XCIX - (Re)leituras -- Dom Casmurro, by Machado de Assis - comments by André Bandeira

This is the consumate masterpiece of Machado de Assis, published in 1899, when the author had reached the top of his career. The plot departs with a well-to-do Bento, a «carioca» (indigenous to Rio de Janeiro), who manages to drop out from the Seminary, where his widowed mother, by fulfilling a vow, wanted him to stay and become priest. He succeeds in marrying his early love, a not so well-to-do neighbour, called Capitolina or Capitu. But he drops out of the Seminary at the same time as his best friend and colleague, Escobar, with whom he shared the same defective plans. Later in time, both of them, already married and doing well, mingle together, with their own young families. After a lot of toiling and longuing, Bento gets a son, Ezequiel, but, as if there was always a serpent gliding into the green grass of Paradise, he begins feeling some erotical involvement with his best friend's wife. In the meantime, his best friend happens to drown accidentally while in a daring swim in the Summer sea. That is when Bento begins to reckon in his adolescent son, all the traits of his deceased best friend. Burning in jealousy and self-inculpation, he flirts with Shakespeare's Othelo, plans to commit suicide, and almost transforms it, by the irony of circumstances, in the young Ezequiel's assassination. There are, though, no victims, but a dramatic clarification takes place with with his wife, and each one, fall apart for the rest of their lives. His wife leaves with her son, for Europe, she dies there, despite pounding a shower of reconciliatory letters, and the son, who turned himself into an archeologist, dies in Egypt, in the following. Everybody dies, except Bento, who remains to tell the story. As a matter of fact a young friend, Manduca, had died with leper, incidentally, before all characters, while still exchanging letters with a reluctant Bento, on international Politics, as if there was no day after, for him, than the daily news. On the other hand, one never gets to know whether Ezequiel was the son of Bento, or the son of Escobar. Machado de Assis, purportedely leaves us in doubt. We end up adding the reader's doubt to the one of the narrator. Why that? Machado de Assis deals once more with death, just to warn us not to answer to Pilates' questioning on Jesus, about Truth. Escobar had been described, before, as a loveable and creeping seductive character who, however, had no manly consistency. He was conjecturally the God of Love, Afrodithus, who crossed the oceans under the yoke of slavery and who whined for rut, on the beaches of human wreck. He didn't even survived in the consistency of his unproven offspring. As it happened with Manduca, the leperous, dying under a ragged and coloured blanket, the Past rots, and rots fast. We just exist for the light. Besides light there is nothing and Bento's stubborn quest for the roots of his own stubborness -- as the fatal Egypt's archeology of Ezequiel, who was nobody's son looking for a definite ancestry -- that is a self-defeating illusion. We'll never know for sure whether our children are really ours, neither whether our wives conceived them for us, out of compassion, with some thought on us, sometimes. All of us are children of something which never stops, and, since it never stops, it never began. Better not accelerate the rot, while trying to dance at the step of Eros and Thanatos, who are too gigantic, too old, and too inhumane for caring about our human grinings. In the shadow of their feet, better to be merciful and peaceful. All our investigations never leave us more than with the itching dew of irony on our emaciated face.


XCVIII - (Re)leituras - À margem dos 500 anos : reflexões irreverentes», (org. de Maria Lígia Coelho Prado e Diana Gonçalves Vidal) - Comments by André Bandeira

