The Evil under the Brazilian Sun: Sergio Camargo

What matters is not so much the color of your skin as the power you serve and the millions you betray.

Frantz Fanon

Brazil is a very interesting and diverse country. It has over 200 million inhabitants and most of them are descendents of any kind of immigration, forced or deliberate ones. The forced immigrants came from Africa as slaves, stripped off their orginal names, clothes, customs, denied of their rights (as human beings) and religious activities. Those people were not considered as human beings, they were treated as some kind of ware which could be bought, traded or sold at the owner’s free will. Still those people, those African slaves, found ways to resist that kind of treatment. They fled, rebelled, created brother- and sisterhoods (very often with some kind of Christian religious backgrounds), they practised their religions under the disguises of Roman Catholic rites, developed self defence techniques smokescreening them as dance etc. An estimated 4.9 million of Africans, which is approximately 40% of the whole number, were brought to Brazil. That makes Brazil the biggest receiver of the African forced diaspora in the Americas.

Brazil was the last country of the western hemisphere to abolish official slavery in 1888. Eventhough the Transatlantic slave trade was forbidden by England in 1851 and that put a lot of pressure on Brazil, slaves arrived illegally in Brazil until this inhuman practise was finally abolished. As this period was never really come to terms with, the country is still suffering from this burden. Brazil is probably the country with the hugest black population percentage outside Africa, but because of several social and cultural factors, such as the relic of colonial thinking or the branqueamento movement, the African contribution to Brazilian culture as it is known today, has always been looked at as something inferior and not really worth being considered. To oppose this and in order to fight for their recognition as full citizens, from the 1910s on social movements of Afrodescendants started to form themselves with the first peak in the 1930ies, when they even formed a political party. But as under the Vargas dictatorship lives of political parties remained quite short, this try to fight for recognition was also shortlived and it was only in the 1970ies, that the social movements of Brazil’s black population got strong again. In 1975 the Instituto de Pesquisa das Culturas Negras, the Research Institute of Black Cultures, was founded in Rio de Janeiro. This was a milestone on the slow and long way for the recognition of Afro-Brazilians as an important contributor to Brazilian society, culture and to the country. In 1978 the Movimento Negro Unificado Contra a Discriminação Racial, the United Black Movement against Racial Discimination, was founded, which engaged in neighbourhood programmes in the combat against racial and social discrimination of black people. Finally in 1989, one year after the end of the military dictorship and the introduction of a new federal constitution in 1988, Brazil declared racial discimination a criminal offence. 1988 was also the year of the foundation of the Fundação Palmares.

The Fundação Palmares takes its name from the famous runaway slave settlement Palmares in the state of Pernambuco. It is a governmental organisation, which has the intention “to promote the preservation of cultural, social and economical values which happen through the black influence in the formation of Brazilian society” (translated by the author from the establishing law of the foundation). Its position was strengthened even more when the constitutional reform of 1998 manifested that the (federal) government would “guarantee to everybody the full exertion of cultural rights and access to the national culture and will support and stimulate the valorisation and dissemination of popular, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian cultural manifestations, as well as of all other groups, which participate in the national civilisatory process” (translated by the author from the Brazilian Federal Constitution). So, this institution, this foundation has all the possibilities to enter the struggle for cultural equity of Afro-Brazilians. It did so, and then came Sergio Nascimento de Camargo.

Little was known about Mr Camargo before he became president of the Fundação Palmares. Not even the president of Brazil, who officially nominated him, knew him by then. Meanwhile he should have heared of him. He graduated in journalism from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Sao Paulo in 1988, held several positions as a reporter for various radio stations and newspapers from 1987 until 2015 and knows how to read English. That is what the site of the Fundação Palmares said about its president on October 15th, 2020. What is also known is that he is the son of the writer and black movement militant supporter Oswaldo de Camargo and the brother of cultural producer and musician Oswaldo de Camargo Filho, also known as Wadico Camargo.

Brazil has this kind of curious situation that lots of top positions in governmental organisations are officially associated with the government and that the contractual situation of those who occupy them is also linked to the electorial success and the nomination of and by the respective minister. Those positions do not hold mandate posts, they hold invitational posts. Anyway, the president of Fundação Palmares is no different. In the year 2018 the best president in the history of Brazil and his extremely compenent ministers were voted into office and therefore they had to nominate a new president of the foundation too. First they nominated the lawyer Vanderlei Lourenço, but only to nominate Mr Camargo later on in the same year, following the government’s excellent practise and policy of revolving doors. When he was nominated, the founder president complained that racism would prevail now in this institution, which was supposed to combat it on a cultural basis. Obviously he had heard of Mr Camargo before.

Mr Camargo’s nomination was not very welcome by the black artists of Brazil. A selfdeclared “negro of the right wing“, he had uttered some statements in the past on the social media networks, which lead to a juridical suspension of his nomination. The designated president of a black culture institution attacked several black personalities and artists in a very dastardly way, made statements against the black movement, claimed that Brazil’s racism would not be any racism at all – that one could only be found in the USA, showed his opposition against the Day of the Black Consciousness, criticised the assasinated Rio representative Marielle Franco and did much more. A few statements can be found here. His nomination lead to an open letter initiated by his own brother, and signed by tenthousands of people, pleading not to put him into office as he would do much more harm than good to whatever he does at the Fundação Palmares – and he was right.

After a few back and forths between the government and the juridical system, Mr Camargo was allowed to take office in early 2020, while courts of appeal were dealing with his case still. A special court session of Brazil’s Superior Court made the final verdict in favour of his enthronement as president of the institution. Meanwhile Mr Camargo had fired staff, which he considered too left and therefore not right enough, by using the telephone. He did not even have the guts to talk to them face to face. In their place he hired people from the far right spectrum of society. He called the Sao Paulo mayor Joâo Doria a “public enemy’, stated that he would not take any Chinese vaccine against COVID-19 (probably because it would come from Communist China), demanded the abolition of the holiday for Black Consciousness and in a personal cruzade he personally removed first time black female governour of Rio Benedita Souza da Silva, Marielle Franco and even the quilombola leader Zumbi dos Palmares, among some other important black people, from the list of honourees of the foundation. It is very interesting that the very important namegiver of the institution has been removed from the list of important personalities.

Maybe the foundation will suffer a name change too? “Fundação Sergio Camargo” would be a proper name, wouldn’t it? Especially after all that this president has done for the Afro-Brazilian culture in order to follow the law and constitution, which lead the institutional direction from the past to the future. There is definitely more to come, if he does not get ejected from office.

The Evil under the Brazilian Sun: Marcelo Crivella

A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks that the Lord would do if He knew the facts of the case.

Finley Peter Dunne

There is a city on Brazil, which used to be the country’s capital from 1763 until 1960 and which is considered as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It is famous for its beaches, its breathtaking scenery, its carnival and its four world known football clubs, but it is also notorious for its drug trafficking, its shanty towns and its high murder rate. We speak, and the reader surely has guessed it right meanwhile, we speak of Rio de Janeiro.

