Close to the Beating Heart
After reading through the gamut of opinion pieces included in this most recent issue (online) of Brazzil, it seems to me that many of the arguments are resounding...first, some like to denigrate your publication by rhetorically questioning its status as a magazine. I find that amusing. If the articles engender debate, and if the opinions raised are heated, then response has been made, and thought has been provoked...what better can we ask of our literature?
It seems to me you run the risk of raising the ire of the nationalists regularly, when exercising that fundamental freedom we like to harp on about, speech. Evidently the `mute newt' crowd forgets that their philosophy is in contradiction to their avowed philosophy. For those weeping tears for Cardoso, freedom from speech is their lustsince Lula's coup de maître has led to an expansive vocalization of otherwise ignored opinions.
I myself have been attached to Brazil for several years, the magazine, the nation, and some of the more attractive members of its citizenry. Without resorting to hyperbole, I can say that a nation so vast, with such a variegated ethnic heritage is a study in contradictions, and when I see people comparing those things I love about Brazil (the indolence, the laissez-faire, the concerts on Copacabana beach [and the cultural center in the middle of economically non-viable neighborhoods]) with some measure of failuretoo bad I am not happy making millions while shut into a glossy 80-storey jailhouseI find it amusing in a pathetic degree.
To compare Brazil with the U.S. is to invite some sharp differentiation, but to take Brazil for what it is, and it certainly has aspirations to that measure of respect, is to love the beating heart of a nation alive, rather than our dead decadent Roman-inheritance. I have just failed to follow my philosophy, by comparing the U.S. to Brazilsee how easy it is to categorize? All those who suddenly injected adrenaline on reading that sentence would know that I might believe in the wonder of the U.S., and Brazil, without needing to compare the two to see which is `better.'
With warmest regards,Matt O'Neill
(on TAM from Miami to São Paulo)
Down with Intolerance
I read several of your published articles and letters sent by some angry Americans complaining about your anti-Americanism tone. I must agree with some of them. However, I do not agree with a letter sent by someone called Cintia, Long Beach, NY. It was very un-American of her; she has no reason to offend Brazil the way she did just because she is judging us basing on some articles or magazine. She should not judge an entire country basing on some morons we have in Brazil. Can you imagine if people in the world decide to judge all the Americans by their movies?
I think America has its greatness. I realize that the USA is not perfect; however Brazil now is far less perfect than the U.S.. We must remember that the Americans do open their arms to immigrants and people from all over the world and they are more tolerant than you want to consider. It is unbelievable that some writers are using your magazine to promote international hatred. I am protesting about the disrespect some of the articles are conveying against other countries, this is not the Brazilian way!
Many times I complain about things here in the U.S.. I live and work here and pay my taxes duly. I also have close relatives serving the U.S. armed forces (yes, some are Brazilians) and I have a son born in the U.S. and many American relatives. I think the U.S. has its bag full of troubles as well, especially concerning their health system and their basic education.
By stating my knowledge of American social and economical issues does not make me an anti-American! I also complain, more loudly yet, about several social and economical problems we have in Brazil. John Fitzpatrick, for example, lives in Brazil and he is voicing some concerns he has about our social problems. That is very commendable. He is indeed welcome to do so because he lives there, that is his home. However, he does not promote international intolerance, let's follow his example.
Shouldn't we all get together, Brazilians, Americans, Europeans, etc, to resolve our mutual problems instead of promoting hatred against each other? Shouldn't we Brazilians shake hands with the other countries instead of turning our backs to them? We are all sharing the same planet and resources. The world economies are now intrinsically linked and Brazil needs a great deal of help from other countries to fully develop.
Let's us, Brazilians, be humble in this matter and promote peace and international collaboration instead of promoting stupid resentments. Some of Brazzil's magazine writers claim to be "intellectuals". What kind of intellectuals are they when they are proposing very naïve and silly solutions for the social and economical conditions in Brazil? These writers are truly doing a disservice to our country.
I am also deeply disappointed that some of your writers are easily misled by outdated socialist ideas. Look what happened to the mighty Soviet Empire; it crumbled like an old bear, and please, do not come blaming the western capitalism for that, if communism was that good it should be able to stand competition from foreign countries. The Soviets proved once more and at the end that freedom is the most important asset in life; more than wealth. I just hope that people in Brazil realize that.
Brazil does not need nuclear weapons, ICBM's, or major military power. We do not have enemies and we do not need to create one. Brazil needs education, jobs and food. We need top research institutes, great scientists, great universities, a good technical working force, a strong economy and a lot of charity toward each other.
Let's talk about how to resolve the problem of Brazil with intelligence and spirit of communion (not communism), with open hearts and international friendship. Let's tell the world that we want their participation and partnership. Let's approach other countries with respect and tolerance even when we believe they are not respecting us; thus we may show them the correct attitude.
Pay attention to the article written by Steven Rozengauz ("How Brazil Wooed Me"). That was a great article about international friendship and we should welcome Americans like him all the time.
Very Sincerely,Sergio Tunes
San Diego, California
I am a Brazilian in the United States. If I may, I would like to explain a few things that the readers of this magazine should know about. This is for fellow Brasileiros as well as non-Brazilians. First of all, there is a very good reason why there is a remaining anti-American sentiment in Brazil. During the early part of the 1960s, the U. S. government supported a military coup in Brazil, and continued to give support to a regime that brutalized the population. The United States government participated in a set of events that destroyed the Brazilian (as well as other Latin American nations) economy and social systems.
That being said, the Brazilian people do not hate Americans. On the contrary, the collaborations between our two peoples in the arts and sciences have been a thing of great beauty. Also, during the Clinton administration political relations between our two countries had become quite friendly, and the United States was held in great respect.
Most of the anti-American sentiment that I read in this magazine was directed towards the Bush administration, not the United States or its people. Secondly, when people write critical arguments about the American political system, one must keep in mind that they are not necessarily saying that Brazil is the greatest country in the world. While I consider myself a patriot, I recognize that Brazil and its government have been party to their own disgraces. However, it is the right of every human being to formulate and express his opinions.
Finally, to those Brazilians who wrote that Mr. John Fitzpatrick does not understand Brazil or its people, you are being ridiculous. While I myself do not agree with much of what he says, that does not make his opinions any less valid. Perhaps he does not reflect the sentiment of our people, but it is necessary to give every man a voice. Furthermore, to be insulting to him as a foreigner is insulting to our own people. I have always said that "Brasileiro é do coração," to be Brazilian is to love Brazil and its people. If he does, then he is as much Brazilian as you or I.
Muito obrigado pela revista,Rafael Chargel
We're All Poor
I'm a Brazilian journalist and I agree with what has been said about the life quality and torture and the corruptive system we heard about in Brazilian prisons. The matter is really complicated and in order to change this situation it's going to take some time.
I don't know if you have heard about a Brazilian documentary called Ônibus 174 (Bus 174). It's a movie about a kidnapping in an urban bus in Rio, based in a real story which took place in the year 2000. The author of the kidnapping was a Candelária kids' slaughter witness, the only one who survived after the murder of many street kids at the Candelária church.
I was living in London at the time, but this was an unforgettable international news that shocked the planet. This guy, whose name I can't recall at the moment, was actually a victim of society and ended up dying by the hands of the police. I don't think this documentary will have the international dimension of a City of God, but it should.
If, by any chance, you get to meet the producer and director of this filmJosé Páduayou will understand what is going on in Brazil. It's quite shocking for Brazilians too.
The fact is, we don't know how to begin a change. I'm worried that I will not be able to eat by the end of the month and control the money for the basic things in my life. How and when can we start doing something?
