Enough Already of Pretending Brazil Doesn’t Need a Revolution

Bus set on fire by organized crime in São Paulo, Brazil Enough already of all the cruelty. Of bus passengers burned alive, of young people killed, of assaults, kidnappings, massacres. And of the daily acts of violence that do not even make it into the news. Enough already of a reality that looks like a scene from a horror movie. Enough already of a society that remains shocked only for a few days – until Carnaval, the World Cup, the next scandal.

Enough already of the violence factory hidden in our social and economic model. Of the brutal inequality that divides our population into those included and those excluded, separated by a poorly disguised Nazi-type system of "apartition."

Enough already of promising to reduce the age at which youths are tried as adults and promising to adopt the death penalty, without assuming responsibility for the needed revolution in our social structure.

Enough already of our contribution to global warming. Also, enough already of the lie of saying that that problem can be solved without a profound reform of the development model.

Enough already of commemorating the enrollment of 95% of Brazilian children in school without asking what has become of the other 5% and when only a third of those enrolled will finish high school and only half of these with a minimally satisfactory quality of education.

Enough already of the lie of giving the name "schools" to the degraded buildings where we deposit our children for so few hours per day.

Enough already of our administrations forgetting their campaign promises, ignoring the most serious problems. Of a penal and judicial system that protects bandits – both street and white-collar criminals – who have access to expensive lawyers.

Enough already of a Congress divorced from the people who elected it, one forming voting blocs along party lines and not around ideas, proposals, actions. Enough already of the lie that democracy is merely the right to speak, even though nothing of relevance is said to confront the problems.

Enough already of the moralists calling for ethics in the politicians’ behavior while at the same time forgetting to demand ethics in setting policy priorities.

Enough already of an economy that grows little and in the wrong direction without respect for the ecology, creating neither employment nor sustainability, one that neither pulls us out of backwardness nor breaks the vicious circle of inequality that binds and shames us.

Enough already of the included rich people who blame the excluded poor for the disgrace of inefficiency, of criminality, of environmental destruction, of lack of education. As if in the past it were the slaves who were to blame for the lack of liberty.

Enough already of blaming the poor for the violence when they themselves are the majority of its victims. Enough already of seeking simplistic solutions that change nothing.

Enough already of the difficulty of rigorously punishing the brutal killers of a child who happened to be in the same car as his mother and those responsible for almost a million deaths by violence in the last 25 years.

Also, enough already of thinking that punishing those bandits is sufficient, as if others with the same degree of bestiality would not replace them. As if the problem were the violence itself and not what is causing it.

Enough already of seeking justice after the crimes have been committed and not seeking the peace that would stop the violence. Enough already of the individualistic, corporativist egotism that impedes the country from seeing itself as a whole, from looking to the future, from defining its course.

Enough already of the indifference and of the arguments attempting to conceal the true causes of the greatest of the crimes – the crime of egotism that divides our country and impedes the construction of our Nation.

Enough already of pretending that Brazil does not need a revolution or of fleeing from it, adopting small palliatives.

Also, enough already of articles.

Cristovam Buarque has a Ph.D. in economics. He is a PDT senator for the Federal District and was Governor of the Federal District (1995-98) and Minister of Education (2003-04). Last year he was a presidential candidate. You can visit his homepage – www.cristovam.com.br – and write to him at mensagem-cristovam@senado.gov.br

Translated from the Portuguese by Linda Jerome – LinJerome@cs.com.

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