As every small or big place, Rio de Janeiro also has some mayor to govern it. Since Januart 1st, 2017, this mayor is called Marcello Bezerra Crivella. After having been senator for the state of Rio de Janeiro, Mr Crivella did not want to leave the feeding trough of a high income and power, so he decided to run for the mayorship of one of Brazil’s most important cities. In the wake of a wave of conservativism and religious fanatism, which swept over Brazil since the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, he took over from his predecessor, Eduardo da Costa Paes, who could not run for a third period anymore.

Mr Crivella is the nephew of the founder of the neo-pentecostal enterprise called Igreja Universal, which has been featured in a previous article on this blog already. He was invited to join this money making machine and climbed up the hierachy to the rank of a bishop. Of course his kinsmanlike relationship with his uncle, Edir Macedo, did not have anything to do with it at all, as Brazil is a country free of nepotism and corruption. It were pure merits of the cause of Christ, which brought him there. As Mr Crivella is such a devoted Christian and knows the bible by heart – and as every other selfproclaimed reverend without any real theological university education, he holds a degree in engineering – he has attacked other confessions and religions, because he knows the one and absolute truth. In 1999, he accused the Catholic church of poisoning its innocent followers with the venom of the Lady Mary as a protector. He lashed out against Candomble, a religion of African origin and widely practised especially in the Northeast of Brazil, inciminated homosexuals conducting evil and condemnable behaviour, condemned Asian religions as those where demons would disguise as forces and energies of nature and he also considered the faithful of Native American religions as slaves of the wrong religion. His polemic attacks continued during his political mandates, while he executed his other profession as reverend.

Mr Crivella was already imprisoned for a day in 1990 for trying to take the law in his own hands, when trying to to get rid of squatters, who had invaded the plot of land in a posh district of Rio. Well, being imprisoned is something quite common for a politician in Brazil, that is nothing extraodrinary and it did not harm his electoral campaign in 2016, when this detail of his life saw the light of the day during it. The 2016 campaign also saw Igreja Universal openly campaigning in favour of their bishop, which would be a criminal offense in Brazil, a favour he tried to return in 2018 when being mayor of Rio de Jameiro. The 2018 try was published, but was close to nothing compared to the 2020 one, where Igreja Universal tried to interfere in the appointment of members of the Ethics Commission of Tutelage Councils of Rio de Janeiro in order to prepare the paths for the 2020 local council elections.

With God on his side, Mr Crivella also tried to do something that is usually the death of any government: to govern against the will of Rede Globo. How it was shown in a previous posting, Rede Globo is some kind of shadow government, manipulating public opinion according to their own interests. So when somebody does something against the will of Globo, sooner or later this person will fall first from grace and consequently will be pushed out of power. So it is some kind of interesting to observe that the president of Brazil, Jair Messias Bolsonaro, and Mr Crivella waged war against the powerful media outlet. Mr Crivella had with something about carnival, Globo’s own fundation and the money it receives from the state, excluded Globo’s teams from press conferences, refused to answer to any Globo questions and much more. It just did not stay with the war of words, he even physically pushed a reporter of Globo, who asked him about the stopping of some repairing works that were done after a storm. Mr Crivella accused the reporter of campaigning against Rio de Janeiro. Whatever is thought about this situation, the reader of this article should have their own opinon about it.

About his try of censoring the Rio Book Fair, this blog has already written here.

Brazil’s publish health system is based an excellent thought: it is free of charge for everybody who is in the country at the time the person needs its services. So unlike in other countries, the “free use” of it is not based on an employment and a health insurance attached to it, which makes it also possible for the unemployed poor (and Brazil has lots of them) to get to know the true promise of a health system to make it possible to see the next day. That is an excellent idea, but this requires accurate planning, high financial resources and a government that knows the basics of public administration to grant the constitutional right of health to everybody. But this is Brazil and those three pillars are contradictitory in this country. The year 2020 is an election year and as it was previously mentioned, Mr Crivella and Rede Globo are on war. So there were reporter teams swarming out in order to interview public servants and patients in Rio’s public health centres in order to find out what people really thing about Crivella’s health policy. The mayor, in his manorial lordlike behaviour style, sent out his own troops, the so called Guardiões de Crivella (Guardians of Crivella) in the form of civil servants of the city, who intimidated and threatened the health service employees and patients, telling them not to talk to Globo, or there would be severe consequences for everybody. When being confronted with these allegations, Mr Crivella, as a good and fauthful follower of the Igreja Universal, quoted the bible on Twitter as a response, saying “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).

Mr Crivella showed his antipathy towards a Brazilian tradition, called carnival, on several occasions. He cut the funding of the samba schools, refused to participate in the tradional ceremony of handing over the key to the city to Rei Momo, the carnival king, sending a representative and has voiced his personal conviction of disgust about one of Brazil’s most important and most known festivities, which moves millions of US$ or Euros every year and therefore is a very important economic factor too, at several occasions.

If Mr Crivella is reelected in the 2020 elections, there is more to come from him..

125 Years of Waiting for a final Judgement

Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness grinds He all.

Henry Wadsworth Longellow

 

Brazil is known as a country where time has no real meaning. If someone gets invited to a party, let’s say at 19:00, in other countries the people appear around this time. Not in Brazil, in Brazil if someone turns up at the announced time (in our case at 19:00) then it is to be sure that this person will find the hosts not even having had a shower for the party yet. It is a sign of good manners to appear 1 to 2 hours AFTER the official starting hour (here it would be between 20:00 and 21:00) and even by then it is not sure that the arriving guest won’t be among the first ones. The author has experienced a birthday party which officially started at 12:00, the author arrived – in an aready adapted good Brazilian manner – at 13:30, the host only appeared at 15:00 and lunch was served at 16:00. Time? That is something for those weird folks from the northern hemisphere.

So it is no wonder that Brazil’s justice system is not among the fastest ones of its kind. Processes are delayed forever, unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy play a vital role in it, a modern, slim administration of processes is unheard of and anything else, that is known from (partly surrealistic) movies and novels (especially Franz Kafka’s “The Process”) has been transformed into pure reality in Brazil. On June 26th, 2020, a 125 years lasting process came to an end, which was announced on September 2nd, 2020.

So what happened? In the year 1889 Brazil declared itself a republic, abolishing the monarchy, which was run by the House of Orleans and Bragança by then. That also means that the new republic confiscated the crown’s properties and the royal family had to claim them back using the juridical system. In 1895, Isabella Cristina Leopoldina Augusta Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga d’Orléans-Bragança, the last crown princess of Brazil, entered in a process at the court of Rio de Janeiro, the by then capital, to reclaim ownership of the Guanabara Palace, which was home to the royal family by the time of the declaration of the republic. So the process started and with all those various steps that a legal suit has and takes, it went on and on. In 1920 Isabella died, but the heirs continued the process against the Republic. In 2020 the final verdict was spoken by the Federal Supreme Court. Between 1895 and 2020 Brazil saw the following historical events: 

The states of Amapa and Acre become part of Brazil (1900 and 1903), Brazil declares war against Germany in 1917, revolution in Brazil (1930), the Vargas Dictatorship Years (1930 – 1945), a new constitution (1934), Brazil declares war against Germany again (1942), a new constitution again (1946), Brazil loses and wins the World Cup (1950 and 1958), Vargas returns as president (1951), Vargas commits suicide (1954), a military dictatorship (1964 – 1985), Brazil wins the World Cup a third time (1970), the opening of the by then biggest hydropowerplant of the world (1984), the creation of Tocantins as a state (1988), another new constitution again (1988), hyperinflation (1980ies and 1990ies), Brazil wins the World Cup a fourth time (1994), Brazil wins the World Cup a fith time (2002), the Lula Years (2003 – 2010), Brazil hosts the World Cup (2014), Brazil sees an unjustified impeachment using the means of democracy (2016), Brazil hosts the Olympic Summer Games (2016), Brazil votes for fascism and against democracy (2018) – and Brazil sees the end of probably the longest lawsuit in its history (2020).