There is no unemployment benefits in Brazil, we don't get extra money for working more hours than we should and you pray that by the end of the month the job is still going to be yours!
Employers are hiring people who are able to work for three. As a journalist you have to write, edit and review, when you don't have to also design a webpage. This is just an example of my profession.
If you complain, you'll get this answer, "I'm sorry, this job is not meant for you. There are thousands out there who are able to do anything to get your position!"
Anyway, I don't know how far this is going, but this new president seems to be very sensitive towards the poor in Brazil, which are 80 percent of the population. Only 10 percent of Brazilian taxpayers earn the equivalent of 400 English pounds a month. Don't think Brazil is cheap! Food is getting really expensive now.Karla de Oliveira Sodré
Brazil, Via Internet
Coming of Age in Brazil
About a month ago there was a short mention in the LA Times that the law was changing in Brazil re: treatment of 16-18 yr olds. At the moment, (I live in Brazil part of the year), "minors" can kill and walk. In my barrio that is a regular occurrence. Leave aside drug dealing, use and carrying guns. I have searched for more info on the proposed changes in legally defining "minors"can't locate anything.
I gathered that the age of responsibility was to be 16 years old. Does that mean that lawbreakers will be treated as adults starting at 16? Does it mean that sexual consent is also 16? Is the change in the law proposed, or passed, or has it become operative?
Everybody has known that, as a minor (under 18) you can do anything with impunity. Frankly, it has become a mess. There is a reason Brazil has the highest homicide rate in the worldand it is well-known (but little spoken) that the under-18'ers get started early and violently (and not just in Rio favelas as the news would indicate)and the police have given up since there are nearly no legal consequences.
"Minors" in Brazil are a "protected species". Problem is, they end up maiming and killing one another as well as others "of age" knowing that nothing will happen.
Basically, I would like the present status of the "proposal" but several searches on the Internet have gotten me nothing. Many thanksincidentally, I have subscribed to Brazzil close to its inception (before the spelling change even!)Mike Brown
Hey John Fitzpatrick, I read your most recent article in Brazzil ("Opposition? What Opposition?" - www.brazzil.com/p122feb03.htm ) There you attacked the PSDB, PFL, and PMDB as being feeble opposition to Lula's government. Granted there needs to be a strong opposition, don't you think that since Lula is popular right now, and that people want real reforms the parties have no choice but to appear as if they are trying to help Lula pass these reforms to benefit Brazil?
To be a strong opposition would hurt the parties image among the people since it would demonstrate, "hey we don't like Lula and won't help the reform effort thus hurting the fragile country in crisis." I think that the country needs to be put above politics and where does Brazil benefit if PSDB and PFL, PMDB attempt to block the reforms needed? It is just that same old political warfare cycle.
But don't worry. If Lula does something radical, and he becomes less popular, the opposition will surely arise with the strong leadership of the PSDB. I enjoy reading your articles since I agree with you about 90 percent of the time. Thanks,Daniel F. Torres
You Still Don't Get It
I just read your article in which you state that you will miss Cardoso (I Will Miss You, Fernando - http://www.brazzil.com/p106jan03.htm). I am sitting here in disbelief because after all of this time you still don't understand Brazil or Brazilians! They don't want to be like the U.S. or U.K.. Dirty streets, slow service etc. are all part of their society.
Without all of the things that you complained about it won't be Brazil! You have to take the good with the bad. Actually I could come up with a similar list of complaints about the U.S.. Have you forgotten about the Columbine High School murders or the DC snipers? How about the riots in L.A. and Cincy. The disgraceful Senator Lott or the constant talk of war here in the U.S..
The public high schools are lousy here and the streets are full of homeless. Then there is the crazy violence here aimed mainly at women. Corruption runs rampant in U.S. corporations as ethics disappear. I suppose that I could go on forever but don't expect Brazil to be perfect. Love what they do well (Carnaval, music, deep friendships) and accept those things that are not so nice but uniquely Brazilian.Brian C.
Mr. Fitzpatrick: I wanted to respond, as a Jewish-American woman who grew up mentored by the generation of Civil Rights activists of '60s America (a sensitivity to the subjects of race, power, social change, etc. was therefore learned early) and who has spent time here in the Boston area and in Brazil with friends of all colors/races (and why I felt I had to add that last qualification is probably quite telling), to your correspondence with Veja that was printed in Brazzil. ("Meanwhile, South of the Equator" - http://www.brazzil.com/p100jan03.htm)
I must say, though, that did not see the original letter and article in Veja ( Letter to the Reader "The Barrier of Race" and the article "Where are the Black People?") to which you refer. I would, in fact, appreciate it if you could email them to me. However, the topic of race and society here in the U.S. vs. in Brazil was on my mind due to a recent article by Antonio Paes in the Boston Brazilian paper Notícias ( firstname.lastname@example.org, issue of 7-13 January, 2003) which seemed to chronicle the surprise of certain "mixed race" Brazilians in the U.S. at "essa preocupação, essa fixação, essa paranóica obrigação.....de se enquadrar em dois grupos étnicos.....o branco ou o negro".
The responses of my Brazilian friends to that Notícias article have been interesting and have tended to vary according to how identifiably African or European they appear. It seems to me that those "in the middle" in Brazil haven't yet understood the empowerment for so-called minorities that came about here in the U.S. with keeping track of statistics on race such as those you were trying to elicit from Veja.
And clearly, whatever argument is made for an "equal opportunity" society existing in Brazil, the rich elite in Brazil is white and the equal opportunity demonstrated is that of remaining a disenfranchised underclass. This seems to be self-evident to the Brazilians to whom I spoke who would be unquestionably identified as of African descent (and who, at least in Salvador where I am most familiar with it, seem to have a racial-pride-based self-improvement movement), but a big surprise to those who appear to have more of a racial mix in their appearance.
With due sensitivity to the somewhat different history of race in the two countries that has obviously given rise to different ways of approaching the topic, demagoguery is not the issue. Empowerment is. Identifying the social ramifications of racial inequality, including statistically, can be the beginning of a solution to the problem, as has been demonstrated here in the U.S..
The Veja response seems to me like something out of the pre-1960s U.S. segregationist South, where the few people of color who could do so passed as white (and lighter children with "better", i.e. more European, hair were sometimes favored) to gain access to the opportunities that afforded and the rest were alleged to be happy as they were. Thank you for a series of letters that, I have no doubt, will be the basis of continued discussion among my circle of friends.Sandi Goldberg
Protestant Work Ethic
I read with interest your article in Brazzil magazine, entitled "Meanwhile, South of the Equator" - www.brazzil.com/p100jan03.htm, in which you included letters you sent to Veja magazine, and their replies, questioning their consistency in pointing out the apparent racial inequalities in Brazil and yet not doing anything themselves to rectify this.
Forgive me for repeating the fact that dare not speak its name, but isn't Brazil essentially a color-blind society, a racial democracy? I know, I knowGilberto Freyre's views on the matter have been "thoroughly debunked" and all that, but I still can't help taking note of the painfully obvious. Brazil has never had any race-based segregation in its five hundred years of history, in marked contrast to somewhere like the United States.
Indeed, the population in Brazil is thoroughly mesclado, something that has until very recently been considered in places like the United States and other Germanic countries obnoxious and beyond the pale (no pun intended). In Brazil, it seems, (and other Latin societies) wherever different "races" meet, they happily mix. Throughout Brazil's history there have been negritos and caboclas of note who have occupied positions of prominence and recognition.
