Paulo Freire – writing letters by hand



Considerations about the “pedagogical letters” of the Brazilian educator.

“it's no use writing well/ if you don't have what to say./ if you have what to say/ it's good to write well./ read read read read read/ books that are by law/ books that are to be read/ to write better” (Jackal, hello poet, P. 11).

“For master Paulo Freire/ The main problems/ Are not pedagogical issues,/ But they are as such/ Political issues that must. […] With the dictatorship implanted/ The long night came./ Forbidden to say “no”/ Whoever dared, she punished/ Both the one who taught/ To be discussed much more./ And the one who learned” (Medeiros Braga, String to educator Paulo Freire, P. 7 and 10).

For Bárbara, Júlia, Bertha, Aurora… and whoever else arrives.

Some time ago I published a work on the professional careers of Benedito Junqueira Duarte (1910-1995), Vinícius de Moraes (1913-1980), Florestan Fernandes (1920-1995), Octavio Ianni (1926-2004) and Pierre Bourdieu (1930 -2002) and, almost at the end of the text, he stated that Florestan – but I think he could say the same, at least, of Vinícius and Benedito –, “compared to Ianni, he was a loudmouth” (CATANI, 2013, p. 92). I understand that the same judgment could be applied to Paulo Freire (1921-1997), since the Recife educator never spared in his writings the revelation of passages and lived experiences, from early childhood to the last days of his fruitful existence.

The objective of this article is relatively simple, that is, to explore Paulo Freire's habit of writing letters by hand, highlighting, in particular, those that appear in Letters to Guinea Bissau (1977) Teacher yes, aunt no: letters to those who dare to teach (1993) and Letters to Cristina: reflections on my life and my praxis (1994). In these three books authored by him, it is possible to find a writing style that mixes academic-pedagogical discourse, fragments of memory and elements arising from an oral tradition. The analysis allows us to suggest that Paulo's handwritings overlap with a precious narrative by consecrated Brazilian chroniclers and insinuate that he felt, with great satisfaction, 'the rubbing of the pen on the paper', as it appears in the happy expression of the Portuguese writer and poet Manuel Alegre (2005, p. 19).

About three decades ago, I had just defended my doctorate in sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences at USP and, since 1986, I had been a professor at the Faculty of Education at the same university. I didn't realize it, but at the time a new era was beginning, which gained momentum quite quickly: anyone who wasn't a doctor would practically not exist in academic terms. So, as a recent doctor, I was invited by colleagues to join a research team to formulate a project with the purpose of applying for a CNPq or FAPESP public notice, I don't remember well. On the budget line, as I wrote on a typewriter, typing everything with a carbon copy, and also by hand, with blue, black or red ballpoint pens, the staff decided to tease me, saying that they would request financing so that items such as an inkwell could be bought from me , duck feather, blotter, washable ink eraser etc.

In short, following the example of Paulo Freire, even today, when I have the conditions, I write my texts by hand, feeling “closer” to what I am producing. I write, scribble, amend, rewrite, add and, in almost all cases, it is I myself who type such productions, promoting even more alterations in the original manuscript. If time permits, I print, reread, scribble, change and retype what would be the final version.

In this perspective, perhaps the most appropriate thing would be to transcribe some passages from a chapter by Ana Maria Araújo Freire (1996, p. 58-64), Paulo Freire's writing process. The wife's voice, extremely revealing about the subject. His writing process, according to Paulo himself, is not just that of writing his ideas with a pencil or, what is more usual for him, with a felt-tip pen on a sheet of paper, “but that of producing beautiful texts that accurately expose his philosophical-political reasoning as an educator of the world. Freire (…) elaborates his ideas mentally, writes them down on pieces of paper or index cards or puts them 'in the corner of his head' when they arise in the street, in conversations or during his speech at some conference”. (FREIRE, 1996, p. 58)

Ana Maria (Nita) continues: “he accumulates such notes and later, when he has them logically, epistemologically and politically filtered, organized and systematized, he sits in his desk chair and on a leather support, with paper without line and of In his own hand, almost always without erasures or corrections, he writes his text, surrounding the theme, deepening it until he exhausts it, 'drawing' on white paper with a blue pen, often highlighting with red or green ink (… ) That way, when you sit down to write, you're not scribbling 'looking for inspiration'. No. He sits and writes. He almost never changes his paragraphs, his words, his syntax or the division of chapters in his books. He stops to think or to consult a dictionary. He is disciplined, attentive, patient. He never wants to finish a text in a rush or irritated because he has the time or the day to finish it ”. (Freire, 1996, p. 59).