The final verdict, after 125 years, was: the palace will not be restituted. It remains in the custody of the Brazilian state. So there is no chance anymore for the currently living members of the former royal family to reclaim the palace, as the higherst juridical institution of the country had finally arrived at a conclusion. It was a several generations long lasting process. The question is: why did it take so long? Only Maat, Themis, Dike, Justicia, Perimbo, or Xango would know. They run the grindstones of justice and in Brazil they run them a bit slower than in the rest of the world.

I pay, so you have to do what I want – Toughts about Brazilian Arrogance

The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance.

Samuel Butler

There is a certain way of thinking, a certain way of behaviour, that is deeply rooted in a human character. It is called arrogance, the feeling and idea of being better than everybody else around this person. In some societies this type of behaviour is visible more openly, in some it is less, but it is present in all of the existing societies on earth.

In the case of Brazil, which has a very individualist society, it is paired with some cultural heritage: the colonial way of thinking. So what does this mean? The country has been a Portuguese colony and territory from the year 1500 until the year 1822. It has also been the last independent Western country to abolish official slavery. That one happend in the year 1888 only, with the Lei Aurea, the Golden Law. That one abolished slavery in two paragraphs only, but did not prepare society for the new situation. Ever since, Brazilian society had the chance to undergo several social and legal reforms, but it never really did. The way how society and its complex inner structures and webs are thought and executed never faced a reform, nor a radical change as it happened in other countries of republican, dictatorial or democtratic state structures. The old families, whose roots often date back to the period of the captaincies of Colonial Brazil, still held everything in their hands, independently of who was in power officially and no matter form of the state was at that time. But not enough of that, with that kind of social structure, who holds a certain position either in society or administration, a way of thinking was also created: the “I am better than you” culture.

So what does this term refer to? As someone holds a certain position this person has either real or fictional power. Some people inherit positions, some people get into positions by connections or social capital, some people get into positions because they simply buy them (that also includes democratic elections) and some people don’t get into any real position by the previously mentioned possibilities, but think because they are paying for a service, they have the right and power to boss the service providers around. Of the latter kind, Brazil is full of. It starts with extremely rich people, who force their domestic servants into inhuman work conditions (like no working contract, no free days of the week, bad payment, having to live with them, eat just the left overs from the previous days etc., you name it, in Brazil it had definitely happend before you were even thinking of it), continues with rich people, who shoo around shop assistants for hours in the search of the right shade of blue of their favorite shoes and don’t buy anything at all in the end, because the blue was not blue enough, and it finishes with well off people, who think that they can tell teachers how to grade them or their offspring, because they are able to pay for a very expensive school or course. They openly question the capability and competence of those who studied the subject for years, are hard working (most of the time badly paid) professionals in that field and simply think that they know it better than the specialist. So why do they try to learn some competence in the professional’s field then, when they know it all? The same goes for members of private sports clubs in relation with football referees. The referee is always wrong, the player is always right, because he pays for the services of the (private) referee. Even when he is wrong according to the Laws of the Game, he is right, because he pays for the services of the professional and so the professional has to do what the payer tells him. In Brazil that syndrome is also known as “O Sindrome da Casa Grande” (Manor Syndrome).

The Manor Syndrome affects all parts of society. It can be seen everywhere where services are delivered and the worst thing is: money talks, God Mammon rules and that encourages those who suffer from that highly infectious disease to push even further their limits. Manmade laws, which should be obeyed my all citizens, exist only that paper has something to be written on it. Divine laws, which should be followed by those who believe in a god (and the one called Mammon does not count in this case), are for the others only, when they interfere with one’s own comfort zones. Internal guidelines, respectabilities and anything of that kind just curtail one’s own freedom to shine and show how good someone can be. Why should there be any limit as long as someone can pay his or her way out of a situation they have caused by themselves and has done harm to the others? The others are not of the individual interest, because they are simply the others, not oneself.

That is how Brazil functions in many aspects. It is not only limited to the wealthy classes (but among them it is extremely widely spread), it is also to be found among those, who occupy some minor decisive positions. When a passenger kindly asked a bus driver in Brasilia once when the bus would come, as she would have been waiting for a very long time, he answered: “I decide when the bus arrives”. What is there more to say?

Suddenly Person of Color – An Answer to Fernanda Tome de Souza

People don’t know what it’s like being the foreigner until they are one.

Amber Liu

On August 14th, 2020, Fernanda Tome de Souza, a Brazilian living in Germany, published the article “Plötzlich Person of Color” in the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. There the author makes several remarks about the switch from being a “standard person” to a “person of colour”.

The author of this posting has thought a lot about this article before he decided to write an answer to Ms. de Souza’s writing. The main idea of her article seems to be to have received a shock when suddenly someone realises that he or she is not part of the dominant population anymore and finds it difficult to deal with that situation. She hides that shock experience behind the tags “racism” and “social participation”. In several paragraphs she goes on about Brazil and its social situation dealing with racial disparity among its citizens and other people living in that country, just to jump back to Germany and to accuse the autochtonous population there being racist, just because they look at her.

First of all, the term racism needs to be defined, because it is easy to hit somebody with the racism club, when in fact it is something else. Racism has several wider and narrower definitions, but one element is something that they all have in common: it is the consideration of a superiority and inferiority of an ethnic race in comparison with another one, followed by discriminative actions or thoughts. That distinguishes racism from xenophobia, where the considerable element is the presence or absence of a certain citizenship or cultural element, like language, cultural practises etc.

Brazil is a very racist country, Ms de Souza says. That is true. Every day you can hear and see acts of lived racism (in the previous definition) in the media. There is always somebody, who consideres him- or herself superior to somebody else and openly shows this in words and deeds. The list would be too long to be linked here, way too long. Racism in Brazil is open and hidden, it is present and could be lingering just around the next corner. That is a fact. It is also a fact that stereotyping is part of Brazil’s every day life. The author of this article is a white male from Europe, which, in the eyes of most Brazilians, would make him automatically a person of wealth. So when someone gets begged for money, it is him who the people turn to, not to his wife – who would be a black Afro-Brazilian and therefore would be classified as someone who does not have money and therefore it would make no sense to insist on begging her. It was very obvious when one night the author, his wife and another black friend of them were sitting in a cafe for a small birthday celebration of this friend. One lady went from table to table asking the guests for some small contributions of money and when she approached that table, she ignored the two others sitting at it and was talking for almost 10 minutes just to the author of this article. That the other two would both have high academic degrees, which might earn them quite a good salary in the job market, didn’t even come to her mind. They were both black, therefore it would be a waste of time even looking at them, black people = poor. It was the white man, she concentrated on, white man = money. So the question is: is that always the case? Is that stereotyping some kind of racism too, according to the definition above? The answer rests with the individual reader of this posting.