Then why the obvious disparity in standard of living, occupation of prominent positions, education, etc., between light-skinned and dark-skinned Brazilians? Well, Mr. Fitzpatrick, I'm sure you'll agree with me that the large population of African descent in Brazil is pretty much responsible for the Dionysian nature of Brazilians. It is obvious that this Dionysian side of Brazilthe predominantly "black" side of Brazilis in noticeable contrast to the Apollonian side of Brazilthe "white" side of Brazilmost pronounced in those Brazilians of German and Japanese descent.
Surely you will recognize, Mr. Fitzpatrick, that a Dionysian nature, attractive as it is, is not as conducive to producing wealth and economic growth as is an Apollonian nature, dour as it may be. The prerequisites of First World status are basically: a population willing to assume hard work, be provident, employ rigorous education, be honest and diligent and so on.
Look at the Japanese in Brazil, who arrived as farmers and whose progeny are now doctors and lawyers and basically the most successful immigrant community in Brazil. They didn't become like this because they were lucky, because they received preferential treatment or anything like that. They were successful because they're Japanese, that is to say, they are Apollonian, they possess all those aforementioned characteristics for attaining First World status. Sure, Apollonianism is boring, but it works.
Mr. Fitzpatrick, until quite recently I used to think that the reason for the disparity in standard of living between "blacks" and "whites" in the United States was because of the well-known discrimination the "blacks" have suffered at the hands of the "whites". But then I thought of other people who have been thoroughly discriminated against and yet have nevertheless been outstanding successes. I am originally from Uganda, East Africa.
Before I was born we had a community of Indians living there who were expelled by the infamous Idi Amin and were accepted by Britain, as I'm sure you'd be aware of, being a Briton. I live in Australia now, where there is little discrimination, but I lived in England for almost five years before coming here, and I know how badly the English treat those of Indian or Pakistani descent (I'm not sure what the Scots are like). Despite this, these "Asians" (as they are known in England) have been an outstanding success, many of whom came from Uganda and who therefore had to start off from scratch.
In Kenya, where I also lived, there are plenty of Indians there, and they are universally successful, i.e., middle-class. Sure, they started off at an advantage, since the British brought them in to occupy the middle class, but they've managed to maintain their position since then. I remember in school in Kenya that the Indians were always straight-A students. The same thing can be seen with the Chinese in Southeast Asia. In these places they've always been a minority and been discriminated against, and yet they have consistently been successful.
Here in Australia we have many Chinese immigrants. Medicine in Australia (as I guess in all the world) is about the hardest thing to get into in university. Sixty percent of medicine students in Australian universities are Chinese. I need not say anything about the Jews, who are particularly renowned for succeeding against the odds.
All this has to do with the culture of these respective groups. The so-called African-Americans are disproportionately responsible for shaping the popular culture of the United Statesand from there the worldbecause of their culture. And this is the same in Brazil. Those of African descent in Brazil predominate in music and culture, which is why Bahia is the cultural heart of Brazil.
The reason why those of African descent in the Americas are preponderant in music and popular culture is the same reason why they are not preponderant in business and academia. They are Dionysian people and not Apollonian people. In contrast, Brazilians of Japanese and German descent are under-represented in music and popular culture and are over-represented in the richer population of Brazil precisely because of their Apollonian nature.
The last few centuries have been marred by the fallacy of biological determinism, largely the result of a Darwinian cosmology, seeing its highest expression in Hitler's Third Reich. The recognition that this is all bunk has understandably led most people to go to the other extreme in explaining reasons for people's wealth and poverty, removing personal (or group) responsibility from the picture and instead substituting discrimination, a harsh environment, lack of natural resources etc., in its place.
But what should be recognized is that the reason for the wealth and poverty of people and societies is largely due to the Weltanschauung of that people. People with the attitudes and worldview of the Japanese, for example, will undoubtedly succeed academically and economically, as they have shown in Brazil and indeed in Japan itself, but obviously not succeed in the areas requiring ebullience and a Dionysian joie de vivre, such as popular music and popular culture.
Drop those Ugandan Indians in the arid northeast of Brazil, for example, and within a decade they will certainly have made something of the place. A superior race? No. Just the right work ethic. Would I expect them to predominate in music and popular culture? Unless they mix with the Africans, no. They will remain rich but daggy.
So, Mr. Fitzpatrick, the disparity in wealth and standard of living between dark-skinned and light-skinned Brazilians is not the result of racial discrimination or anything like that, but rather culture and Weltanschauung. History is replete with people who have been thoroughly discriminated against but have nevertheless succeeded massively, the Jews being the most famous example. But it is obvious from Brazil's 500-year history that race is essentially a meaningless concept in that country, merely a paradigm that has been recurringly shoved down their throats by well meaning but misunderstanding race-obsessed Germanic foreigners.
People who discriminate racially just do not mix with those against whom they discriminate. They just don't. If they did, then they would be working at cross purposes. You don't Aryanize a population by de-Aryanizing iteven if that is what you say you are doing. Look at the United States, Germany, Japan. Now those are the countries where there is and has been racial discrimination. If it walks like a duck, Mr. Fitzpatrick, if it quacks like a duckthen it is a duck. But if it walks like a jaguar, roars like a jaguarthen please don't call it a duck, Mr. Fitzpatrick!
If you have time, read some of American economist Thomas Sowell's books, which I understand basically explain what I've said more fully.F. G.
Australia, Via Internet
The author responds:
Thanks for taking the time to write. It is always good to hear from readers. I was struck by the fact that you are of Indian origin because I have heard exactly the same argument before from an Indian with a similar experience to yours. Another person of Indian descent, whom I admire greatly, the writer V. S. Naipaul, has expressed similar views. In all three cases, by force of circumstance you people of Indian descent ended up living alongside Africans or people of African descent and, obviously, did not like it.
I suspect your distaste for the blacks was reciprocated, which is why politics in places like Trinidad and Guyana are racially based. By being stand-offish for cultural or religious reasons the people of Indian descent failed to mix with other communities. To take one example, how many marriages have there been between people of Indian descent and blacks? Pitifully few, I bet. Yet how many men of Indian descent have had affairs with black women and even produced children? I don't have figures but there have been lots.
What happened to these mixed race offspring? Did they become part of what you call the "Apollonian" culture or did they become "Dionysians"? I imagine the Indian community wanted nothing to do with them. I ask this question because I know this is a particularly sore point among Africans who complain that Indians feel superior to them. I remember reading a couple of years ago that some Indian Moslems in England complained when a soap opera featured a romance between a West Indian man and an Indian girl, as though this was the worse thing in the world. Should whites have made a similar protest they would have been accused of being racists and bigots.
Your attempts to simplify this issue into a comparison between those with a "Dionysian" and those with an "Apollonian" nature is a result of your own Indian cultural background. The caste system in India is even worse than the apartheid system, which existed in South Africa, and you (like Naipaul and the other person I mention) are reflecting this system of segregation. Unfortunately, it makes you sound like arrogant, snooty Brahmins. In fact, in many ways your views are similar to the English memsahibs who looked down on the Indians during the time of the British Raj in India.
I think some of the points you make are valid but you have not made a convincing case. It would make more sense if you either said nothing about this issue because you obviously do not think it is important, or were to give it greater analysis and more thought.
One factual point. Where do you get the idea that the Japanese are the most successful immigrant group in Brazil? Do you have any figures to back this up? They have done well in some professions, but a Brazilian of Japanese descent is as likely to be a taxi driver or a salesgirl as any other Brazilian. Visit the vegetable market in São Paulo and you will see that most of the peasant farmers selling onions and carrots for a few centavos are of Japanese descent. Japanese are also often found frying savory snacks in street markets where they spend all day bent over pans of reeking oil to earn a few Reais.
