For those who stayed in Pistoia!

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By MANUEL DOMINGOS NETO*

Brazil needs respected Armed Forces

By saying that the Army would be associating itself with the genocide, Minister Gilmar Mendes said what the most informed people should have been shouting for a long time.

The federal government belittles the lives of Brazilians. As a public body responsible for coordinating the national effort against the pandemic, it does not fulfill its role. It disrespects society's suffering, manipulates statistics, prescribes ineffective medicine, attacks science, disrupts governors and mayors who are fighting to mitigate the catastrophe. Acts in favor of the death of defenseless multitudes. It's genocidal.

At the forefront of this macabre disposition are the military. An active-duty general is responsible for the Ministry of Health. With the authorization of the Army Commander, he left the task for which he was prepared and took on another one of which he has no idea. Comrades of yours occupy the chairs in which specialized civilians should sit.

The bill is arriving for the Armed Forces and it is not small, warned Gilmar Mendes.

In addition to the tens of thousands of victims of the pandemic, Brazilians will increasingly suffer the effects of the disastrous economic policy, the follies of Washington's vassal foreign policy, the dismantling of the education, science and technology system, the damage to the environment, the threat of extinction of native peoples...

The storms and hardships we are experiencing today will be small compared to what awaits us in the very short term. Responsibility for damage will be charged.

Officials reacted indignantly to Gilmar's words. The Minister of Defense, in conjunction with the commanders, said that the military contingent mobilized against the pandemic would be greater than that sent to Italy.

There are no limits to foolishness. This comparison is inappropriate.

Generals owe a modicum of respect to the heroes who laid down their lives in Italy. They were men of modest origin, coming from the outskirts of cities and villages in the interior. They left Brazil poorly trained, poorly dressed, unaware of the terror that lay ahead. As the bullets roared, they understood that they were fighting against the ferocious Tedesco, the extreme rightist, fundamentalist, racist, terrorist, enemy of democracy, insensitive to the suffering of the peoples of the world, averse to what is good in civilization.

Some stayed in Pistoia until 1962, when their remains came to rest in Brazil. They died fighting the propositions defended today by Bolsonaro. Commanders vilify themselves by using the memory of these men to defend themselves from their mistakes. The relatives of the pracinhas persist spread out on the outskirts of cities and throughout the hinterlands. They constitute the majority of the victims of the pandemic.

The FEB did not go to Italy to decide the war. It represented a very modest contingent under the command of the American Army. It arrived when the defeat of Nazi-Fascism was decreed. But its symbolic weight is immeasurable: it showed the world the Brazilian option for freedom.

Ask that they not be held accountable, commanders? As Flávio Dino said, whoever enters the political game has to learn to receive criticism.

It is past time for Commander Pujol to gather the military family, fill his lungs and order: “For the memory of those who remained in Pistoia, abandon your posts, sinecures and prebends! Half turn, turn!”

Brazil needs respected Armed Forces.

* Manuel Domingos Neto is a retired UFC professor. He was president of the Brazilian Defense Studies Association (ABED) and vice president of CNPq.

 

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