When the author read Ms de Souza’s article, he had very much the impression that it is much more about realising that when being foreign several every day (culturally determined) practises, privileges and rituals are either lacking or simply impossible to be conducted. The author had a Brazilian acquaintance, who had lived in Austria for over ten years before returning to Brazil. He once said: “In Austria, I did everything on my own. Here in Brazil, I need to have someone for every manoeuvre I make, or I will be considered being more than just a weirdo. I don’t like that”. Being foreign in a place does also mean that someone does not know the unwritten laws and codes of that place and the foreigner will definitely make an appearence just be breaking them all the time. Even when living in the place for a long time, there are always new ones of them to be discovered in order to avoid them. It’s not that they are written in a book and be revealed that way. Of course the autochthonous population will see them, as they have lived with those invisible regulations all their lives. They will take a look, sometimes they might even notice the offender about them. It is not necessarily racism that they are executing that way. Their behaviour could be viewed in many different ways, one of them could be (in the best of all intentions and all definitions) a try to help the integration of the foreigner in the receptive society. Of course it could also be considered as a disciplinary act. It always depends on the situation.

The author has had several of these experiences as well, as he is a foreigner in Brazil. He is often seen as some kind of curiosity by the population, who very often does not understand how someone from “the first world, from a place where everything works” could move to a third world country. To be sincere, the author resents that attitude that he is some kind of curiosity, some kind of tourist attraction. Just for being from abroad does not make him a better (or worse) person than anyone else. It is alright when somebody is curious about the place of origin of somebody else, about the cultural practises there, the different landscapes etc. and for sure everybody likes to talk about those topics and present a bit of that heimat the migrant always carries around with him or her. But to consider someone superior or inferior because of the origin or other attributes he or she is innocent of, that is not acceptable.

Ms. de Souza, if you ever read this article, maybe you can think about trying to reconsider using the word “racism”, as it is misused many times. Maybe you could rethink the your concept of being foreign and see this as a chance to make a difference. The Czech philosopher Vilem Flusser wrote in his book “Von der Freiheit des Migranten” (About the Freedom of the Migrant): “In my first heimat I was thrown in because of my birth, without being asked if this appeals to me. The laces that have connected me to my fellow citizens, have been put on me. In that now acquired freedom it is I, who spins those laces with my fellow citizens – in collaboration with them. The responsibility, which I took for my fellow citizens, has not been imposed on me, I took it voluntarily”. When feeling free and open for something, then the looks of the others, which rest upon oneself, can’t do any harm anymore.

The God Mammon

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Gospel of St. Matthew, 6:19 – 21, 24

 

There once was a kingdom called Translusitania. It was full of beautiful beaches, wild, dark and mysterious forests, fierce creatures from the woods, deep valleys and hilly plains and had a very diverse population, with shiny happy people in the Northeast and serious, overdilligent people in the South. The West of Translusitania was so far away that nobody had ever reached the border of it, the East was limited by a big big water. Translusitanian people only heard from the places that lie beyond the East and the West from tales of travellers, who soon died after they had told their stories of peoples with a different language to a crowd, which shook their heads in disbelief. There can’t be another place, so different from Translusitania.

The rulers, respectively the kings and barons, of Translusitania lived well from the exploitation of those who really laboured. The poor masses would never have a chance to see any of those strange lands, the travellers told about. But there were those, who made their fortunes from the exploitation and they wanted to see these lands with their own eyes. They wanted to know about this strange white flakes that fall from the sky and were described as “snow” by the travellers. They wanted to drink an alcoholic drink made from hops, water and malt, which they were told it would be warm there and would therefore flow from taps in the taverns, but in Translusitania it was only served frozen and in bottles. They wanted to explore these lands to see if they could also exploit the people there. They were on a divine mission, in the name of the Lord.

To serve the needs of this noble mission, a commercial sector developed in Translusitania, the sector of languages. It employed not only teachers, no it employed real masters of the language. The masters received good wages, were respected people and were treated like real people. But with the growing amount of institutions, the profit of the traditional language institutions started to melt like ice in the sun and the working conditions of the language masters deteriorated. They were treated like kettle and were always told that it would be easy to substitute them.

One dark day, a mysterious plague swept across the land, clenching its iron first and smashed it down onto the people of Translusitania. The ruling king, King Messias, was affected by sightlessness and desultoriness at the same time. He was so blind that he could not even see the gold coins that were put into the queen’s and prince’s treasure chests by one of his coachmen. But he could still see far enough to wave to the lemmings that were parading in front of his palace every Sunday. But even he was affected by the plague, but some miraculous pill kept him alive, while it le some others die. The population of Translusitania kept dying like flies, but the king remained alive – and so did most of the barons. They soon had hardly anyone to exploit anymore, as the bailiffs of the lands kept issuing decrees, which would close down the commercial establishments in order to prevent the plague from spreading and to keep the population alive to be exploited even more after the pandemia had passed.

The language establishments were deeply rooted in society as institutions of humanities and culture, institutions of bringing foreign thoughts and ideas to the people. These institutions would be called schools in countries far distant from Translusitania and even if they were only dealing with a single subject – a language – they would consider themselves as institutions of education. But in Translusitania everything was different from the rest of the world. When the kings of Lusitania fell and were to be reelected, Translusitania never had a reform. The barons and kings were never disappropriated from their properties, the lands were never distributed among the common people of the population, the population continued suffering from being exploited by those who governed them. So the language establishments did not consider themselves as important contributors to the education of a plagued country, they considered themselves as part of the commercial sector, whose only goal was to withdraw the hard earned florins from the pockets of the others in a legal way.

But it was not only the governing ones who ruled the country. The mighty god Mammon, worshipped by so many entrepreneurs, had replaced the old gods and saints and together with his followers he ruled the country. Mammon blessed the exploiters and punished the exploited ones, just for the fact that they did not exploit anyone else. He was so powerful, that mighty god could even enter the impeccable king’s quarters without any trouble. The princes fell for him, the queen adored his gleaming vigour and fruits of his loin. With the divine power, the entrepreneurs saw a possibility to exploit the labourers even further – and the barons and representatives of the people helped even more to complete that work.

When the plague hit the country, language establishments were closed down temporarily as well by some decree. The willing students, who wanted to travel to those far distant lands with the knowledge of the local language, had to stay in remote places for receiving the service delivered to them by the opressed and exploited masses of language masters. Most understood the necessity of remote activities, but there were always some, who considered them superior to the recommendations of the global and local alchemists. Usually they were part of the lemmings the king waved to from the balcony of his palace every Sunday. Their florins were speaking louder than the value of the health of language masters, who were the real gold diggers for the sweaters. In the search for gold, all means were valid, as long as the florins clung in the slave driver’s pockets, leaving the ones who really worked with empty ones though. Their lamentations remained unheard, but in Translusitania that was nothing uncommon. It wasn’t the last empire on earth to abolish official slavery for nothing.