After talking about the elaboration of some of her books, Nita clarifies that Teacher yes, aunt no: letters to those who dare to teach arose after Pedagogy of hope. “Although the letters change themes”, according to her, “the richness and maturity of his language as a political educator” remain in them. It is a passionate and critical language that respects the reader-teacher by exposing the surreptitious ideologies to this affective treatment – ​​Aunt – and others that the education professional has to be aware of in order to radicalize her professional competence” (FREIRE, 1996, p. 59 ).

Letters to Cristina had its beginnings in Geneva, suffering several interruptions, but maintaining the continuity of its previous works. “Confirmed that social injustices do not exist because they have to exist, he responded to the challenges of our time by writing In the shadow of this hose, in which he sought to demystify the theses of neoliberalism” (FREIRE, 1996, p. 59).

The form that Paul gave to Teacher yes, aunt no…is Letters to Cristina experience a big difference compared to the Pedagogy of hope ou In the shadow of this hose: in these first two books he deals with the problem-themes in the form of letters because he considers them more communicative than the traditional form of essays (FREIRE, 1996, p. 59 and 61).

For Nita, when her husband writes, he is “reading” other authors and re-reading himself, “in the same way that when reading himself and other authors, he is, at the same time, writing or re-writing himself and others” (FREIRE, 1996, p. 61).

After following Nita's observations, reading several other books, articles and interviews by Paulo, learning how he wrote down everything he experienced and reflected on, how he produced and carefully organized the set of his files, how he patiently worked carpentry and the writing of his texts, I observe, from the age of cards, by Antoine Compagnon (2019), professor of French literature at Columbia University (New York) and at France secondary school, that the Brazilian educator had objective reasons to be zealous. This book, as Laura Taddei Brandini (2017, p. 7) says in the preface, announces a time that no longer exists, recovered through letters that offer the reader fragments of a friendship that existed between Roland [Barthes] and Antoine [ Compagnon], between the professor and the then young student – ​​the latter also remembers that thirty or forty years ago, many people wrote letters almost every day, several a day not uncommon. In Paris they arrived by mail twice a day (COMPAGNON, 2019, p. 17).

Gravitating from Paulo to Barthes and following Barthes' method of work, with a wide range of records of his thoughts and practices, Antoine writes something with which I fully agree: “I learned from him that writing is a slave's labor and that many successful books do not guarantee that the next one will also be successful, a lesson proper to modesty” (COMPAGNON, 2019, p. 17). Paulo was perhaps not so insecure about the warm reception of his books; however, a master craftsman, despite considerable repetitions of situations experienced and/or narrated, he sought to elaborate his books as best he could – perhaps to reduce as much as possible the risk of seeing his works with less impact on reception among readers.

I understand that the letters written by Freire, at least those that are gathered in the three books I work on here, could be classified as “pedagogical letters”. Carlos Rodrigues Brandão, who turned 81 last April, declared, in the relaxed style that is characteristic of him, to be from a time when people exchanged letters in profusion. “A letter of less than one page written with a 'typewriter' to ask for simple information, or to make a brief announcement, which does not have at least one full page in 'space one', would be considered disrespectful to whom it was addressed" (BRANDÃO, 2020, p. 12).

Before the computer and the internet, even if it was “a note”, our letters then were our written conversations. They were long personal confidences. It was time to tell someone something about our philosophy of life, our ideas about the present and our ideals for the future. See the books that contain letters from Paulo Freire, when already in exile (...). We used to write our letters with copies on 'carbon paper', so that we would know later what we had written, and to whom. (BRANDÃO, 2020, p. 13 – 15).

For Ivanio Dickmann (2020, p. 38), the pedagogical letter is a genre cultivated by Freire and other great names in history, such as Che Guevara, Antonio Gramsci, Rosa de Luxemburgo, São Paulo Apostle, Francisco de Assis, among others. Below I list a dozen characteristics of this modality, which I try to summarize in a few lines: (1) Starting point – “Every pedagogical letter has its beginning in the life story and in the reality of who writes”, that is, “who writes shares his life and his world with those who read it” (p. 39 – 40); (2) Purpose of writing – Initiating a dialogue on a given topic, with the letter being the opening signal to connect with an interlocutor (p. 40-41); (3) Because it is pedagogical – Because it has two distinct elements from other letters in general, that is, “it wants to produce knowledge and has a political posture”, stimulating the interlocutor to a new practice, with the dialogue taking place “in the back and forth of the texts” (p. 41).