If they have done so well, how do you explain the fact that about a quarter of a million Brazilians of Japanese descent work in Japan doing the menial jobs, which the natives won't touch? Probably the most successful immigrant group are the Arabs _ Lebanese and Syrians _ who, like the Indians are pretty shrewd businessmen, but unlike the Indians, have mixed freely and become true Brazilians.
Finally, "Drop those Ugandan Indians in the arid northeast of Brazil, for example, and within a decade they will certainly have made something of the place. A superior race? No. Just a the right work ethic," you say. This is wishful thinking. Your Ugandan Asians would do nothing to develop the place. They would do what they have done in Africa and opened a little shop _ a duka _ where they would sit on their backsides all day long selling basic goods or lending money to the locals.
They would enrich themselves but not the local economy. If it is so simple. then why have the Indians not come here? It is interesting to note the lack here of the Indian communities, which have flourished in the Caribbean and Guyana. If they came here I bet that within a generation they would have become as integrated as all the other ethnic groups have. Maybe they would have become (dare I say it) "Dionysian".
The Reader Responds to Author
Thanks for your prompt reply. I am not Indian, and I'm not sure where you got this idea from. I'm a real African, a negrito, with tightly curly hair and the whole shebang.
My reason for mentioning those Ugandan Indians was not to demonstrate how much they miscegenate (they don't demonstrate a readiness to do this in Africa and the West Indies) but how hard they work. The Ugandan Indians were kicked out of Uganda, arriving in England with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Surely you won't deny that they have ended up successful. Sure, the Indians in Africa tend to open up shop, as you say, and sit on their butts all day, but they consolidate and have their kids educated. As I said in my first e-mail, when in Kenya the Indian kids were straight-A students, always. My own particular ethnic group is well known for doing well academically (though this was never the case with me) but the African Indians are extremely consistent in this area.
The whole point of my e-mail was to show that the reason why they Africans in Brazil are under-represented in academia, politics and business is simply because they don't want to succeed in these areas, they don't want to do the necessary work. If it was because of discrimination, then the Japanese wouldn't have succeeded in these areas (It is proverbial that the Japanese did well in Brazil and are almost wholly middle class; one reads this everywhere. Naturally, peasants selling stuff in the market are to be found in wealthy Japan as well; this does not detract from their famous work ethic). And those Brazilian Japanese who go to Japan to do menial work are professionals who do it because menial work pays better in Japan than professional work does in Brazil.
If the Africans are discriminated against in Brazil, should we then assume that the light-skinned Brazilians are discriminated against in the area of music since this area is dominated by dark-skinned Brazilians? Should there be affirmative action for the music industry? Of course not! Dark-skinned people dominate in music because of their Dionysian nature, their African heritage, not because light-skinned people are discriminated against.
Please don't force this America paradigm of obsession with race on Brazil.
Hey John Fitzpatrick! It's amazing to me how insightfulgoddamnfunny you are! I loved your latest article in Brazzil "Catching Up on the Gossip" - www.brazzil.com/p138feb03.htm. I'm American and I used to live in Brazil. It's near impossible to find political commentary about Brazil in English. I'm glad you do it!Bob Grow
San Francisco, California
In Need of Change
Dear John Fitzpatrick, I'm 15 years old. I've been living in the U.S. for seven years now. I really enjoyed reading about your thoughts on our government. ("I Will Miss You, Fernando" - http://www.brazzil.com/p106jan03.htm) Yes, Brazilians are laidback, and most of the time scared to make big changes because they are happy with the way things are. I love my country, however, I realize that Brazilians need to think differently about things. We need to start having responsibilities for our actions, and have a better attitude about changing the way things run every day. Brazil has everything to be economically stable. It's a beautiful country, it's my country. It's time to do something about it. Of course, I know things are not going to change overnight. It's just a shame to see people wasting time while they can make a difference.Iara Valaci
Mr. Fitzpatrick, it's not true that there's no Portuguese equivalent of the commonwealth ("The Samba and the Fado" - www.brazzil.com/p132feb03.htm). There exists a community of Portuguese speaking countries that's called "Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa". All the eight Portuguese-speaking countries belong to this association. The group meets regularly. This year it was proposed that common citizenship be granted to all members of the block, similarly to what happens between Brazil and Portugal, where a Portuguese citizen can have all the rights of a native of Brazil if he or she lived more than one year in the country. I've been reading your articles for a while and with all respect it seems that you're getting many things wrong.Leonardo Galvão Cavalcanti
Cut the BS
Hi, John, I read your new article "Catching up on the Gossip" www.brazzil.com/p138feb03.htm - and couldn't stop wondering what exactly your point, your main goal was. The comparison with Russia under "Brazilianstropical Russian? RussiansSiberian Brazilians?" was pretty smart, but the rest of the article was kind of "enchendo linguiça", if you know what I mean. Usually, I like your articles because they touch some controversial and important topics of our culture, political and social issues. This time however you didn't say anything new. What you tried to show happens in every country all over the world. It is not just a Brazilian issue. It looks as if you want to have some kind of permanent section in the Brazzil magazine and needed to write somethingRoberto
I'm Henrietta R. Hudson, who is a Cherokee Indian from the U.S.. I'm shocked and saddened over what has taken place in Brazil over the past few weeks. I feel sad at the rape and murder of the Indigenous People of Brazil because the keep their culture and their ties to the land.
Those that are involved in the murder of Indian men, women and children should be charged with murder. And prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I can't understand why Brazilian people, with its many colors and shades, should have a deep hate against the Original People of the Americas. Some Brazilian and I imagine, Portuguese people have some Indian in them.
Hatred will only kill your soul.Henrietta Hudson
It's Black or White
I'm a black male who lives in the United States. After reading information regarding racial difference in Brazil I wanted to inform you of the absolute identifying method in defining one's race. Allow me to describe myself. I have light brown skin and can trace my racial heritage to the 18th century. This century information indicates two decades during the 18th century that my ancestors (mulatto female slaves) gave birth from two white males. (possibly slave owners).
This information doesn't allow me to be observed as a mulatto, but only as a black male. In the United States, whites view races only in two categories: black or white. Regardless, of the color of one's skin pigmentation. Please submit your views about my comments. For your information I'm a 50 year old college educated black male.Loyd Daniel Ramsey Jr.
A Call to Reason
Mr. Madarasz, I read with interest your article "A Call to Peace" - www.brazzil.com/p113jan03.htm - as published in Brazzil magazine. I am an American, and I too have a Brazilian wife. Since meeting her I have become fascinated with all things Brazilian and am happy to say that I will be making my first trip to Brazil in a couple of weeks. I suppose I am to a degree like most Americanshead in the sand, worrying only about my own little world, without much knowledge or concern for the outside world.
I believe, however, that my new interest in Brazil has opened my eyes to the world around us (the U.S.). I began searching for news from and of Brazil, and to my displeasure, succeeded in finding close to nothing. It still amazes me that the only knowledge most Americans are exposed to regarding such a large and important country involves either Carnaval or the Amazon (I can't tell you how many times someone has referred to the Spanish language when they found out my wife was from Brazil).
Certainly it is disheartening how narrow the view of the world is that we receive from the media here. I had hoped to read more about the collective view of the Brazilian people on the situation with the U.S. and Iraq, but came away with the feeling that I was hearing only the views of yourself. Perhaps it is difficult to summarize views of hundreds of millions of people, much like it is here in the U.S.