I read this book, issued in 2002, while researching on brasilian Baroque. It is intended to be a handfist of irreverent comments, put «aside» for the occasion of the 500 years of portuguese presence in Brazil. Some of the comments are very radical and journalistic, indeed. The one I regret the most is the one on multiculturalism, which defines brazilian society as an adjourned multiculture, where the quest for an even more diverse diversity, prioritizes psychological facts over social ones. The contention blurs the difference, between Political Sociology and Psychology. One of the author's (should I say publicist?) gets carried away by his own sensivity, and threatens to burn out any project of reflection. It is relevant to note, for instance, the contention on a «solitary way of living one's own erotism», which seems to replace knowledge with whatever vindication. «Erotism» becomes an aprioristic category and a country's trademark, something boastful and coarse.
Today it is probably the last day we, Portuguese, enjoy the 1st of December, the aniversary of our liberation from the spaniards in 1640, as a national holiday. In the book, there is also a contribution, as for scorning the rigt-wing idea, that brazilian Baroque had been a fusion of native, african and european Culture. It argues that way, notwithstanding the admiration shown for a supposed italian Baroque aristocracy, allegedly copyrighteous about «portuguese counterfeit». As a matter of fact, the Revolution of 1640, in Lisbon, which shaked off, for the second time, the iberian hegemonism, was crafted in Brasil, during the indigenous front against the dutch invasion in the Northeast. Maurits of Nassau's, as well as the Western Indias Company, despite their metropolitan closing-in with Portugal in the fight against the spaniards, was first and foremost solidary with their own greed. At that time, the Parliament, in England, also thought of sending Oliver Cromwell on the same latitude, to prize him as «Emperor of the West Indias». Notwithstanding, it was the brazilian Baroque, with its taste for motherly sculptures and sentimental carved woodcraft, which blended indians, africans and portuguese against the dutch invader and kept them fit for choosing a portuguese, independent way. After all, the portuguese liberation from the spaniards, who were putting up with the Dutch, in Brazil, was a very baroque mouvement. And this Baroque was trully the convergence of three main ethnic groups in Brazil, no matter the hipocrisy that modern experts associate with Baroque. In full-steam Baroque times, french badass military didn't mind of crying in public, in order to make their feelings clear. These men probably didn't challenge any colonial system, but they held to universal feelings in order to pave the way for their integrity. They digged their heels in their roots against a rationalism which, among other greeds, arogated to hold the key of the Bible.


XCVII- (Re)leituras - Crise no Castelo da Cultura - Das estrelas para as telas, of Moisés Lemos Martins - Comments by André Bandeira

This book, written by one of the most important Academics, in Portugal, in the Sociology of Media, is probably the best and most far-reaching report, on the subject, I ever read in my mother tongue. Nevertheless, the author should not long for any litany on such a controversial theme. He describes himself as an hermeneut, because, all his career, he has mostly dealt with texts. Of course he deals with the Media themselves, too, at the receiving end, as citizen and expert in the Politics of Media regulation. He spends half of the book, with a philosophical foundation, and one recognizes there the influence of the French school of «Cultural Studies», as well as the shadow of Bourdieu, who used to boast studying philosophical subjects with a sociological imprint. That is what I don't know: where does Sociology begin and reflection ends? Probably nowhere. Everything is Sociology and being aware of it, that is Media. The saying he hits the most, all the book long, that is the depiction of Giorgio Agamben of a society «with means and without ends». All things considered, in a blend of french and american thinkers, where famous names (who didn't got tainted by Bricmont and Sokal's «Intelectual Impostures») surface with their famous latest sayings but we remain in a situation of flux. At this point, one cannot not avoid transliterating the books's subtitle as follows: from moviestars to starring screens. In other words (maybe Shakespeare's) we stared too much to a starsystem, looking for what was lying under our noses. Therefore, we cannot unveil the traps and poisons of any Mediasystem, without harvesting a completely new language, and a new set of references, way far from the sociological buzz. Nevertheless, the author holds to a very sound ethical base, he calls «judeo-christian». I guess it is because of that, he manages to point out to what all this media orgy is about: melancholy and, as a consequence, it leads to the noon day demon, called, in Latin, «acedia». Too much media means too much harassment and that's it, no matter in broadcasting or in social media. At some point, I do not agree to the author: he still believes in a restoration of Democracy, by means of Rhetoric. That was a well mediatic myth, taken from the classical Democracy. In a World populated by 7 billion souls, Democracy evolves to what it once was: a mediation of throngs of citizens, who arogate to rule as judging, even on each individual soul and who simply don't understand a word of those who live outside the city's walls. And I mean the walls we build and carry every step of our daily way. Yes, we are a building race, the same who built Sodoma and Gomorrah. There should have been, in those two cities too, a neverending blend of sicophants and sophists, before Lot was advised to walk away fast and never look back.


