Other texts by Eliane Brum
Upon appearing in New York and opening the General Assembly of the United Nations, Jair Bolsonaro was featured in Brazilian and international news as an outcast from the world, who ate pizza standing on the sidewalk because he was not vaccinated. I am against this analysis. The ultra-rightist who governs Brazil has not embarrassed himself or the country. It seems to me just the opposite. Bolsonaro mocked democracy on the global stage, had his lies translated into multiple languages, and returned home hailed by his followers for his authenticity and courage to stand up to the part of the planet he despises.
When receiving an agent who flaunts the fact that he has not taken vaccines as a trophy, and that when the United States faces a worsening of the pandemic due to the delta variant, the shame is for Joe Biden’s United States and for Bill de Blasio’s New York . The shame is mainly from the UN. Bolsonaro confronts the fight against the pandemic with acts and facts and crosses the American border in a rut because the UN proved incapable of scratching the ground in front of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, who vehemently opposed the intention of barring those who were not vaccinated. Bolsonaro will also laugh for a long time at the feat of opening the assembly to the most symbolic pillar of world order after World War II by spreading outright lies. He applied a debauchery on a planetary scale at the UN.
It is useless to print a pathetic Bolsonaro in the news, the object of jokes and cartoons in the press. Bolsonaro entered the United States without a vaccine and this is the main fact. There is also little point in doing material and analysis proving that he lied about almost everything. His followers, as well as a portion of non-followers, consider everything the press says as fake news and he doesn’t even read, watch or listen to it. Part of the planet, and not just Brazil, believes that it can choose what is the truth if the lie suits it. It is not easy either, it is necessary to say, listen, watch and read sections of the press repeating things like “contrary to the expectations of the moderate wing of the government, Bolsonaro did not moderate his tone in his speech at the UN”. Seriously, there are still people to affirm expectations of the genre as if they believed it?
This is how elected dictators like Bolsonaro destroy democracy from within. If democratic instruments and the institutions that represent them are incapable of preventing someone like Bolsonaro from speaking without a vaccine, in person, at the UN, what are they for? Likewise, if all Brazilian institutions manage to produce are (more) speeches about how Bolsonaro shames the country, instead of using the democratic instruments provided for in the Constitution to prevent him from continuing to govern, then what are they for?
I would like to say that this nightmare happens because democracy and its institutions did not foresee creatures like Bolsonaro, but naivety would be unacceptable from any point of view, including the historical one. Bolsonaro is the product of the deformations of a democracy that has never reached the most destitute strata of the population and is the product of the cynicism of liberal capitalism. The scene with Boris Johnson is an example of this. Supposedly the British Prime Minister, a caricatured rightist, would have “pulled the ears” in Bolsonaro for not taking a vaccine, but it’s just a stage game. What matters is that a smiling BoJo shook the hand of a smiling Bolsonaro on the eve of the Glasgow Climate Summit, despite the Brazilian president’s taking the planet’s largest rainforest to the point of no return.
Bolsonaro is where he is because corporations and the governments that represent them still make money and have advantages with him in the presidency. Bolsonaro is where he is because a large part of Brazilian businessmen, as well as speculators, believe that they can still make more profit with him in power than outside of it. By showing the middle finger to protesters against Bolsonaro, Marcelo Queiroga affirmed the deepest truth of the UN General Assembly. And now the country’s health minister, who is close to 600,000 deaths from covid-19, rests in a luxury New York hotel while quarantining for, of course, having tested positive for the virus.
That is how democracy and its global pillars walk. And there are still those who are surprised that they die, forgetting that in order to die, you must first be alive.
Eliane Brum is a writer, reporter and documentary filmmaker. Author of eight books, including ‘Brasil, Construtor de Ruínas: a look at the country, from Lula to Bolsonaro’ (Archipelago). Site: elianebrum.com Email: email@example.com Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @brumelianebrum
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