By: Cíntia de Carvalhaes (Brazil, United States)
(Para ler esta postagem em português, clique aqui)
The popular protests going on in Brazil over the past few weeks point to emergencies in distinct sectors of the country and a growing popular political movement – whether it follows specific flags or not – working together in the interests of the people. Who says you need political parties to have democracy?
President Dilma Rousef, during her speech last week, said that neither the government nor society could accept that a violent and authoritarian minority destroy public and private patrimony. I think this principle, beyond the focus that it took (wasting probably half of the total time of her national appearance) only relates to the minority of people on the streets of Brazil today. I would have preferred to see acknowledged the fact that another minority has also come, for a long time now, destroying not just these kinds of patrimony but also, and more importantly, other kinds like spiritual and immaterial patrimony. In my innocent utopia, I imagined she had described it: people in power enriching themselves on the stolen dignity of the people.
We are still not all capable of understanding and acting on the realization that a more humane world can only be rebuilt with the knowledge of those most excluded and oppressed. Their experience makes them the only ones capable of generating a real change, not just for themselves, but for all of society. Not only as Brazilians, but as human beings, we have to learn to identify and correct the fact that this impulse to violence, in this case, is an irrational and destructive part of the attempt to reappropriate public debate, and that it leads only to more violence from those who sense this is the only way they will have their strength recognized or rights guaranteed. The moment when we can speak about this theme with honesty and a real interest in change, we will each of us admit our responsibility, recognizing the challenge of an open and inclusive dialogue, attentive to distinct points of view and valuing each individual human experience. With all this, it is still the attitude of the majority in Brazil, peaceful and strong, searching for a more intelligent way of protest, that deserves real focus, recognition and support.
Madame president, your ten minute speech would have been more constructive and direct if this was your focus rather than just giving excuses and mis-information to try to dodge responsibility for the accumulated errors since the absurd budget for the World Cup in 2014 to the proposals for the reduction of the price of public transport.
“Quero gritar na proxima esquina…a minha dor está na rua…calar a boca nunca mais…O povo novo quer muito mais do que desfile pela Paz…” (“I want to shout at the next corner… my pain is in the streets… I won’t be silent anymore… the new people want much more than a parade for peace…”) sings Tom Zé, in his recent composition about the protests. The new people concentrate their strength, working for the conquest of a democracy which includes, beyond any doubt, the people’s role as participant and protagonist. They want to be an active part of the decisions of their government and will not accept another path than that of transparency and non corruption. Until then, we can only hope that one day soon the state will be worthy enough to meet us there.