(4) The effect of the pedagogical letter – It is sent with the aim of generating movement. Gadotti cites four effects of such a letter: “it invites to approach, to dialogue, calls for response, calls for continuity and establishes a personal relationship” (p. 42); (5) The content of this letter – In general it is “news, information, messages and reflections” (p. 43); (6) Writing requires commitment – ​​It demands commitment from the person who writes it, with what is written (p. 44); (7) The powers of the pedagogical letter – It constitutes an “instrument for the humanization of human relations”, being, therefore, in opposition to “banking pedagogy, where one cannot write, only copy” (p. 46); (8) To whom do we write? – It is necessary, in advance, to know who will read it, for what purpose, “what is the impact of my words on the life of those who read it” (p. 46).

(9) The response of the pedagogical letter – Establishes a dialogic culture, “both in writing the word and in reading the reality of life” (p. 47); (10) The writing method of the pedagogical letter – Such letters are “open to the creativity of their writers” (p. 48), thus allowing the possibility of writing a new history for education (DICKMANN, 2020, p. 50).

In an article published in a collection, Paulo Freire stated that the booklets I have written to date are “practice reports”. Because if there's one thing that's difficult for me, it's writing about what I don't do. Sometimes I find it difficult to even write a small excerpt about what I didn't do. Even a letter is difficult when I'm not writing about what I didn't do. (FREIRE, 1982, p. 98).

That is, almost everything that Freire published had its origin in his pedagogical practice, developed in different corners of the world and in different social, ethnic, political and even material conditions – and the three books that I selected to work on here demonstrate this.

Paulo develops several of his books in the form of dialogues and, with Sérgio Guimarães says that, “instead of writing guides for basic educators, I write letters to the cultural animator, on behalf of the commission as well (…) The idea I have is that of reducing the distance between the language of these letters and the ability of the animators, on my trips to São Tomé, doing evaluation seminars with them on what I wanted to say in this or that period, etc.” (FREIRE; GUIMARÃES, 2011, p. 71).

In turn, in the conversation with the educator Antonio Faundez, about the work carried out in Guinea-Bissau, it is understood that “the Letters they are a good theoretical beginning, a good theoretical proposal, interesting theoretical dreams of an experience that later presented serious difficulties to carry out” (FREIRE; FAUNDEZ, 2017, p. 173).

Letters to Guinea-Bissau (1977) brings together the correspondence that Paulo sent to the Commissioner of Education and to the Coordinating Commission for literacy work in Bissau, and is dedicated to Amílcar Cabral, “educator – educating his people”. The experience turned out to be somewhat frustrating, although Paulo tried to minimize the situation – among other problems, there was the linguistic one, as the leadership of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde (PAIGC) adopted Portuguese as the official language and the creole language as the national language, with everything being structured around Portuguese.

In the dialogue with Faundez, Freire points out something decisive: “One of the fundamental marks of my political-pedagogical practice has been the intransigent defense that radical, revolutionary education is not something to do for the popular classes, but with them. A Pedagogy of the Oppressed is full of critical analysis and affirmations around this principle. O Cultural action for freedom and other writings, also, like the book that criticizes [Letters to Guinea-Bissau] On page 77 [of this book] (...), referring to the experience of Sedengal, I say: 'It is this assumption of the project by the community that also explains its presence, always through the majority of its inhabitants, at periodic meetings that members of the coordinating committee hold in Sedengal with the leaders of the Culture Circles, evaluation meetings that apparently only the leaders should participate in, but in which the community, with the greatest interest, joins” (FREIRE; FAUNDEZ, 2017, p. 175-176).

In the first letter to Mário Cabral, Freire made some of the most committed statements: “From the liberating perspective, which is that of Guinea-Bissau, which is ours, adult literacy (…) is the continuation of the formidable effort that its people began to to do, for a long time, together with its leaders, to conquer their word. Hence, in such a perspective, literacy cannot escape from the bosom of the people, from their productive activity, from their culture, to sclerosis itself in the soulless coldness of bureaucratized schools” (FREIRE, 1977, p. 92).

Paulo wrote 17 letters, 11 of them addressed to comrade Mário Cabral and 6 to the pedagogical team, between January 26, 1975 and May 7, 1976 (the last one was addressed to the team, dated “spring of 1976”). They were written in Geneva, when Freire was working at the World Council of Churches (WCC), as a consultant for Popular programs in Education, for the newly created Education Office of the entity, in a relationship that began in 1970 and lasted 10 years. He also made use of the Instituto de Ação Cultural (IDAC), created “to provide educational services, especially to countries in the Global South (identified as Third World at the time).” (CUNHA, 2021, p. 1).