So when the plague reached its peak and devastated vast areas, liberating them from any sign of human beings, the bailiff of the capital decided that everything could open again, because the florins had to roll. Why would the life of a single person matter, when there were over 210 million left? God Mammon kept laughing and licking his fingers, the more of this, the better for him. His already big empire started to expand, the other gods named Charity, Mercy, Solidarity and Empathy were driven away as the worshippers of Mammon waged war against them. They besieged their castles, took their walls down, burnt down their humble homes and danced around their bonfires with laughter and jeers.

In this climate the entrepreneurs of the language institutions remembered that they were not stronghold of education, but a part of the sector of commerce. So they decided if one of the barons wanted to acquire more knowledge of another language in person, in order to set sails to a foreign land to colonise and exploit it, why not taking advantage of that and order the language masters to obey the call of Mammon and appear in the language house to service the baron? Whether the plague came in, it did not matter as long as the florin kept rolling and coming in too. If the language master fell sick, it did not matter much, should the language master die, there were uncountable others who wanted to be exploited. As long as the florin kept rolling, all means were valid. God Mammon laughed and spread his wings to outset for other regions he could conquer. Translusitania he already had under his power.

A New Brazilian Football Chamionship?

When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.

Dennis Bergkamp

 

Many things can be said about Brazilian football, elegant, aesthetic, disorganised, strange formated etc.. The total of all contrarinesses, inconsistencies, discrepancies and inequalities  of the country show themselves in this sport, which is considered to be the national passion of Brazil. There is hardly any walk of life, where football is not present and the easiest way to get in contact with anyone is to start a conversation about the last round of the championship. Eventhough it is a male dominated sport in Brazil too, football has a lot of female followers and their passion very often is not second to the men’s at all. In Brazil it is like it is said in the entry quote by the ex-footballer, the Dutch Dennis Bergkamp: when you start to support a football team then it is that you have found your place.

The format of the Brazilian football can be quite confusing for those, who are not familiar with it or just have a very superficial interest. There are state leagues, state cups, regional cups, national cups, national championships and not to mention the South American continental cups. Players seem to be more than happy to leave the country for even the worst leagues in Europe, because there they earn more money (owed to the very bad exchange rate of the Brazilian currency, the Real) for less work. If a player is an all present in a season, he gets about 60 to 80 matches under his belt – a year. The only two months when the ball is not rolling, are December (as the national championship usually has its last round by the end of November/beginning ot December) and January (when the biggest annual youth tournament in the world, the Copa Sao Paulo de Futebol Junior, an Under-18 tournament played in the honour of the City of Sao Paulo, is held to fill the gap of first team action). It can happen that there are several competitions are played simultanously, like it happened once on 15.03.2020, when EC Vitoria fielded the first team at home against River Atletico Clube-PI in the Copa do Nordeste, a regional cup competition involving all states of Brazil’s Northeast, while the Under-23 team competed in the Baiano Championship, the state league competition of the state of Bahia organised by the state football federation, away against EC Jacuipense. Both matches were televised live, the first team match at 11:00, the U-23 at 15:30, but on different channels. If someone was a real Vitoria supporter, he/she would have had to spend the whole Sunday in front of the television (or have gone at least to the stadium for the first team match, in case this person was located in Salvador, where Vitoria are from). Even for die hards this would have been quite a lot of sacrifice.

Television plays a big role in Brazil’s football. Because of the vast distances and countrylike sized states (e.g. the state of Minas Gerais has approximately the dimensions of France), it is impossible for most supporters to go and watch the team of their heart, which is often quite far away. It is not very astonishing that it took until 1971 to have the first national championship being played and before that only the state championships were held, but some of them date back as long as 1902 and therefore have a long tradition and contain some of very old and traditional local clubs, who might not appear in the spotlight at the moment, but have a glorious past or even future.

Unfortunately most local teams are usually considered as too inferior to be worth to be watched or supported, a problem that especially the football of Brasilia is suffering from. If local clubs are not considered, then regional ones fill the gap. If those are also not worth being considered, then some national big shots have to step in. Through the hegemony of TV Globo, teams from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are dominating that segment and with the export of players from Brazil all over the world, foreign brands (and this word is used intentionally here) like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Paris St. Germain or Borussia Dortmund have aggressively set foot in the Brazilian fan market – and TV is a very willing accomplice for that. So it is very common that people root for a team that is 1000 or 2000km away rather than for the one they have at their front door, or even for those which are located overseas instead of going local and giving the support to those who really need it. Instead of standing up for one’s regional or local teams, it seems to be much easier to be a glory hunter of a club the person has never been to. Before July 2020, CdR Flamengo from Rio de Janeiro was TV Globo’s pussycat. Whenever a Flamengo player farted, the whole country could hear it thanks to Globo. When the small team of Chapecoense reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana, the Latin American equivalent to the UEFA Europa League, they only made the headlines when they had a terrible plane accident on their way to the first final match in Colombia against Atletico Nacional. Brazil’s football is full of Matthew Effects, probably more than any other country which holds football competitions on such a high technical level.

Anyway, on July 3rd, 2020, Brazilian journalist Paulo Vinicius Coelho, called for a revolution of the Brazilian football system on his blog. There he states that the Brazilian public would not want to see the likes of Jacuipense vs. Vitoria, just the matches on national level – and have the state leagues as feeder leagues, running parallel competitions. In a way he has a point there, but he forgets some important interfering factors. Brazil is a country full of inequalities and the concentration ratio in almost all walks of life is extremely high. With a shielded economy and a very protective market in general, Brazil is not the easiest field to operate for anyone, who has no ties with the old boys, who themselves often see their roots in nobility and colonial heritage That also applies to football. Newcomers in general have no chance to reach the top, the big clubs, especially from Rio and Sao Paulo, try to capture the talents and sell them on to Europe with an overpriced market value tag attached to them, where most of them are just passing through to some minor league to get some match experience and practise and hopefully develop into some raw diamond. If they don’t, they are simply released on a free transfer or forgotten in that minor league. The return of players to Brazil is as enormous as the exit, just with the difference that most of the returning ones end up in unemployment, as they have not learnt anything else but playing football all their life and the reservoir of talents in Brazil seems to be inexhaustible. So no club in Brazil is waiting for the hordes of returners, eventhough they claim to keep themselves fit with their old club, waiting for a new contract offer to come in, an offer that usually never arrives. The competition is simply too heavy.