I will tell you that support here for military action at this point is far from universal. There are discussions everywhere about the situation, and as you may have read, polls conducted here recently have shown a drop in President Bush's approval rating, as well as a majority opposed to military action at the present time. Many of us are wondering why, as Iraq appears to be cooperating with U.N. inspectors and being found with no "smoking guns", the president only continues to escalate the war rhetoric.
The administration seems ready and determined to use military force, regardless of the outcome of inspectionsas if they are just a formality. I don't agree with this position, nor, according to the polls, do the majority of Americans. However, I must play devil's advocate for a moment, because rarely are these issues black and white. While the U.S. seems intent on war at all costs, opponents seem intent on peace at all costs (it would seem you fall into this category, with an article titled "A Call to Peace").
Somewhere I would much like to see an article titled, "A Call to Reason". While I have acknowledged and agree with the problem in the stance taken by the Bush administration, I cannot understand the belief that many seem to have that force is never the answer. If you want to talk of peace, don't forget about Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Remember the well-known atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein against certain classes of his own people.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the U.S. and U.N. respondedand there seemed very little opposition to this use of military force. When the Iraqis were defeated, they signed this piece of paper called a treaty. That treaty required of them certain things. They have since violated that treaty on several occasions. My question is this: Supposing the weapons inspectors do find "the smoking gun" that Iraq has refused to acknowledge exists (and that was supposed to have been destroyed long ago), then what?
Iraq has shown the ability to stall and maneuver in these situations. What if they expel the inspectors again at some point, and continue as they have? What good is signing a treaty if there is no willingness to back it up with force? Germany and others have indicated that they will not be willing to endorse military action no matter what happens. How would they have the treaty enforced, then?
To ask this another way, how do you punish a murderer? Do you talk to him and hope that he changes his ways? And if that doesn't work, then what? Most societies deal with someone who will not stop killing others with force. Granted, this is a microcosm of a much more complex situation. My frustration is that I never see these issues addressed in the writings or speeches of aggression opponents such as yourself.
You bring forth very valid issues regarding the problem, and even reasons for the problem, but never address the solution. You simply want to ask Collin Powell not to attackas if that addresses the situation in Iraq effectively. I would like to feel that there are others out there who can view the situation with some sense of logic and reasonand I haven't seen it from either side.
Alas, all this discussion will probably be for not. For as I am drinking a caipirinha and butchering the samba, I fully expect President Bush to prematurely unleash the full force of the U.S. military on Iraq before we ever have definitive answers from the inspectors. RegardsDan Clark
The Author Responds do Dan Clark, Ex-pats and Others
Greetings Dan Clark,
Thanks for your comment. Unlike many of the letters sent to Brazzil by Brazilian ex-pats, you show a true openness of mind and inquisitiveness about the perspectives of others.
As for the Brazilian ex-pats who fill the Letters pages of Brazzil often with hysterical diatribe, and most often left unsigned (the lowliest form of public protest), they would do well to try preventing the immigrant's dilemma from turning into a complex.
Most landed- and first-generation immigrants end up espousing more conservative views regarding their native country than do local residents themselves. That type of evolution tends to multiply and intensify when nationals emigrate to Canada or the U.S..
As is so often the case with emigrants employed in professional sectors—finance should be singled out here—their views become party only to banks and the U.S. Treasury. In their own language, they can perhaps understand this as meaning that they've missed the boat and have chosen far-right political economic principles over the well-being of the people they left behind back home. They should bear that in mind when dismissing progressive economic analysis with a flurry of ad hominem insults.
That said, I have a number of comments to make about your own letter.
I'm not seeking excuses in pointing out that Rodney Melo, editor of Brazzil, chose the title "A Call for Peace", which I agree with for all intents and purposes. The title "Secular Steps in Preparing a War" is what rather unimaginatively I gave to both the report and paper. The objective to the paper is to show how, given the factual record of American-Iraqi relations, peace is the only acceptable solution to change.
I'm aware of the anti-war movement growing in the States and Canada. In fact, I participated in a demonstration in Montreal last weekend. Tens of thousands of Canadians demonstrated throughout the country. In the U.S., Bush's approval ratings seem to be dropping finally. Any president accusing the need to deal with America's dwindling social wealth as "class warfare" is un-American indeed.
We'll have to see what effect the State of the Union address has, and what Americans themselves will do as their executive draws them into another war.
Regarding the "no solutions" problem, specific in your opinion to pacifists like myself it would seem: Perhaps you need not be reminded, but I'll do so in any case. That Iraq has "weapons of mass destruction" now at its disposal is an assumption on your behalf, or a pure regurgitation of what the corporate media keeps pumping.
Either way, given that it's only an assumption, with next to no evidence in real terms to support the claim, it is furthermore even less of a problem. If it's not a problem, it stands to reason that there can be no solution.
Saddam Hussein is not a danger to the world. He is barely one to the region. At one point, between the end of the war against Iran and its destruction by the allied armies, Iraq did have superior military capabilities. It had them because the Western powers, and the U.S. especially, armed it to the teeth in the hope of reversing the course of the Iranian revolution.
The Iranian revolution did have a potential to spread, less through military means than through revolutionary ones. The U.S. opted for "containment" instead, thereby sponsoring Iraq and provoking the loss of over a million lives in an eight-year long war.
Saddam Hussein, however, is no angel. He may be a "murderer", who has gased members of his own nation, i.e. the Kurdish people, which is in fact no exception to power politics _ gas, biological measle and small pox warfare, or depleted uranium have all been used elsewhere, if you catch my drift.
What was the American civil war all about, if not the utter destruction of the Southern states from the moment they declared independence from the Union? Abolishing slavery was the moral question, but the economic one was not disconnected, proving that the Union's ambitions lay far less in the "good".
Since then, the U.S. administration has dealt with all types of ethnic groups with less than admirable means. Granted, rarely were these groups, peoples and nations within the U.S.. Some where though, or would become such after the slaughter. As for "murderous" leaders, how would you characterize George W. Bush and his capital punishment industry in Texas? Or the reckless bombing of civilians in Afghanistan? Or his unwavering support of Ariel Sharon? I would think that American leaders, without naming their Israeli partners, have a considerable amount of blood on their hands as well.
No one would cry if Saddam Hussein were to leave power. But according to the UN Charter on the sovereignty of nations, this is up to the Iraqi people to decide. However, the Iraqis have been weakened almost beyond repair by twelve years of economic and industrial sanctions.
Were the Oil-for-Food program a failure, as many senior UN servants claim and have resigned over, then we would have expected successive American ambassadors and secretaries of state to ditch the program. As they didn't, it seems obvious that it was only an expedient for keeping the embargo in place until a more favorable day for the U.S. to invade Iraq, redraw its borders and take possession of its oil supply.
I object to your claim that the views expressed in my article refer only to my opinion. The case around Jose Bustani, the historical differences between British and American imperial acts of colonizing commercially interesting lands, and the very existence of a right-wing journalist named Thomas Friedman are all facts, and have produced reactions in the population at large.
By opposing the use of force against Iraq, by assuming my pacifism, I nonetheless do believe that a fight is required for internal social change. The U.S. has become the richest country with the widest gap between rich and poor. This is a framework just shouting for change, in regard of which pacifism may prove to be a limited instrument, though it did work for the movements led by Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
The responsibility that "pacifists" want to impart onto their government is that the unlawful murder of others in imperial-commercial wars sows the seeds of reprisals, terrorist or other. We are far from seeing the time when the American administration will have been cleansed from its proxy responsibility in the 9/11 attacks. Yet we stand on the very day when we can do our utmost as citizens to prevent such acts from recurring.