XCVI (Re)leituras - Ni Droite, Ni Gauche, da Zeev Sternhell, Romantisme fasciste, da Paul Sérant, Fascismo Monarchico, da Francesco Perfetti e Mussolini - una Biografia, da Renzo de Felice - Commentari di André Bandeira

Ho riletto questi quatro volumini, in cerca di un ricordo esatto in torno al senzo del «Futurismo». Una indagine veloce sul «Futurismo» lascia chiaro che ci sono vari tipi, doppo il «Manifesto futurista», apparso sulle pagine dal «Le Figaro» in 1909, e sottoscrito da Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, natto nella «barca rossa» di Alessandria d'Egitto e figlio di un ricco uomo d'affari. In testa, ci sono due tipi, notevolmente il russo, protagonizzato da Mayakovsky, e l'italiano, protagonizzato da Marinetti. Si può vedere che il Futurismo è una buona occasione intteletuale di provare che strema destra e strema sinistra sono cuccioli della stessa lupa. Ed, infatti, la paùra che brucia nel fuoco del palcoscenico spinge la fretta di nascondere questa genealogia commune. Nonostante,anziché esposta alla luce, quella è una verità alla mettà. Il programa del Partito Futurista, cotto in un'epoca dove soldati, arditi delle trincee della Prima Guerra Mondiale, avevano l'inspirazione per diventare artisti (perché le classi aggiati fornivono volontari per il fronte) parlavano di «uomini nuovi», di un Parlamento di tecnici, di uguaglianza tra uomini e donne, di suffraggio universale, di Guerra come igiene della società. È vero che il Fascismo si assomiglia molto al Comunismo, però il Fascismo è morto appena nato, mentre che il Comunismo è passato della Guerra civile universale, alla rivoluzione permanente, per finire nel colpo di stato senza fine. Il Fascismo aveva un personnagio superiore nel pensiero, però magari scivolante nella morale: Giovanni Gentile. Invece, Gentile era un liberale e, per lui, il Fascismo era una transizione per una societá liberale oppure, in somma, una modernizzazione del'Italia e la vendetta del Risorgimento riuscito. Secondo loro stessi, i futuristi erano «Contra Gentiles» e la migliore Arte prodotta del Fascismo veniva da Ezra Pound, chi era norteamericano e magari un neo-classico, e Pirandello, chi era un romantico. Il Futurismo è inferiore à Pirandello, nella Letteratura, ed inferiore al Cubismo, o al Surrealismo, nella Pittura e la sculptura. L'Architettura fascista è neo-classica, non è futurista. Che voglio dire con tutto questo? Che il futurismo aveva una onestà degli atti, parecchio all'imaturità delle idee, mentre che il Fascismo ed il Comunismo se ne servirono, molto coscenti de quello a che venivano. È il Futurismo colpevole? Certo che è. Idee che si svolgono nel'eter degli effeti propagandistici non sono idee, sono aggressioni. E la violenza è mala consigliera della Belleza. Oggi si è attualizato, nel senso del'«atto puro» di Gentile, il Governo dei tecnici, però l'idea è venuta dei futuristi. Ci sono idee che anzichè sottolineate da agressioni, non hanno niente a vedere con gli atti. Anzitutto si nascondono in dietro per non essere sfidate.


XCV - (Re)leituras -- Ressurreição, by Machado de Assis, comments by André Bandeira

Superb novel. Easy to read, the first relevant novel of the Godfather of brazilian literature, combines a XXth Century style with a romantic content. But is it that romantic? Of course not. It tells the story of a die-hard bachelor who leaves his lover because he cannot proceed with a relationship more than six-months and finds himself being pushed to a new relationship with a beautiful widow, thanks to the artful widow's brother. Once the acquaintace has been made, love labour comes all from the widow, both in building it up, as well as in cutting it out. When the heavy bachelor has already the marriage marked in the calendar, he opens an anonymous letter, in the middle of a tricky conversation with a high-society intrigant, who apparently dropped by for a veteran's advice on his current mistress. One never gets to know that it was the intrigant who wrote the letter. Never mind: the content is more important than the container, the narrative never gets arrested by the characters. The letter says that, if the bachelor consents in marrying the beautiful widow, he will die as her late husband, counting the cheats till the top of the Golgotha. The letter unfolds anonymous but the warning goes straight to bachelor's discernment and he briskly cancells the marriage. Machado de Assis ends up, undoing the intrigue, but giving the final plot to a widow, who, despite standing for her love, still decides to live the rest of her life, alone. She could never marry a beloved, who fireworks in second thoughts. The narrator concludes in saying that the bachelor wanted to benefit from the happiness around him and long, intimate relationships, at the same time. Therefore, the bachelor was «essentially» marked as unhappy, despite being named Félix. He never emerged from his mistrust because he could never get contentment in the other's wedding crowns, especially those ones weaved by women. He wanted to be loved the way he felt to be loved and not the way society wanted him to deserve love. That is why he ressurected indeed, from the dead at heart, but he lost both trust and the sweet memory of illusions while in the grave of untouchability. This means that the romantic bachelor never managed to fool himself long enough,in order to live beyond death with something similar to life. This is very brazilian and not romantic at all: in the land of love, you get a beautiful widow and you don't ask questions about the past. If you want to count real love, you are not entitled to enjoy the pleasures of love. Anything else --that is what the social superman Machado de Assis means -- would irreversibly show the nudity of women who are beautiful, but who widowed while one was bacheloring around, pricking and never being pricked. This is not social critique. This is a thrilling cynicism, so thrilling as the limpid Assis's prose. So limpid as fresh water springing, or as a razor blade, glazing in the middle of a tropical wrackle.