In his blog, Mr Coelho calls for a reform, which would favour the big ones and would mean the end of the small ones. What is he after? Well, by June 2020 the federal government passed on a provisional law which would allow the home team to negotiate its rights for the match individually with the broadcaster and that would mean the end of a collective broadcasting rights contract for the whole competition. This is part of the federal government’s strategy in an ongoing feud with Rede Globo, who had the solely rights of broadcasting the national championships for decades and paid high sums to the state championships of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais, while paying peanuts to other 23 state leagues and federations. That law would benefit mostly the ex-pet of this station, CdR Flamengo, as they are supposed to be the most popular club of the country thanks to their previous position within the broadcasting network. Their oponents could negotiate a very high price for every away match them and they could also negotiate a very high price for their home match. Where this leads to can be seen in Spain. In July 2020, Flamengo, who are in a strong favour of this scheme, broadcast their match against Boavista SC of the Rio Championship on their YouTube channel, based on exactly this provisional law of the Brazilian presidency. So Globo decided to storm out of that broadcasting contract and punished the rest of the league with a black television screen, as the remaining matches of the whole championship would not be broadcast anymore at all. In 2017 the derby in the Parana State Championship between Atletico Paranaense and Coritiba FC was not kicked off by a football federation order to the referee, who was already on the pitch, because the two clubs did not want to bend down to Globo’s dictatorship and had agreed to have it broadcast through their own YouTube channels. The official reasoning was that there would have been too many unacredited people around the pitch and for security reasons the match would have had to be called off.

Mr Coelho, who coincidentally writes his blog on a Globo site, calls for transforming the state leagues into feeder leagues, running parallel championships with the national competition. He reasons that this would give the small clubs a whole year to play and not just a few months in case they would qualify for the national championship’s 4th division in the year after the current one. By today it is that way that if a club does not already play in one of the three divisions, it can qualify for the national championship’s 4th division through a very good campaign in the state championship. BUT, that qualification is not valid for the same year, it is only valid for the following year. So the club has to try to survive somehow until then and even then the season can be quite short, as the 4th division is organised in an already eliminatory short group phase and then several knock out phases. That way it is understandable what Mr Coelho is asking for. On the other side, those small clubs depend a lot on the state leagues and their TV revenue in order to survive at all. With the transformation of the state championships into feeder leagues this money won’t come in anymore and as Brazilian football federations only deal with professional football, this would lead to an end of professional football in the state leagues and in the long run also degrade the state federations to amateur organisations with the Brazilian FA, the CBF (already featured on this blog in a previous posting),being the only administrative body for professional football. Mr Coelho claims that this concentration would provide a higher marketing chance abroad for the league as such, but this author doubts it. South American football is not that popular overseas not because of its various and confusing (parallel running) competitions. It is not that popular because the best players are not playing in their national championships. It is not that popular because in most South American countries the stadiums are empty, as the ticket prices do not correspond with the income of the people and therefore make a stadium visit an unaffordable luxury good. It is not that popular, because the time zone and kick off times for the important European, African and Asian TV markets are not very attractive. It is not that popular……. and there would come a lot of other reasons, which Mr Coelho obviously refuses to ignore (or Globo told him to perform as an advocate for that reform, so that they can sell the TV rights abroad and make money from a competition, which is one of the strongest football leagues in the world, but which nobody wants to see outside of Latin America). As a matter of fact, the transformation of the state championships into pure feeder leagues would kill off the basis, which the top clubs live from and no house can stand firmly if there is no strong basis at all.

The Evil under the Brazilian Sun: Abraham Weintraub

The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition and incompetence.

Elbert Hubbard

 

This article’s entry statement talks about America, as Elbert Green Hubbard was an American philospher, publisher writer, who died in 1915. But as these three foes are present in any country worldwide, the term “America” can be replaced by any other existing country. One of these countries in question is Brazil.

Brazil’s government was taken over by a handful of extremely incompenent and ignorant people by January 1st, 2019, lead by Jair Messias Bolsonaro as its president. This messiah had promised to clean up the stable and for that he needed a few helpers and the one who would save the country’s education system, which ranked always among the bottom five in diverse rankings, was Ricardo Velez Rodriguez. Mr. Rodriguez, Colombian by birth, Brazilian by naturalization, was suggested to Mr. Bolsonaro by his spin doctor, Olavo de Carvalho. But it proved that Mr. Rodriguez, theologist, who cited his insiprations would come from Mr. Carvalho and Antonio Paim, was not really capable of saving the system, because he would “lack expertise and managmentship” according to the president. So that lead to a new star rising on the horizon: Abraham Bragança de Vasconcellos Weintraub.

With Mr Weintraub is not only a great economic scholar, with an outstanding record as a student already (fluking nine disciplines in three semestres, showing low presence in other disciplines) entered the ranks of the government, but also a word artist (as ministry of education not being very firm in is mother tongue’s spelling, entitling Franz Kafka as Franz Kafta, kafta being an Arab food, and much more), free from any racial prejudice (causing a difficult diplomatic crisis by attacking China, one of Brazil’s main trading partners, as a country that would benefit from the COVID-19 pandemia in its attempts to dominate the world, ridiculing the difficulty that the Chinese have in pronouncing the letter “r”, disapproving the existence of quotes in favour of ethnical minorities in post-graduation courses), a declared friend of the constitutional state (declaring in a government meeting that all Chief Justices should be imprisoned), a supporter of state universities and human sciences (cutting inconstitutionally and arbitrarily 30% of the funding of federal universities for “shindings”, stating that he doesn’t want any philosophers, sociologists and antropologists receiving public funding of any kind) and much more. Because he is such a multitalented jack of all trades, just like the already featured Paulo Guedes, his Wikipedia biography was not showing his true value for humanity. That’s why the Ministry of Education requested Wikipedia to remove the article about him, using employees of that very institution for a private campaign, which even included the threat of taking Wikipedia to court if they would not delete it. Well, Wikipedia did not give in, the article remained on its site.

Mr Weintraub also seems to have some kind of problem with cannabis. While his father Mauro Weintraub, a psychiatrist and lecturer at the University of Sao Paulo, even wrote a book in favour of the decriminalization of the use of cannabis, his son took a different turn. Without proof he claimed that the ex-presidents Inacio Lula da Silva and Dilma Vania Rousseff would have transported much more drugs in the presidential aeroplanes, after 39 kilos of cocaine were found in one of the presidential convoy aeroplanes during the state visit in Japan for the G-20 conference in June 2019. He also stated that students would grow marihunana in the plantations and produce methamphetamine in the chemical laboratories of all federal universities. Quite a clairvoyant he is, isn’t he?

So what has this great talent contributed to Brazil’s public education system, which is always among the bottom five of the world in any ranking? Well, besides that the students should know how to sing the national anthem and (a failed, because inconstitutional campaign) that they should film their teachers during classes because they would teach communist thoughts only, Mr Weintraub has contributed N O T H I N G.

It is really difficult to contribute nothing to a system which lies almost dead in front of you and where any small idea would already be welcomed as the rise of a second sun on the horizon, but Mr Weintraub has even achieved that. For him it was much more important to engage himself in ideological trench wars, attacking institutions, insulting hard working people, foreign statesmen and countries, playing games with the future of a whole generation (the disaster of the national exam ENEM, which enables access to public and private universities, in the year 2019 is another proof of his competence, especially as it was announced as the best of all times) and trying to show off that he was the better right winged fellow than anyone else in the Bolsonaro government. Why the president had called up this very competent man to fill in a very important position in any government, remains a mystery. Mr Weintraub might have been the only candidate for the job at the Universidade Federal de Sao Paulo, where his brother and wife were already lecturing, but he definitely was not the only option for such an important post. Probably the best president of them all did not want to fill that position with a person from the military staff (yet), in order to masquerade his intentions to establish a military dictatorship in a democratic way and having another representative of the armed forces in such a key position would have gone against the camouflaging of this aim. Brazil has several schools on secondary school level, which are run by the armed forces (including the Policia Militar, one of the several police forces Brazil has) and the president had announced that he would want all public schools following the curriculum of these schools, because they would be an example of educational excellency. But installing a real member of the military might have been a bit too far reaching at this very moment.