As for the grounds of the "treaty" you so invest with moral worth, I'm afraid that ridding oneself of double standards is a necessary starting point for good international relations. Apart from the fact that Saddam Hussein was one of the USA's clients when George Bush Sr. was head of the CIA (now let's talk about these issues rarely being black and white, that agency has a full time job to at least blur them), the USA does not stand the moral high ground here. It's merely acting like the Empire it is.
And in geopolitical terms we're just living a boring old epic of the Empire crushing the states it does not like especially and foremost owing to the great wealth enhancement to be gained in doing so. Still, I believe in the force of morality and accountability and responsible government.
According to that logic, the aggressor is the culprit _ especially when there's precedence, and precedence there is. I urge you to go beyond the paltry historical examples you cite.
As for your search for "another side" who or which "can view the situation with some sense of logic and reason", I think I've explained and argued the situation adequately, both here and in my paper. You know, there is such a mechanism in our thinking patterns known as denial. This is what occurs when the facts lie in front of our faces and yet we find something to be missing.
And we yearn, and we search, and we grovel for that missing element as if through it and it alone we could finally be able to see the figure in the carpet.
The thing is when that happens it's sure sign that the problem ends up being how we ourselves are a part of it, and facing that fact is the hardest one of all. In fact, it's the problem itself. I prefer a right-wing capitalist commie hater any day (so long as he's not armed, remember I'm Canadian) to someone in denial. Logic and reason are the tools to be used to dispel denial. They are not the Holy Grail!
I can't take reading you bad mouthing the country that you live in anymore. This is absurd already. Every month you just go off on the U.S.! What's your problem?! Your magazine USED to be cute, and interesting. Now it's like you are trying to take your aggressions out on the U.S.! Haven't we suffered enough from Sept. 11th? After all we've been through how do you have the nerve to sit around and criticize every move we make?
Don't get me started, you'll ruin my day, like you always do when I get done reading your magazine. I think I'll go to Brazil and start up a magazine there, and just complain about the country in every edition. I wonder what the locals would do to me. I probably would not be around to tell the story. But yet it's OK to pull that BS here? I don't think so.Cynthia
This is an answer to a couple of letters published in your January 2003 issue. If the articles printed in Brazzil are so offensive to NORTH America (don't forget that Brazil is also America, I don't know why you call yourselves "Americans") why is that over 55 percent of the access to the Brazzil site has its origin in the U.S.? You might answer that the "stupid Brazilians" who live in the U.S. are the ones accessing this website. If that's so, why are you here?
I am talking to the "Americans" who have nothing else to do, but to read the "offensive" articles and send stupid comments back. Go work and make millions if that's all you can think of... Learn about your own country and what it has been really doing to underdeveloped countries, before talking about others, because if you think that the government in Brazil controls the people you're not paying any attention to your own country!
Brazil has MANY problems, like your country, like Germany, Italy and so on. Our problems may be bigger than yours, but at least we are humble, something that you will never be! You don't even accept that there are people who don't like what your country does! And before complaining about my English, think of how many foreign languages can you write and speak, so that you can make yourself understood. Wait, I forgot that you may know "some" French...Nina Achtung
Brazil, Via Internet
Lost in America
Mr. Amaral, thank you for your article "We Need the Bomb - Part II" - www.brazzil.com/p125feb03.htm. As a U.S. citizen please know that I find the first use of nuclear weapons by any country abhorrent (although I'm not a pacifist I really find any form of violence is abhorrent). I understand the level of fear that motivates people here but it just seems to lead to counterproductive actions.
I'm quite certain that any war launched in Iraq will not benefit our economy because unemployment will remain high due to its probable short duration. I still hold mixed views of the Iraq war. On the one hand I don't want the U.S. to use preemptive warfare (the scale of human tragedy that will be unleashed in Iraq during total war makes me shudder).
On the other hand if we could have stuck Bin Laden and his bunch prior to September 11th that probably would have prevented the tragic events of that day. I only hope that we're not on the verge of something similar to August 1914. As some one who grew up during the 70s and 80s I prayed that I'd never see the nuclear genie let out of its bottle, but it appears that we're at the dawn of a new age. It's very sad. Here to hoping for better days and once again thanks for your article.Edward
Fanatics and the Bomb
I myself don't fear most countries having nuclear weapons. One school of thought is that we are nearing a time when the nation state might become irrelevant. Back in August 1914 we saw the beginning of the end of the monarchies of Europe and the rise of the nation states. Most of the 20th century was really a battle between which form of nation state would dominate (capitalism appeared to outlast fascism and communism).
September 11, 2001, might be the event that marks the end of the dominance of the nation state and the rise of both the market state (the multinationals) and the virtual states (terrorist organizations or various forms of mafias and drug cartels).
In our country it seems that the state can no longer be counted on to provide all the services needed by the people. Here if you don't have a good job with health insurance the health care system can bankrupt you. As people throughout the world feel they no longer have a stake in their society the more disaffected of them might be more likely to join some form of virtual state.
The next century will witness a struggle between these three types of states. The stakes with nuclear power are very high. Whether we're talking nuclear weapons or power, an accident could be catastrophic. I don't agree in principle with your statement that a group of terrorists would not be foolish enough to use nuclear weapons. If a terrorist organization is politically motivated they would be very unlikely to use a nuclear bomb.
The only thing that you really can't predict is what a religiously based organization might do. I seem to remember the Cult of the Divine Truth in Japan used sarin gas to attack the Tokyo subway. I believe the will to inflict large amounts of casualties was there, the only thing lacking was the technical expertise. Would they have used nuclear weapons? We'll never really know.
Would a David Koresh, Bin Laden or a McVeigh use nuclear weapons? Probably if their back was against the wall. Ultimately the problem becomes the exponential growth of technology. These advances could potentially put more powerful technologies into the hands of the mentally unbalanced. I wish I could think of the name of the paper but its premise was that mankind is in more danger from the rapid uncontrolled growth of technology than we were at the height of the cold war. It was written by the former head of Sun Microsystems and was pretty compelling (in case you were thinking I'm a techno phobic crank). If I can find it I'll forward the link to you. Keep writing. I always look forward to your articles.Edward Hand
Oh please, towards what end do you intentionally and almost dishonestly ignore the obvious i.e.
A. The U.S. does have a super-sovereignty status
B. It has been conferred upon the U.S. for a few reasons; these are: The U.S. has a super technological status, the U.S. has a super military status, the U.S. has a super economic status, the U.S. has a super stability status, the U.S. has a super financial status. Finally, the U.S. has a super target status.
It is by virtue of its unique position, target number 1 for terrorists and some of the holders of atomic technology. Of course, it would be very careful about the spread of that technology to hostile countries. Do you expect Brazil to make any kind of encroachment on any one of these super statuses held by America in your lifetime? Get real!
History has NEVER been different on that scoregoing back thousands of years, and NEVER will be different. Open your eyes, be objective and stop writing childish articles. International politics is the art of the possiblenot the art of the ridiculous.Dan Babush
Solidarity and Memory
This is just to say thank you for broadcasting the injustices which are taking place against the indigenous people of Brazil. I met chief Marcos when he was over here in Newcastle, United Kingdom just over 2 years ago. I also visited his community at Taquara, Mato Grosso do Sul three months before they were evicted in 2001.
