reinvent Brazil

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By LEONARDO BOFF*

After the dark night, the dream takes place.

We have lived in the last almost four years under a government that did not love the people and considered the country as a kind of hereditary family captaincy. But now, according to a famous song by Camões in the The Lusiads, the new era “brings serene clarity, hope of harbor and rescue”. That's why it's worth waiting and dreaming. Here are some points of our positivity.

The Brazilian people got used to “facing life” and achieving everything “by fighting and by doing it”, that is, overcoming difficulties and hard work. Why wouldn't he also “face” the ultimate challenge of making the necessary changes to create more egalitarian relationships and end exclusion and corruption, refounding the nation?

The Brazilian people have not finished being born yet. What we inherited was the company-Brazil with a slave-owning elite and a mass of destitute people. But from the bosom of this mass, leaders and social movements with awareness and organization were born. Your dream? Reinvent Brazil. The process started from the bottom and there is no way to stop it anymore, not even because of the successive coups suffered, such as the civil-military one in 1964 and the parliamentary-legal-media one in 2013 and the whole debacle of the Bolsonarist phase.

Despite poverty, marginalization and perverse social inequality, the poor wisely invented ways of survival. To overcome this anti-reality, the State and politicians need to listen and value what the people already know and have invented. Only then will we have overcome the elites-people divide and we will be a nation that is no longer divided but cohesive.

Brazilians are committed to hope. It's the last one to die. Therefore, he is sure that God writes straight with crooked lines. Hope is the secret of his optimism, which allows him to put dramas into perspective, dance his carnival, cheer for his soccer team and keep the utopia that life is beautiful and that tomorrow can be better. Hope takes us back to Ernst Bloch's “principle-hope”, which is more than a virtue; it is a vital impulse that always makes us raise new dreams, utopias and projects for a better world.

Fear is inherent in life because “living is dangerous” (Guimarães Rosa) and because it entails risks. These oblige us to change and reinforce hope. What the people want most, not the elites, is to change so that happiness and love are not so difficult. For this, he needs to constantly articulate indignation at bad things and the courage to change them. If it is true that we are what we love, then we will build a “loved and idolized homeland” that we learn to love.

The opposite of fear is not courage. It is the faith that things can be different and that, organized, we can move forward. Brazil showed that it's not just good at carnival and football. But it can be good in indigenous and black resistance, agriculture, architecture, music and its inexhaustible joy of living.

The Brazilian people are religious and mystical. More than thinking about God, he feels God in his daily life, which is revealed in the expressions: “thanks to God”, “God will pay you”, “stay with God”. God for him is not a problem, but the solution to his problems. He feels supported by saints and saints and by good spirits like the orixás who anchor his life in the midst of suffering.

One of the characteristics of Brazilian culture is joviality and a sense of humor, which help alleviate social contradictions. This youthful joy springs from the conviction that life is worth more than anything else. That is why it must be celebrated with a party and, in the face of failure, maintain the humor that relativizes it and makes it bearable. The effect is the lightness and enthusiasm that so many admire in us.

There is a marriage that has not yet been made in Brazil: between academic knowledge and popular knowledge. Popular knowledge is “a knowledge of experiences made”, which is born from suffering and the thousand ways to survive with few resources. Academic knowledge is born from study, drawing from many sources. When these two knowledges unite, we will have reinvented another Brazil. And we will all be better able to face the new challenges.

Care belongs to the essence of being human and of all life. Without care we get sick and die. With care, everything is protected and lasts much longer. The challenge today is to understand politics as care for Brazil, its people, especially the poorest and most discriminated against, nature, the Amazon, education, health, justice. This care is proof that we love our country.

One of the hallmarks of the Brazilian people is their ability to relate to everyone, to add, join, syncretize and synthesize. Therefore, in general, he is neither intolerant nor dogmatic. He likes to live with the different. These values ​​are fundamental for a planetization with a human face. We are showing that it is possible and we are building it. Unfortunately, in recent years, especially in the 2022 presidential elections, a wave of fake news, of hatred, discrimination, fanaticism, homophobia and contempt for the poor (porophobia, the dark side of cordiality, according to Sérgio Buarque de Holanda) that show us that we are, like all humans, sapiens and demens and now more demens. But it is always a disease and not the sanity of religions, churches and movements. But this will surely pass and a more tolerant and appreciative coexistence of differences will prevail.

Brazil is the largest neo-Latin nation in the world. We also have everything to be the greatest civilization in the tropics, not imperial, but in solidarity with all nations, because it incorporated representatives of 60 different peoples who came here. Our challenge is to show that Brazil can be, in fact, a small symbolic anticipation of a paradise that is not entirely lost and always redeemable: humanity united, one and diverse, sitting at a table in fraternal commensity, enjoying the good fruits of our very good, great, generous Mother Earth.

*Leonardo Boff, ecologist, philosopher and writer, is a member of the International Commission of the Earth Charter. Author, among other books, of Brazil: complete the refoundation or extend the dependency (Vozes).

 

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