The main recipient of the correspondence was engineer Mário Cabral, State Commissioner for Education and Culture of Bissau (actually “Comrade Mário”). The others went to members of the pedagogical team, “comrades” Mônica, Edna, Alvarenga, Teresa, José and Paulo. The missives received by the team occupied 54 pages of the book (one of them has 18, another 14, two have 7, one has 6 and the other 2), while Mário was luckier, as only 21 pages were sent to him (6 letters with 1, 3 with 2, 1 with 3 and 1 with 6 pages).

In “Last page”, Freire (1977, p. 173) once again emphasizes the character of a “book-report”, emphasizing that it does not have any bureaucratic characteristics, but reflects the “experiences carried out or taking place at different times of the political-pedagogical activity in which I find myself engaged since the beginning of my youth”. He adds that “the problem of language cannot fail to be one of the central concerns of a society that, freeing itself from colonialism and rejecting neo-colonialism, gives itself to the effort of its re-creation. And in this effort to re-create society, the People's reconquest of their Word is a fundamental fact” (FREIRE, 1977, p. 173).

Freire's work at the WCC took place through consultancies, seminars, attendance at UNESCO meetings, participation in conferences, press conferences and radio programs, political meetings, having acted in Africa, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, in the South Pacific and Central America (CUNHA, 2021). Between September 1975 and April 1980, Paulo traveled 10 times to Guinea-Bissau, 6 times to São Tomé and Príncipe, 5 to Angola and 3 to Cape Verde, always working directly on the “pedagogical approaches of the governments of these countries to development of literacy programs” (CUNHA, 2021). Haddad (2019) presents slightly divergent numbers regarding the frequency of these trips.

It is known that Freire wrote letters all the time, always by hand, and part of his workday, answering those who sent him correspondence. Historian Joana Salém, in the class “Pedagogy of the Oppressed: exile in Chile and influence in Latin America”, a member of the Course “100 Years of Paulo Freire”, promoted by Rede Emancipa – Educação Popular, stated on August 19, 2021 that “ Paulo exchanged letters with all the people who wrote to him, and he learned from that”.

About the time he lived in Chile, at the beginning of his exile, the educator recalls that he wrote a lot, 1.600 pages in a year and a half, handwritten. In general, “a handwritten page of mine is exactly one typewritten page” (FREIRE; GUIMARÃES, 1987, p. 94).

Years later, back in Brazil, he highlighted his great ability to work in terms of writing: “here at home I write from seven in the morning until late at night” (FREIRE; GUIMARÃES, 2000, p. 57). He reread what he wrote several times, discussed his texts with a few friends and, after publishing them, he went back to reading and rereading. This is how he responds to Faundez: “I keep reading the Letters to Guinea-Bissau, I keep learning from what I wrote. There is a theoretical validity to the book that cannot be denied. I think that the main lines of the proposals I made in Guinea-Bissau still stand” (FREIRE; FAUNDEZ, 2017, p. 201).

Orality integrates Paulo's written discourse, leading Débora Mazza and Nima Spigolon (2020, p. 89) to highlight this dimension from Câmara Cascudo (1971), who understood by “orature” “a set of tales, legends, poems , proverbs, tongue twisters or other traditional knowledge spread orally”. Thus, at various times an almost orality ends up setting the tone, making his prose tastier and more attractive. For Freire, the act of writing constituted an action with the purpose of consolidating his practice and, then, provoking reflections that feed back such practice.

In the book Letters to Cristina: reflections on my life and practice, something interesting is observed in the 2003 edition: Paulo Freire makes a dedication, handwritten, I believe with a blue hydrographic, reproduced in the following terms: “To Ana Maria, my wife, not only with my thanks for the notes, with which, for the second time, improves my book, but also with my admiration for the serious and rigorous way in which he always works” (FREIRE, 2003, p. 5). Another curiosity: on page 33, also written in blue, with capital block letters, it reads: “Paulo Freire/Letters to Cristina/Notes by Ana Maria Araújo Freire/1994” (all with three underlines below, one red and one two blue). On page 35 is the “First part”, where the underlines and colors are repeated and, on page 189, the “Second part” appears, now with the same three italics, in the same colors, however with red appearing before the two blue. Finally, on page 336, the last one, there is the author's signature, in blue, dated 19/04/05.