By June 2020, Brazil had the third minister of health and now will need another third minister of education. Better health, safety and education services are key demands of the population of Brazil, but none of these demands has been heard by the Bolsonaro government yet.

 

Brazil on the Road to Fascism: The Camp of the 300

Die erste Voraussetzung für den Erfolg ist die ständige und regelmäßige Anwendung von Gewalt.

Adolf Hitler

 

In the yeat 480 BC, a famous battle took place in ancient Greece: the Battle of Thermopylae. In the Second Greco-Persian War, a small group of Greek soldiers, lead by King Leonidas I, stood against an overpowering army lead by the Persian king Xerxes I. It is said that the situation was around 6000 Greek soldiers against 50 000 to 250 000 Persian men. The numbers are estimated, because the chronicler Herodotus is not very exact in it and sometimes contradicts himself with his narration of the event. The Persians won the battle, but what caused this event to become a myth, was that Leonidas could hold the narrows of the Thermopylae Pass with 300 of his Spartan soldiers long enough to enable the rest of the Greek army to retreat to safety. Still, none of the 300 survived and in the end, Xerxes also had an unsuccessful campaign as he lost the decisive sea battle of Salamis against a united Greek fleet; Sparta’s myth, that their soldiers would never retreat, not even in the most hopeless moments, was born and prevailed until nowadays.

Many centuries passed, but on May 1st, 2020, many of thousands of kilometers away from Greece, a new “Group of 300” appeared. In the tumultous periods of Brazil, which started in 2016 with the impeachment of the democratically elected president Dilma Vania Rousseff and worsened ever since, especially after the election of Jair Messias Bolsonaro as president, they considered themselves as the saviours of order, by supporting the president mentally, holding paramilitary exercises and giving interviews with extremely questionable content to the press. They set up a camp in front of the Brazilian congress buildings and voiced threats of invasions of parliament and the supreme court. They also admitted that they would stock arms and would not hesitate to use them “to protect the group”.

One of the leaders of this small group of freedom fighters (they obviously want to get rid of freedom) is Sara Fernanda Giromini, also known by her pseudonyme as Sara Winter. Having passed through several interesting phases of her life since her birth in 1992, like having been the founder of the Brazilian version of FEMEN, Big Brother Brazil candidate who worked in prostitution, YouTuber, not-elected-candidate for federal congress in 2018, pro-life anti abortion activist and being the assessor of Brazilian family minister, reverend Damares Regina Alves in 2019, responsible for maternity affairs, she had embraced the political far right for appearing in public again. After her unsuccessful run for congressladyship for the Democratas, Brazil’s nationalist party in Congress, in 2018, her positions towards nationalist affairs got even stronger than the president’s and in June 2020, she was finally ostracised from the party for not following its ethical duties. Obviously sad and bitter with life, she threatened Chief Justice Alexandre de Moraes, who ordered forces of the Policia Federal to visit her apartment as well in an ongoing police operation against fake news and threats against the Federal Supreme Court, in a video message that he would never find peace as she would like to exchange blows with him and would also find out about the places he goes to. In the year 2020 it seems to be very popular to disrespect the  Federal Supreme Court members and threaten them, but Mr Moraes has a couple of principles and one of them is that he does not take shit from anyone (neither does the author of this posting). So Mr Moraes issued a court investigation against Mrs Winter, arriving at a minimum of five offences, where two of them are infringements of the penal code and three of the code of national security. In case of a positive verdict, the years spent in prison total up in a variation of 7 to 22 years.

The government’s opposition got a bit twitchy about the steady camping site in front of Congress, as it was not really known what was going on in there, and asked the General Attorney to have the camp removed as it would cause growing concern about the stability of democracy and also stimulate the president to continue his crowd bathing in his (manageable) amount of supporters gathering in front of the presidential palace every Sunday. By mid-May 2020, the justice system denied the activity, saying that this would be a matter of a criminal and of a civil court. Feling strengthened by that court ruling, the group started to become more impertinent. By the end of the same month, they appeared at a nightly hour in front of the building of the Federal Supreme Court with torches and white masks. The scene reminded a lot of scenes from the Klu Klux Klan classic “The Birth of a Nation“, or the Nazi torchlight procession in Berlin in 1939, found in Reuter’s archives. Just…………………… with such a small group it is not impressive at all, it’s more ridiculous than impressive. It has to be said that the 300 are much smaller than the number would tell. The estimated figures vary between 10 and 50 constant and always present members of that group.

After the government of the Distrito Federal, which means the whole area of Brasilia, officially had had enough of the constant disobedience of the Anti-Coronavirus measurments of this group, the authorities finally entered in action on June 13th, 2020. After fruitless attempts of negotiations in order to leave the place, the camp was cleared with the help of the Policia Militar. They behaved as they always do, just that it was against the right winged followers this time and therefore they were much softer, not using clubs or flashbangs against peaceful people. Sara Winter, at times when it is not against her, a strong advocate of law and order, whined on the internet like a little baby who had her toy taken away from her, asking the president to take action, but until this posting was written nothing happened from his side. Probably in an attempt to demonstrate power or just looniness, the group of 300 tried to invade the congress buildings. As they could not enter the buildings themselves, they climbed on top of the roof, probably thinking that this would be seen as an occupation and they would seize power of the whole country now. But the president of the senate, Davi Samuel Alcolumbre Tobelem, a former fellow party member of Mrs Winter, put a spoke in their wheel. He ordered the Legislative Police (yes, Brazil’s parliament has a police force of its own) to clear the roof and take the 300 down, who started sitting around on the grass in front of the parliament building. 

Maybe someone should tell Mrs Winter that it is not all over yet, there will be more things to come onto her and they won’t be very pleasent. By the time of writing this posting, Brazil is still a constitutional state and those of the 300 or who sympathise with them and always use the word “freedom” in those video links above should read the following lines, especially the last verse (and if they do not understand that language, use a translator, the basic meaning should be obvious even by using those internet based ones):

1. Es zittern die morschen Knochen
Der Welt vor dem roten Krieg,
Wir haben den Schrecken gebrochen,
Für uns war’s ein großer Sieg.

Chorus:
Wir werden weiter marschieren
Wenn alles in Scherben fällt,
Denn heute da hört uns Deutschland
Und morgen die ganze Welt.

2. Und liegt vom Kampfe in Trümmern
Die ganze Welt zuhauf,
Das soll uns den Teufel kümmern,
Wir bauen sie wieder auf.
Chorus

3. Und mögen die Alten auch schelten,
So laßt sie nur toben und schrei’n,
Und stemmen sich gegen uns Welten,
Wir werden doch Sieger sein.
Chorus

4. Sie wollen das Lied nicht begreifen,
Sie denken an Knechtschaft und Krieg
Derweil unsre Äcker reifen,
Du Fahne der Freiheit, flieg!