I work at a College in Sunderland and have established a school link with the indigenous community at Cerro Marangatunot far from Taquara. I have launched a letter campaign and information website on the issue and would be very grateful if you could pass it on to any one who may feel moved to send a letter to the authorities. Many thanks for your time ... the web page is www.geocities.com/pmulligan2001
In solidarity and best wishesPeter Mulligan
Newcastle, United Kingdom
I just read your article from the summer of 2000 on topless sunbathing in Rio. I am on my way down there in a month or so and I was curious if topless sunbathing is illegal at this point or not. I will be on Ipanema beach with my wife.Mark
Memories and Gems
Dear Mr. Wagner, I have read with pleasure your articles ("Paradise Guardians" and "Good to the Last Grain"). They will certainly be appreciated by many readers. My congratulations. The Northeast and interior of Brazil are fascinating regions with impressive natural phenomena and a rich socio-cultural environment. It was a pleasure to read the details of (your) adventurous trip, which has reminded me of the time I used to travel looking for gemstones.Hans Stern
Isaac, Call Home
I have been frantic, I haven't heard from my son Isaac Ashton since he left with two friends, mid-January. He was presenting at the World Forum on international coops. So if all possible could you see if you can contact him and tell him to call home. Thank you so much and congratulations on the success of the forum.Elizabeth Ashton
Be My Penpal
Peace be with you. My name is Mai Salah el-din Ashour. I'm 18 years old. My problem is I can't find any friends in my homeland or abroad. I wish you recommend for me a girlfriend and a boyfriend in my same age. I'm an Egyptian girl. I'm a student in a center of computer applied systems, but I have no computer in my home.
I also love Brazilian people, samba music, football, writing my ideas and my inner feelings, reading romance stories. I also love Roberto Carlos a lot. Please, please, care about my message because you are the last hope to me.
My home address: Arab Republic of Egypt, Cairo, Dav el Salam - Malaa - 6ABD El Latif Omara St (in front of educational complex) - My phone number 002-02-7167588.Mai Salah el-din Ashour
Damn the Human Race
Dear Phillip, I read your "Good to the Last Grain" article - www.brazzil.com/p116feb03.htm - and as always it contains a lot of good information. As to the coffee plantation, unfortunately even governments don't foster good practices as the one that you described. They and people in general are only concerned about productivity and earnings. There are no worries related to the quality and the healthiness of the food we use. Another bad example are those genetically modified grains. They are terrible for our health and keep being used across the world. Too bad for the human race! Take care!Ricardo H.
LAPD to the Rescue
I think the situation in Brazil sucks for everyone. I only hope that someone will eventually start doing something. Hell, I live in L.A. and I think our police suck, but this because they are doing their job too well. They will go after known criminals illegally, but at least they are going after them to make our streets better. It is a total opposite in Brazil. Maybe they should ask L.A.P.D. for some help.Mark Spears
Dear Bruce Gilman, just wanted to thank you for the article on Suba's work and life. Bought Confessions over a year ago and just fell in love with his music. Kind regards,Kirill Matveev
Cheering for Lula
I live in Canada and the Brazilian community here is very happy with Brazilians' choice for the President, Lula da Silva. I hope he does a good job. Also I hope to receive Brazzil magazine here in Canada. Thank you!Odette Patrocinio
Just read "Our Future Is Now" and want to affirm that you received my check to get a paper copy. Brazzil rocks and not only do I want to read future copies, but want to support it. Thanx,Jim Vander Veer
Good R Us
Please don't hate all U.S. citizens because of those who are greedy; they are but a few, although money is a power trip and can corrupt. Like in Brazil most of the common people in the U.S. are of good heart. All too often the bad creates more attention than all the good of the people. I do a radio program on nature and our beautiful outdoors, and demand clean air and water for all peoples, rich or poor.
I pay for air time mostly out of my own pocket. In America I can still speak the truth. If the truth hurts then so be it! The people of Brazil have three of the most spectacular places on earth: the Amazon rainforest and river, the Pantanal, and the Atlantic Coastal Reserve.
It is interesting to note that recent Mexican citizens illegally working in the U.S. are now actually outperforming U.S. workers. Many Americans won't work for such low wagesJohn E. DiOrio
Wvlt-fm 92.1 - New Jersey
Amazing music, incredible musicianship! Easily the best rhythmical music I ever heard without using drums or percussion. I love Brazilian/Latin flavored sounds, and all of these songs burn with passion!Larry Marc-Aurele
A Knife and a Tale
At my age, grandchildren are choosing various items they desire to acquire. One grandson is particularly interested in a silver knife and scabbard which was presented to me in Brazil. Apparently the gift is a Brazilian custom given appropriate circumstances. A major value associated with the gift was a related story which was part of the presentation.
I have forgotten the story. I believe that it involved friendship. Can you help? I was a design consultant to an appliance company, which manufactured room air conditioners. I know it was an Admiral licensee in the mid 1970's when I was there. It may have been called Springer Admiral. The plant was in southern Brazil somewhere south of San Paulo.
I think they also had a plant in Northern Brazil. The town may have been called Recife. The gift was presented to me by Paulo Valino (sp). Cow and cowboy scenes are embossed on the knife and scabbard. Thank you kindly for any effort on my behalf.Hayden Smith
Queridos amigos, já tive o prazer de ver o meu nome estampado nas dicas de shows da Bay Area, acompanhando as edições constatei que se trata de um ótimo veículo de informações para nós brasileiros e nada melhor do que fazer parte da família Brazzil fazendo uma assinatura da mesma. Obrigado.Big Dario
The Know-Nothing Mag
I read some articles from Brazzil Magazine and I didn't like the way the magazine does negative criticism to Brazil and I'm sure you guys don't know even a little about Brazil. Before talking bad things about other countries, look at your own country and try to analyze your own problems, which aren't few. Here are some true facts you could publish in your magazine:
Os dados a seguir são da Anthropos Consulting
1 _ O Brasil é o país que tem tido maior sucesso no combate à AIDS e outras doenças sexualmente transmissíveis, e vem sendo exemplo mundial.
2 _ O Brasil é o único país do hemisfério sul que está participando do Projeto Genoma.
3 _ Numa pesquisa envolvendo 50 cidades de diversos países, a cidade do Rio de Janeiro foi considerada a mais solidária.
4 _ Nas eleições de 2000, o sistema do Tribunal Regional Eleitoral (TRE) estava informatizado em todas as regiões do Brasil, fornecendo os resultados em menos de 24 horas depois do início das apurações. O modelo chamou a atenção de uma das maiores potências mundiais: Os Estados Unidos, onde a apuração dos votos teve que ser refeita várias vezes, atrasando o resultado e colocando em xeque a credibilidade do processo.
5 _ Mesmo sendo um país em desenvolvimento, os internautas brasileiros representam uma fatia de 40% do mercado da América Latina.
6 _ No Brasil temos 14 fábricas de veículos instaladas e outras 4 se instalando, enquanto alguns países vizinhos não possuem nenhuma.
7 _ Das crianças e adolescentes entre 7 e 14 anos, 97,3% estão
8 _ O mercado de telefones celulares do Brasil é o segundo do mundo, com 650 mil novas habilitações por mês.
9 _ Na telefonia fixa, nosso país ocupa a 5ª posição em número de
10 _ Das empresas brasileiras, 6.890 possuem certificado de qualidade IS0 9000, maior número entre os países em desenvolvimento. No México são apenas 300 empresas e na Argentina 265.
11 _ O Brasil é o segundo maior mercado mundial de jatos e helicópteros executivos.
Porque temos esse vício de só falar mal do nosso Brasil?
1 _ Porque não nos orgulhamos em dizer que nosso mercado editorial de livros é maior que o da Itália, com mais de 50 mil títulos a cada ano?
2 - Que temos o mais moderno sistema bancário do planeta ?