In the Introduction of Letters to Christina, Paulo states that, for him, writing “has been both a deeply experienced pleasure and an irrefutable duty, a political task to be accomplished” (FREIRE, 2003, p. 17). Furthermore, he said: “the joy of writing takes me all the time. When I write, when I read and reread what I've written, when I receive the first printed proofs, when the first copy of the book already edited, still warm, from the publisher arrives (…) In my personal experience, writing, reading and rereading the written pages , as well as reading texts, essays, book chapters that deal with the same topic I am writing about or similar topics, is a usual procedure (...) Every day, before starting to write, I have to reread the last twenty or thirty pages of the text on which I work and, from space to space, I force myself to read the entire text that has already been written (…) FREIRE, 2003, p. 17-18). He adds that, in exile, “he wrote almost weekly” to his mother, “but she died before I could see her again” (FREIRE, 2003, p. 25).

in the last of Letters to Cristina, number 18 (“The problematic nature of some issues at the end of the 1970th century”), Paulo reveals that “on the table where I work, I write and read, and which has accompanied me almost 'fraternally' since my arrival in Geneva in 2003 , I now have books, papers, stereo, telephone, pens” (FREIRE, 235, p. 2003). In such letters, written in exile, the famous uncle seeks to clarify who he is, how he came to constitute his trajectory, what is the meaning of memory, history and his praxis. His niece, then a teenager, asked him to “write letters talking about his own life, his childhood and, little by little, telling of the comings and goings with which he became the educator that he is” (FREIRE, 30 , p. 1996) – see more details in REIGOTTA, 610, p. 611-2003. Paulo decided to rework the letters and publish them years later, but first he talked to friends about the project, gathering their impressions and criticisms, “at coffee tables in Geneva, Paris, New York”, and from such conversations “ the book was taking shape even before it was put on paper” (FREIRE, 30, p. 31-XNUMX).

The layout of the correspondence, organized in two parts, constitutes a significant “guide” to accompany your entire itinerary. Themes include the hunger present in his childhood; the loss of status familiar; the traumatic move from Recife to Jaboatão; obtaining a scholarship at an elite college; the early death of the father; the return to Recife; his activities as a Portuguese teacher; his work at the Social Service of Industry (SESI) – Pernambuco Regional Department, where he stayed for ten years; his experiences in the Popular Culture Movement (MCP), in the Cultural Extension Service (SEC) of the University of Recife and in adult literacy in Angicos (Rio Grande do Norte); exile, his experience in Chile, in the United States, in the World Council of Churches (WCC); the return to Brazil, in addition to discussing the role of the advisor in academic work and other issues involving research in the areas in which he has always worked.

Teacher yes, aunt no: letters to those who dare to teach saw its first edition in 1993, a year before the set of correspondence sent to Cristina. There are ten letters preceded by a brief introduction and twenty pages (“First words – Teacher – aunt: the trap”), completed by “Last words – Knowing and growing: everything to see”), having been written by the author in "nearly two months". To his writing, says Paulo, “I gave part of my days, most of the time in my office, in our house, but also in planes and hotel rooms” (FREIRE, 1993, p. 5).

In the “First Words” Freire reflects the writing process “that brings me to the table, with my special pen, with my sheets of paper blank and without lines, a fundamental condition for me to write, it starts even before I get to the table, in moments when I act or practice or when I am pure reflection around objects; it continues when, putting on paper in the best way that seems to me the provisional results of my reflections, I continue to reflect, when writing, deepening one point or another that had gone unnoticed when before I reflected on the object, in essence, on the practice” ( FREIRE, 1993, p. 8).

In my opinion, without any demerit, I understand that this book by Freire constitutes a self-help work, in which the text, as well as its title, was suggested by the editor with the purpose of subsidizing the debate and the struggle “in favor of of a democratic school” (FREIRE, 1993, p.6). Most of the titles of the letters present this characteristic of information that is destined to the solutions of practical problems, namely: “Professor – aunt: the trap”; “Don't let the fear of the difficult paralyze you”; “Of the essential qualities for the better performance of progressive teachers”; “I came to take the teaching course because I didn't have another opportunity”; “First day of school”; “The relationship between the educator and the students”; “From talking to the learner to talking to him and with him; from listening to the learner to being heard by him”; “Once again the issue of discipline”; “Knowing and growing – everything to do”. There are other letters, whose titles contextualize this discussion – cases of “Teaching – Learning. Reading the world – reading the word”; “Cultural identity and education”; “Concrete context – theoretical context”.

