A new Brazil

Época, October 27, 2001

Translated by Assunção Medeiros

The regime in this country changed and no one was warned of it

People who know things only through hearsay swear that communism is dead. But Mr. Antonio Negri and I, who studied the subject for decades and certainly cannot be accused of rehearsing our lines backstage, assure you that it is more alive than ever. Also, Mr. Fidel Castro, who is informed of all the subterraneous preparations, announces that soon we will have the spectacular rentrée of the bloody pantomime to which he dedicated his filthy life.

Two recent facts give reason to me and these illustrious gentlemen.

1. A judge in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, when asked to give back to its proprietors a farm invaded by MST, denied the right of reintegration of possession under the allegation that there was no proof of the “social function” of the property.

2. A notorious terrorist of the seventies, who never repented of his crimes, is rather proud of them and that, at best, admitted having some doubts on the convenience of repeating them today, was named Minister of Justice.

As to the first fact, five details give evidence of the spirit with which this was done. (1) The lack of “social function” did not have to be proven: the lack of evidence was enough as evidence of the lack. (2) This “proof” served to legitimize not a legal confiscation, done by the State, but rather the occupation of the property by a third party. (3) The judge recognized his decision was political. (4) The new owners were not required to prove, on their turn, the social usefulness of their property or of any other property taken by the MST, regarding which judges do not make any demands for production; to be recognized as legitimate property, it is enough that they be used for guerrilla training. (5) The sentence was maintained by the State Court of Justice and received quite a lot of praise from Mr. Dalmo Dallari, but no one would expect anything less from him.

As to the second fact, it occurred (1) in a country where the simple accusation of having tortured a communist is enough to exonerate from his functions on the spot, and without any need of evidence, any public servant of high, low or middle echelon; (2) at a moment when the international consensus proclaims the need to persecute and punish all the terrorists and their protectors.

The sense of the first event is clear: the right of property acquired by legal means depends on the proof of its   “social function”, but the right to property taken by force depends only of the political colors of the new proprietors. With no reimbursement, with no indemnification, any property can be immediately transferred to the first party that takes possession of it, on the only condition that he does so under a pretext politically agreeable to Their Excellencies  – Dallaris e tutti quanti.

A principle like that will be used for all real estate – rural or urban, residential, commercial or industrial –, except those that have propaganda value or strategic usefulness for the communist cause, the only social function that is demanded from a property of the MST.

The second event is also clear: (1) the crime of torture, even if not proven, and being imputed only to anticommunists, is an impediment to the exercise of the public function; but the terrorism practiced by communists, even when it is confessed, is not; (2) as it adopts this scale of values, Brazil aligns itself officially, barefacedly, with the countries that protect and legitimize the practice of terrorism. Nothing can attenuate or hide the sense of this option.

Whoever knows the history of the communist revolutions will recognize that, since last week, Brazil is no longer a capitalist democracy. It is a country in open transition to communism, where the declaration of one’s ideology is worth as a document of possession of real estate, and crimes of terrorism committed with the proper ideological motivation are curricular laurels for the exercise of a ministerial function. Few communist revolutions started in such an effective, direct way, without finding the least resistance. But how do you explain this to people that – not knowing anything about communism – believe themselves authorized to proclaim that it does not exist?

War of Religion?

Olavo de Carvalho
Época, October 20, 2001

For Bin Laden, the Koran was always a pretext

On September 24, Osama Bin Laden said that American forces were entering Afghanistan under the “flag of the Cross.” Two days later, he called George W. Bush the “leader of the unfaithful.” This should be enough to show that his allegation of “holy war” was never more than a smokescreen, an ideological disguise.

According to the Koran, no one can be Christian and unfaithful at the same time. Christians and Jews are clearly included in the Koranic category of “people of the Book” (ahl al-kitab), recognized as a type of Muslim avant la lettre. Their salvation is assured, in unequivocal terms in Sura V:69: “Those who believe [in the Koran], those who follow Jewish scripture, and the Christians – and those who believe in God and on Judgment Day – should fear nothing, for they will not be harmed.”

A conscious Muslim can say that the message received from God by the “people of the Book” is incomplete, that they don’t follow it correctly, but not that they’re “unfaithful” or “idolaters.”

In truth, Islam is accused of strict sectarianism but is the most ecumenical of religions: the succession of prophets, from Adam to Mohammed, includes and legitimizes all monotheistic religions conceived as historical peaks of a single revelation culminating in “Laylat-al-Qadr,” the “Night of Power,” when the archangel Gabriel began to dictate the verses of the Koran to Mohammed. “Unfaithful,” strictly speaking, applies only to atheists, polytheists, and monotheists who in bad faith extort the differences between their respective doctrines and the Koranic message to denigrate the Koran instead of cherishing the mystery of unity in diversity.