Wir werden weiter marschieren,
Wenn alles in Scherben fällt;
Die Freiheit stand auf in Deutschland
Und morgen gehört ihr die Welt.

Es zittern die morschen Knochen, Hans Baumann, 1932

What came after 1932 should be commonly known. Freedom did not rise, as it was proclaimed in the last verse. There are several similarities to be seen between 1923/1945 and 2016/2020, history always repeats itself. 

The Radical Evil

Son, the greatest trick the Devil pulled was convincing the world there was only one of him.”

David Wong, John Dies at the End

 

This posting is a bit different from the others, as it tries do deal with a philosophical issue, which is inherent in one of the series in this blog, the series called “The Evil under the Brazilian Sun”.

The author wants to base this article on the thoughts of Immanuel Kant about the relationship between the human being and the evil, which he laid down in this works “Die Religion innerhalb der Grenzen der bloßen Vernunft”. There Kant writes about the basic ideas of the human being and its relationship with the good and the evil and later goes on to connect (Christian) religion with the ideas of morals. This text will leave out the religious component completely and will try to investigate about the evil in human nature, which can be found widely spread within contemporary Brazilian politics.

Society as such always tries to improve its current situation and therefore the development of humanity is heading towards better times. May it be some improvement on an individual basis, like a higher income in order to have better living conditions, may it be some colletive ameloration, for example with the Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, it does not matter. Mankind tries to change for the better. But there are always exceptions to the rule and these are defined as “evil beings”. But why do these evil beings appear and why do they even have such a huge following?

The answer to the question about the following of these evil beings is easy to give. The human being is a gregarious animal and when there is a leader, when there is an idea, when there is the identification with both, then the human being is willing to follow and go great lengths for that idea. It can not be answered by reason, it can only be taken as a fact.

In principle, the reasoning of the “why” someone is going the evil way is an unexplicable phenomenon for Kant. He states that “a human is not called evil, because he executes deeds, which are evil (against the law); it is because they are of that kind of nature, that evil maxims within him can be deducted. […] but these maxims can not be observed […] he is aware of the moral law and has still absorbed the (occasional) deviation from it within his maxim” (Kant, RGV, p. 20). So the human being is a carrier of some radical evil, in the original sense coming from the Latin word “radix”, which means “the root”, which does not let him do good deeds, but leads him towards malignity. The human itself is aware of the moral laws that operate within society and also within him, but he still goes against them for some unexplicable reason (cf. Kant, RGV, 1968, p. 21).

When it comes to assess the moral value of the evil deeds, then it has to be taken into consideration that the value of morals is arbitrarily, otherwise it would be impossible to attribute the tags “good” or “bad” (ot “evil”) to the actions that were done. So the general values of society have to be taken into consideration when it comes to assessing what is considered as evil and what is not. There are some global norms concerning that, for example murder is considered a heinous deed worldwide, but not offering a traveller a place to sleep in ones own private house is not considered evil in every society or place.

According to Kant, the human being owns a pursuit of happiness, the satisfaction of all needs is supposed to be reached by the application of the categorical imperative. This one says that each activity of the human should be a maxim that way, which should be able to be converted in a commonly valid law (cf. Kant, KrV, 1974, A 54). But the human also posesses a very heavy counterweight, which goes against exactly this idea. Even though the human is aware of the immorality of his actions, he still goes against the principles of morality, as well as against those of reason and also dares to question their validity (cf. Kant, GMS, 1974, BA 23).

A possible explanation of this counterweight might be the very strong egoism that lies within human nature. This character trait is inherent in all humans and even the most collective thinking person is not completely free of it. It is a subconscious motivation for activities of any kind, of activities that have a goal. This self-love in the pursuit of happiness becomes an unconditional law of one’s own activity instead of becoming a moral law. So the human being does not really care much about morality when it comes to self-interests. Well, it’s not necessarily the biological and personal necessities that draw the human to the dark side, it’s more the mistaken identity of the subjective individual determiner of the will which is taken for the objective one and which causes the mix up of the maxim of the individual action. The human only becomes human, when he follows moral principles. Kant states it that way when he says “the evil is radical, because it spoils the reason for all maxims; as a natural tendency it can not be extincted by human power, because this could only happen by good maxims, which can not happen, when the utmost subjective reason of all maxims is considered as rotten, but it still has to be possible to overwhelm, because it can be found in all free acting human beings” (Kant, RGV, 1968, p. 37). In other words, the human, who is following the evil path, is not a free human, it is heteronomously lead and is therefore unable to determine his own destiny and activities.

The motivation for the good or the evil root in the same depths of the human freedom for activities, but the evil is a rejection of a human characteristic trait, the one that is called reason. Reason gives the human being the possibility of the “reception of respect for the moral law as an incitement of arbitrariness” (Kant, RGV, 1968, p. 27). The evil on the other side is not such an incitement, it is just a pervertion of the heart (cf. Kant, RGV, 1968, p. 30). Still this does not exempt someone from responding and justifying their evil deeds against the moral, juridical or any other kind of law. The human nature is determined by reason, which rules over the mind and that again should rule over one’s actions. Self-love and egoism are not supposed to dominate the human nature, otherwise a life in a society would be impossible. Of course there are more collective and more indivudual societies, but some morale principles are the same everywhere and the respect towards them is demanded from all members of society.

So when we take a look at Brazil’s current government the question is: where is exactly this respect? It can’t be found. A presidential leader is supposed to be a moral institution, someone who is supposed to unite several capabilities in just one single person. The president is supposed to be a person who knows how to govern and lead the country through rough times and not someone who is initiating a divide within society by imoral activities or actions, who respects the other two powers of the state and does not want to monopolise everything in one single person. The cult of a single leader, who has all the power and all the rights, has not lead anywhere yet but to destruction, (civil) war and human misery. A true leader is not full of egoism and self-love, as it could be seen just above when talking about the radical evil, a true leader is open for other opinions, is able to listen to the opposition too and is definitely free from having a tendency of nepotism. Especially the latter is a very difficult task in Brazil, because it has a long tradition and a history, which goes back to colonial times.

What is demanded from the president is also demanded from his ministers. They are also some kind of leaders, because they lead their individual ressorts, their ministries. So that is why they should be chosen wisely and not just because some insinuator from a distant land recommends somebody, or because they are friends of friends of friends of friends. This goes down to all positions, where people are always exchanged as soon as a new government is installed. That way Brazil will never take a step forward, it will always remain in the status of a developing country, despite having all the possibilities and economic power to leave that (eternal) status behind. To govern is not to rule, but it is to work for the people and the country. After all, in a democracy it is the voters who put the government in its position in the belief of the good side of the human being and ignoring the possibility of the radical evil in everyone of us.

 

Bibliography

Kant, Immanuel Religion in den Grenzen der Vernunft, De Gruyter Verlag, Berlin, 1968

Kant, Immanuel Kritik der prakischen Vernunft, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1974

Kant, Immanuel Grundlagen zur Metaphysik der Sitten, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1974

Kant, Immanuel Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1974