by Jair Bolsonaro becomes a technology for the multiplication of social suffering

Death is a moment of suffering and collective embracement. Mourning is a way to channel this sea of ​​social pain that materializes in an official act. Mourning is a rite that has several connotations and consequences, such as: raising the flag at half mast is an external sign of official mourning. In general, the normal period for national mourning is three days, which may exceptionally, due to the notable and relevant services rendered to the country by the deceased authority, be extended for up to seven days.

The current president of Brazil understands mourning not as a way of channeling social pain, but as an indication of personal appreciation. In other words, like every way of acting by the current representative, he takes upon himself an action that belongs to everyone. Due to this characteristic, we can say that his attitude towards death has little to do with mourning. Being in mourning is an act of memory, a vital posture in the face of death as oblivion, as disappearance. In mourning, we look for a way to go on living. It is a cult of ancestors and the living. Nothing can be more contrary to mourning than the cult of death, its trivialization and desire for destruction.

Jair Bolsonaro, who is so fond of death, cares little about mourning. In fact, he takes death as one more opportunity to show contempt and inhumanity to the deceased subject. Of course, for Jair Bolsonaro, society is disposable.

In the same way as the ethical deviation on the granting of decorations and medals,[I] mourning for the current representative has its own characteristics: non-representative, selective and guided by personal appreciation. As important as decreeing official mourning is official silence in the face of a death. Here is where the mourning triggered and staged by Jair Bolsonaro becomes a technology for multiplying social suffering, exactly the opposite effect of that institute.

Let's see some examples of the cruelty of using an official mourning institute, the pulse of the profile of those honored by the tropical Trump. In the year 2022, the current representative decreed five official mourning. Each of them is symbolic of the tragedy of having a heartless person in the presidency. On January 25, 2022, he declared official mourning for the death of Professor Olavo Luiz Pimentel de Carvalho. In the case of the astrologer, mourning was decreed for one day. Days before, a structural figure of Brazilian culture left the nation in tears. The magnanimous, tireless and fundamental Elza Soares. Of course, no official mourning for popular culture.

The second official mourning decreed was on May 13, 2022, declared by the death of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi. Consistent with his love for the monarchy, authoritarianism and little social representation, the king's mourning had a flavor of personal envy of the deceased.

President Jair Bolsonaro declared three days of official mourning in Brazil for the assassination of former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe, shot during an election campaign speech in the city of Nara, on July 8, 2022. In the East, the president has compassion for Japan, but disaffection for the main trading partner, China.[ii] Diplomacy à la Bolsonaro.

The fourth mourning was decreed on July 15, 2022, declaring official mourning for the death of Dom Luiz Gastão Maria José Pio Miguel Gabriel Rafael Gonzaga de Orleans e Bragança, Head of the [imaginary] Imperial House of Brazil. A contradictory mourning for any democrat, a personal tribute to smallness.

In the same vein, the last decreed mourning was on September 8, 2022, declared by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The innovation of this mourning was the participation of the wake abroad. A major-grade mutt.

As we can see, Jair Bolsonaro expresses special deference to monarchical figures. The imagery that informs his authoritarian political stance is strongly inhabited by childish adoration of the monarch. Let us think, for example, of his behavior when visiting the Saudi prince Mohamed bin Salman, in an opportunity in which he eloquently expressed his amazement with the nababesque royal luxuries, even stating that “Everyone would like to spend the afternoon with a prince, especially you women”.[iii]

Another monarchical outburst expressed by Jair Bolsonaro is directed at the way in which he understands Brazilian law. Still in 2020, after his supporters held street demonstrations in which they defended military intervention, the closing of the Federal Supreme Court and the National Congress, Bolsonaro did not see anything illegal in these tariffs. That's because the acts were in support of him and he claimed: "I am really the Constitution".[iv]

This childhood fascination with monarchy takes on a somber tone when it comes to the messianic way in which he, who tragically has Messiah in his name, places himself above all others as God's chosen one. Such dangerous rhetoric of divine election has been repeatedly evoked in the speeches of his wife and other religious supporters in his campaign.

It is not surprising, therefore, that this political figure who flaunts the lowest of human beings is always looking for a seat at the royal table. Nothing is more consistent than the inhuman and cosmetic haughtiness of royalty in its colonizing spirit. Bolsonaro renews his shameless cult of death and the monarchy by parading in black at the wake of Queen Elizabeth II.

Let us remember that in early 2022, in a new anti-democratic impulse, the Plateau parasite revoked 25 mourning decrees edited by his predecessors (Itamar Franco, FHC and Lula da Silva). Some of the names affected by the presidential pen were Leonel Brizola, Darcy Ribeiro, Antônio Carlos Magalhães and Roberto Marinho, whose tributes were annulled. Obviously, former military presidents Ernesto Geisel and João Batista Figueiredo did not have their acts of mourning revoked. But Bolsonaro finally, due to pressure, would withdraw from the decision, leaving the repeals of the acts without effect, regardless of the government that decreed them or the honored personality.[v]. What kind of person takes the mourning decreed by other democratic representatives? A forced memory or a hanged memory? The authoritarian convulsion of the current president screams pettiness and sadism.

There were countless opportunities to show humanism and social acceptance, but he was always persevering in his cruelty and cynicism. An example of the silence of the Planalto were the murders of Bruno Pereira and Don Philips, activists at the heart of the struggle for the environment and for the defense of native peoples. The absence of an official mourning declaration has cruelty and social contempt as its main trait.

The representative's denialism was simultaneous with the official silence for the deaths of the covid-19 pandemic. No tributes, a lot of lack of respect for people who couldn't keep breathing. The portrait of a suffocated democracy. Let us remember that it was on May 9, 2020, when the country reached the number of 10 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic, that the presidents of the Senate, Davi Alcolumbre, and of the Chamber of Deputies, Rodrigo Maia, edited a joint act decreeing three-day mourning in the National Congress[vi]. From the Planalto Palace, they just turned their backs and laughed.

Jair Bolsonaro despises life, death is only a continuation of contempt. The repeated deviation of institutes that have social importance is a constant of the current president. Offenses against those who are destitute of democratic values, aversion to the social role of the position held.

In fact, Jair Bolsonaro can play with the institutes of democracy, he can pretend that he has the power of the king, but in fact, mourning exists even if it is not decreed. And currently Brazil is in mourning, democratic mourning. As long as Jair Bolsonaro is in power, we will remain in mourning. And it is an obligation to restore the sense of collective care and respect for the people who contributed and built the best of us. The mourning seems to be coming to an end.

*Andres Del Rio is professor of political science at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).

* André Rodrigues is professor of political science at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF).









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