In calling Bush one time a Christian and the other unfaithful, Bin Laden showed himself incapable of speaking as a serious religious person, instead as someone trying to speak against his adversary and who, enraged, chooses, any old thing, which shows a clear contradiction.

Is anything else necessary to show that this man’s opposition to the West was never based on valid Koranic justification, rather something else, which employed Koranic propaganda to ornament his rhetoric and cover up an evil political ambition in religious semblance?

At the same time, these considerations discredit historian Paul Johnson’s anti-Muslim tirade which gave involuntary support both to enemies of Islam as those of Israel and the West. In trying to show the radical hostility of Islam against other religions, especially Christianity, Johnson cited Sura IX:5: “Kill the idolaters wherever they are found, and capture them, and surround them, and use traps against them.” Even in the most general sense, the term “idolaters” does not apply to monotheistic cultures. This passage especially refers to the polytheists of Mecca mentioned in the earlier verse who “signed a pact with you [Mohammed] and later failed to respect it.” These are the ones Mohammed should pursue, capture, and kill, as he did according to historical record. But, even the use of force was not unlimited in this case, because Mohammed immediately halted any persecution of his enemies when he entered Mecca, condemning to death only the five key figures and forgiving all others – certainly the lightest war reparation of all time. So, one of them has misinterpreted the verse: Mohammed or Paul Johnson. It’s true that a reading similar to Johnson’s was used by Muslim chiefs to incite violence against Christians, but obviously they were far from the Prophet’s interpretation and, since the acts and words of the Prophet are the highest source of authority in Koranic code, clearly these men, like Bin Laden, were not very orthodox Muslims.

The Disadvantage of Sight

Olavo de Carvalho
Época, October 13, 2001

Media does not influence public opinion through one or two news items, or one or two editorials. It’s the repetition, the prolonged reiteration of comments and non-comments that slowly mold the mind and, once consolidated, can only be broken by a collective trauma. An earthquake, a war, an epidemic has the virtue of shaking loose long instilled habits. But even these hecatombs must be recorded, and the awakening effect can then be controlled and reduced to inoffensive proportions. The efficiency of this control depends less on some emergency action than on the accumulated strength of the conventional walls.

In Brazil, these walls are maybe the best case of durability seen since the Iron Curtain.

The September attacks could have, in one act, changed the vision that Brazilians have of the world, as it changed visions in the U.S. After the events, there are not much people in the U.S. who still believe everything they heard against their country since the 1960s. After the World Trade Center attack, very few American adults would not question if their childhood idols, Jane Fonda, Susan Sontag, or Noam Chomsky, were simply traitors who helped condemn Vietnam to tyranny and misery, while the countries losing to the U.S. built wealth and liberty.

But the impact of this discovery has not reached our shores. It was softened in the distance. In this country, anti-American mythology from the 1960s resists bravely, rejuvenated not only by the repeated mention of buzz words of the time, sold as definitive explanations of today’s events, but by the complete exclusion of information that could change the backdrop, the basic board of reference from which today’s events are interpreted.

Never did a newspaper or magazine in this country publish a story, no matter how small, about the fierce opposition that American conservatives raise against the IMF, the UN, and global politics. Our society has been fooled each day for the past decade by journalists who lead us to believe that globalism, Americanism, and conservatism are working hand-in-hand to oppress the poor Third World.

Half of voters in the U.S. see the New World Order as a socialist, anti-Christian, and anti-American project. These people, for better or worse, chose George W. Bush. The globalism team, the team supporting international organisms, the NGOs which are fed by sovereign land and powers of national states, voted strongly in favor of Al Gore, whose family’s wealth is thanks to Armand Hammer, a business magnate who was revealed as a financial agent of Comintern by the Moscow Files.

Similarly, thousands of other simple pieces of information freely dispersed in the U.S. and Europe have not reached our ears. But maybe these are enough to change the entire perspective of Brazilians toward the world. These should be enough to burst the bubble of cliches that keep us far from reality.

That’s why these new items don’t make it here. That’s why the people who know them have great difficulty in trying to explain the reality of the latest events. To convince the public, one must remove the entire body of premises and suppositions that have developed over decades through the press, in churches, and at intellectual roundtables. One would have to overcome the set of collective habits and reflexes, an entire culture of deceit built up over two generations of energetic liars and lazy imitators. There is no single argument, not even the most powerful, that could accomplish this magic trick.

There is a saying that, in the land of blind people, a man with one eye is crowned king. Perhaps. But one thing is certain: a man with two would be considered crazy.

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