3 _ Que nossas agências publicitárias ganham os maiores e melhores
4 _ Porque não falamos que somos o país mais empreendedor do mundo e que mais de 70% dos brasileiros pobres e ricos, dedicam considerável parte de seu tempo em trabalhos voluntários?
5 _ Porque não dizemos que somos hoje a terceira maior democracia do mundo?
6 _ Que apesar das mazelas, o Congresso está punindo seus próprios membros, o que raramente ocorre em outros países ditos civilizados?
7 _ Porque não lembramos que o povo brasileiro é um povo hospitaleiro, que se esforça para falar a língua dos turistas, gesticula e não mede esforços para atendê-los bem?
8 _ Porque não nos orgulhamos de ser um povo que faz piada da própria desgraça e que enfrenta os desgostos sambando?
É Minha gente. O Brasil é um país abençoado de fato. Bendito este povo, que possui a magia de unir todas as raças, de todos os credos.
Bendito este povo, que sabe entender todos os sotaques, talvez porque sua verdadeira língua pátria não seja bem entendida.
Bendito este povo, que oferece todos os tipos de climas para contentar toda gente.
Bendita seja, nossa querida pátria chamada BRASIL !!!
... que 61% dos sites latino-americanos são brasileiros?
... que o preço da cesta básica aumentou 25%, contra 70% do índice de aumento de preços do Real para cá?
... que, das 500 maiores sociedades da América Latina, 300 são brasileiras, 80 são mexicanas, 60 são argentinas e 30 são chilenas?
... que o Brasil é reponsável por 30% do faturamento do setor de café np mundo, 20% da de soja, 8,5% do setor de frangos, 4,5% de calçados, 3,2% de aço e 2,9% de automóveis?
... que a EMBRAER é a quarta fabricante mundial de aviões comerciais?
... que, no contexto mundial, somos o quinto país em população, com 170 milhões?
... que 70% das exportações são de produtos manufaturados?
... que o Brasil é o segundo país na mundo com maior crescimento na Internet?
... que cerca de 22% da água doce dos rios do mundo estão concentrados na Amazônia?
... que o analfabetismo, entre jovens de 10 a 14 anos das regiões urbanas, é hoje inferior a 5%?
... que o Brasil é o país que tem tido maior sucesso no combate à Aids e de outras doenças sexualmente transmissíveis, e vem sendo exemplo mundial?
... que, mais de 1500 espécies diferentes de peixes nadam nas águas dos rios da Amazônia?
... que o número atual de consumidores, calculado em 43 milhões, aumentará para 65 milhões em 2005 e que somos o quinto maior mercado consumidor do mundo?
... que a produtividade industrial aumentou 67% de 1992 a 2000?
... que nossa população é jovem, pois 63% têm menos de 29 anos?
... que o Brasil tem 16% de pobres, e estima-se que, em 2005, diminua para 10%?
...que o Brasil é o terceiro fabricante mundial de aviões para vôos regionais e de treinamento?
...que o Brasil é o primeiro destino de capital japonês na América Latina?
...que no Brasil, existem 554 territórios indígens num total de 946.452 km (11,12% da superfície do país), isto é, três vezes o território italiano?
... que o Brasil é a oitava economia do mundo com um PIB de US$ 840 bilhões e que, em 20 anos, será a quarta potência econômica mundial, disputando o lugar com a França, Itália e Reino Unido?
... que somos o sétimo país do mundo em número de computadores e o maior mercado mundial de informática?
... que, em 2000, o volume total de investimento estrangeiro direto atingiu US$ 27 bilhões de dólares?
... que a maior central hidroelétrica do mundo é Itaipú?
... que o Brasil possui o décimo parque industrial do mundo?
... que a EMBRAER vende jatos e turbo-hélices a países do Primeiro Mundo, como os EUA, França, Itália, Suíça, Portugal, Espanha, Luxemburgo, Holanda, Polônia, Reino Unido, China e Suécia?
... que nosso mercado edital de livros é maior do que a Itália, com 50 mil títulos novos a cada ano?
...que o índice de analfabetismo vem diminuindo rapidamente, reduzindo-se de 18,3% em 1990 para 13,8% em 1998? E que, em 2001, 91% das crianças entre 10 e 14 anos estavam na escola?
... que nossas taxas de desemprego são inferiores às européias (Itália 12%) e situaram-se em 4,8% em dezembro de 2000?
...que o Brasil é o único país do Hemisfério Sul dentro do Projeto Genoma?
...que o Brasil é o maior país com área cultivável do mundo (22% dessa área) e que produziu 94 milhões de toneladas de grãos na safra 2000/2001 e que a atual safra supera 100 milhões?
...que somos os primeiros produtores mundiais de café, laranja e cana-de-açúcar; o segundo de mandioca, feijão, soja, carne bovina e de frando; e o terceiro em açúcar refinado e milho; o quarto de grãos e cacau; o sétimo em ovos e carne de porco; o oitavo de algodão e arroz? E que somos o segundo exportador mundial de frangos e o quarto em carne suína?
...que o Brasil é centro de excelência em setores como engenharia, aeronáutica, tecnologia de exploração de petróleo em águas profundas, desenvolvimento de satélites, enriquecimento de urânio, agricultura tropical e vacinas?
...que o crescimento da atividade científica brasileira entre 1995 e 1998 somente foi inferior ao da Coréia do Sul e que, entre 1981 e 1998, cresceu 365%, três vezes acima da média mundial (104%)?
...que o Brasil não é somente um país tropical, como muitos imaginam, mas que de São Paulo para o sul a média de temperatura anual é de 18ºC? E que neva em alguns estados do Sul?
...que a televisão brasileira foi a quarta do mundo a ir ao ar diariamente, depois dos EUA, Reino Unido e França?
...que o parque de transmissores da Rádio Nacional, em Brasília, é o quinto do mundo e o primeiro da América Latina?
...que o número de indígenas cresce duas vezes mais rápido do que a população em geral (3,2% contra 1,4%)?
Informações extraídas de KLA Consultoria and Luiz Marins, presidente da Anthropos ConsultingThiago Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
Reactions to "God and Satan in the Land of Carnaval," by Dário Borim Jr. www.brazzil.com/shofeb03.htm:
Parabéns! Li sua crónica e ri-me à grande. Fez-me lembrar as brincadeiras de Carnaval que também fazia na minha terra, São Miguel, Açores. O nosso grupo normalmente mascarava-se, todos em segredo, passeávamos pelas ruas de freguesia e faziámos muito alarido. Normalmente chegávamos a casa todos molhados, pois os espectadores não se esquivavam de nos lançar baldes de água à cabeça quando menos esperávamos. Quando chegava à casa, vestia-me de novo, saía de novo à rua e desta vez era eu a dar a molhada aos mascarados. Era tudo parte da brincadeira. Um abraço,
João Ferreira Jornalista
New Bedford, Massachusetts
Acho que a jornalista Vania Lúcia está apaixonada pelo seu texto. Ela quer publicá-lo mais próximo do Carnaval quando as aulas terão começado.
Thank you for the excerpt. I could relate a bit better to your tale because of visiting your home in the mid 1980's.
Gostei muito das crônicas [...]. Você tem uma grande capacidade de envolver as pessoas com suas "Histórias", parece que somos amigos há muito tempo [...], faz o leitor se sentir muito próximo, um clima de amizade entre o seu texto e o leitor.
San Antonio, TX
Gracias, caro Dario, lo he disfrutado mucho. Un gran abrazo,
Wow, that was great! I assume you did the translation yourself? I did not read it in Portuguese, but it was really beautiful in English. So evocative. Good luck and congratulations!