Reading Freire's books, as already noted, it is possible to find considerations, with degrees of detail, about the way he wrote by hand, the time dedicated to writing, the way he conceived and carried out the work, etc. See, in particular, his considerations on page 97, where he details that, on not a few occasions, he wrote until 3 am and was up as early as seven (FREIRE, 1993).

When asked by Guimarães about his dexterity in typing a text, he replied: “I never learned to type and I learned to have reasonable confidence in my hand and a blank sheet of paper” (FREIRE; GUIMARÃES, 1987, p. 99), saying that it didn’t matter if he wrote with pencil or pen. He revealed that he preserved the original manuscript of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, donating it to a family friend, Jacques Chonchol and Maria Edy, who lived in Chile. “But as for the originals of the other works, I don't know where they are. I lost them all” (FREIRE; GUIMARÃES, 1987, p. 99).

He always wrote in isolation, revealing that he was very patient with himself, spending three or four hours in his little corner, alone. “It has to be alone. I don't react well in Elza's presence. When I write, not even Elza can be inside my office. I never told her that, but then again, she rarely goes inside. But when she enters, I stop writing; between me and the paper no one can intervene. (...) I can spend four hours writing a page, sometimes more. But when I finish I can hand it straight to a typist or publisher, I don't need to redo practically anything, and my handwriting is quite clear” (FREIRE; GUIMARÃES, 1987, p. 100).

I could not conclude without mentioning, albeit briefly, the existence of criticisms and restrictions that Freire's writings faced over the years. Most of them are of a vulgar or even reactionary nature. However, I would like to highlight at least three short articles by Flávio Brayner (2021), which I consider excellent, in the most legitimate academic sense: “Pedagogy of the oppressed: 50 years"; “Twenty years without Paulo Freire” and “A cradle, two destinations…”. In the latter, for example, he recovers central conceptions of Paulo's ideas, who defended anti-hierarchical positions, calling "those vertical pedagogical relations" banking, moving towards the "reaffirmation of humanistic values ​​(subject, critical awareness, social transformation, liberation of oppression…). The humanist theses of Freire's pedagogy met a highly positive fortune around the world, especially in those countries in conflict with their own colonial history and trying to build national identities, until the anti-humanist theses (sprayed from Parisian intellectual circles) invaded the milieu university. Even after the immense academic success of Foucault, one of the great names of contemporary anti-humanism, Freire never referred to him in his books and interviews. An eloquent indifference: he knew that a new hermeneutics of the subject, reassessing systems of oppression and power (including that of liberating educational practices) would put his pedagogy in check. His posthumous work, Pedagogy of indignation (1998) is the demonstration of this” (BRAYNER, 2021, p. 131).

For Bell Hooks, it is feminist thought that allows her to constructively criticize Freire's works. She cites a sentence by the author that marked her: “We cannot enter the struggle as objects to become subjects later” (Hooks, 2017, p. 66). She clarifies that “in talking with feminists in the academy (usually white women) who feel that they must either disregard or devalue Freire's work because of sexism, I see clearly that our different reactions are determined by the point of view from which we look at the work. ” (Hooks, 2017, p. 71).

The thinker encounters Freire “when I was thirsty, dying of thirst (with that thirst, that lack of the colonized, marginalized subject, who is still not sure how to free himself from the prison of the status quo), and I found in his work (and in that of Malcolm X, Fanon, etc.) a way to quench that thirst. Finding a work that promotes our liberation is such a powerful gift that if the gift has a flaw, it doesn't matter much” (Hooks, 2017, p. 71).

He ends with words that I consider extremely happy, summarizing what most analysts think about Paulo Freire's legacy: “Imagine the work as water that contains a little soil. As we are thirsty, pride will not prevent us from parting with the land and being nourished by the water” (Hooks, 2017, p. 71).

In some way, perhaps Paulo Freire could, regarding the body of his work, without false modesty, borrow from Agostinho Neto (1922-1979) a few verses of his poem “Confiança”, contained in holy hope (1985, p. 93):

My hands laid stones
in the foundations of the world
I deserve my piece of bread.

*Afranio Catani, retired titular professor and, currently, senior professor in the Graduate Program in Education at the Faculty of Education at USP. Visiting professor at the Faculty of Education at UERJ, Duque de Caxias campus.

Reduced version of chapter published in PAIXÃO, AH; MAZZA, D.; SPIGOLON, NI (Ed.). sparks of transformations - Paulo Freire & Raymond Williams. São José do Rio Preto, SP: HN Editora, 2021, p. 75-101.



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