Opinion – Cida Bento: The Brazil we want – Part 2

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In this period in which two centuries of the affirmation of independence of this country are completed and in which an election is also approaching that will define its course, it is worth reflecting on the absolutely antagonistic political projects that are now being presented.

A starting point can be questions raised by Professor Hélio Santos in an article included in the recently released book A Resistência Negra ao Projeto de Exclusão Racial: Brasil 200 anos (1822-2022), a collection of 34 articles by black and black intellectuals by himself. organized, in which I also participate, published by Jandaíra.

In the summary text of the collection, the professor emphasizes the need for the celebration of the bicentennial of independence to be accompanied by an honest self-criticism of the injustices accumulated against the majority of the Brazilian population and the necessary cure of the serious social consequences caused by the abolition of slavery that gave a republic in which one of the projects was the extermination —yes, that’s right — of the black population and its replacement by European immigrants.

With crystal clarity, Hélio shows us how the main legislation implemented by the rulers of this transition period had the explicit objective of repressing and isolating the recently freed black population, while guaranteeing good conditions for transport, reception and permanence to European immigrants who they would occupy the best (and often the worst) positions on the labor market. Time has passed –more than a century– but the general lines of this excluding project remain and it is its continuity or replacement that we are talking about here.

In a recent podcast interview @podpaxpastor and theologian Ed Renê brought a perspective on the drama we are experiencing focusing on respect for civilizational milestones.

Renê asks the interviewer what would happen if a black man accidentally fired a gun at an airport, as happened to a minister in the current government, without any consequences. He asks what would happen if it were proved that President Lula bought 51 properties in cash.

He asks how the former minister who led a herd of cattle to dismantle the organs for the control and protection of our forests received more votes than Marina Silva, recognized for defending the protection and care of the environment.

What Brazil is this?

In fact, we are talking about a model of civilization. When, in a secular country, the state seeks to impose the perspective of a single religion and believers of this religion believe they are authorized to depredate, destroy, burn terreiros, of religions of African origin, we are talking about a model of society that can be supported or not.

On the other hand, we are talking about civilizational milestones often brought by black women’s organizations, as a touchstone for the transformations that we have to make in Brazil, towards the well-being.

We are talking about a Brazil that rescues ethical-political postures that serve the population and a country that can respect the way of being, seeing and living in the world of different groups and peoples, their knowledge and practices, the way they resist a type of colonial/modern western capitalist domination, since it is from plurality that the broadening of the horizons of the whole society arises.

As Desmond Tutu highlighted, in the fight against Aphaarteid in South Africa, we must talk about UBUNTU as a democracy that builds a historic bridge between the past of a society full of conflicts, “incalculable suffering and injustice, and a future that recognizes human rights, peaceful coexistence and development opportunities for all”. On October 30th we will have the opportunity to change the course of our country. Let’s do it!

This column was written by Cida Bento and Flavio Carranza da Cojira (Commission of Journalists for Racial Equality)

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