XCIV -- Boa Ventura, of Lucas Figueiredo, comments by André Bandeira

This best-seller, of the prize-winner journalist Lucas Figueiredo, narrates the gold rush in Brazil, starting in 1697 and ending up in the first decade of the XIX century. The style is not new. It has been named «History journalism», due to its short chapters, attractive graphic layout, and sometimes breath-taking sententious writing. Most of the facts are well documented, once the Bibliography had been inserted between the chapters. But it is not the work of an historian. How come? Because an historian should be very well experienced in the Science of History and have some knowledge of the Philosophy of History, before resorting to the sources and relentlessly drawing conclusions, which only serve the reader's eagarness. His mood is one of ridiculing the Portuguese Crown's approach to Brasil as if this latter was about to succumb into an neapolitan comedy. The most badly hit is John the Fifth, at the acme of the gold bleeding out of Brazil towards the Metropole and Europe. On the other hand, the way he describes the intentions and compellances of the first gold seekers, either from S.Paulo or having crossed the ocean, depicts an european colonizer's character where, providentially, the terrible becomes sublime. It is not because the author gives room, in his narrative, to the evocative pestilence of Gold, also suggested both by the indians and the african slaves, the «greek choir» of brazilian history. The first gold-seekers had been adventurous and daring, long before gold came into sight, and they just found another crazy horse to ride after decades in mounting insane and grandiose expeditions deep into the territory. One remark made by the author (I wouldn't say conclusion because, as a matter of fact, he is no historian)seems to be quite pertinent: the first brazilian province with no waterfront, Minas Gerais, has been designed thanks to the gold rush. The author is daringly schematic about the first nationalistic revolt which broke out precisely in Minas Gerais, the «Inconfidência Mineira» and, in the tide of conclusiveness where he sails, of course he jumps to the conclusion that this revolt wanted to found an independent state, exclusively within that territory. Paradoxically, the author has a notion of how the utmost independence model of that time, the U.S.A. began (and how it did end in the civil war), but he still seems carried away by his own assertiveness. In conclusion (now, it is time for mine): the author makes a remarkable contribution for keeping alive the interest in history, but he pollutes the complexity of brazilian history with mythological soundbytes, where the «goodies» and the «badies» are replaced by the «pioneers» and the «clowns». He enjoys the show, with a secret simpathy for the bombastic, as if he gestured to opt between an improbable italian-spanish drama and a portuguese stygma. This way of turning history into a politics of prejudices and emotions, becomes worrisome when we konw that the author has been one of the most competent reporters on the victims of the brazilian military dictatorship.


XCIII - L'Ethnocide et Un petit verre de rhum, par Pierre Clastres et Claude Lévi-Strauss -- commentaires par André Bandeira

En lisant, aujourd'hui, respectivement le chapitre IV de «Archéologie de la Violence», de Pierre Clastres et le chapitre XXXVIII de «Tristes Tropiques», de Lévi-Strauss, je me suis rendu compte de comment le Temps est passé. Ce n'est pas juste de dire qu'ils s'agit de deux textes du Siècle dernier, puisque celui-là n'est pas terminé dans les bornes du calendrier. C'est quand-même curieux de voir l'éloge indirect qui Clastres mène à la violence «sauvage» (les guillemets sont une courtoisie que je fais au Siècle dernier) comme forme de résistance contre l'«État». Enfin, il semble que l'«État» est quelque chose qui a été donné aux enfants gâtés de la Génération de Cohn-Bendit et qui plutôt les insultait en les ramenant à la déstruction du paquet afin de prouver qu'ils étaient capables de faire quelque chose par eux-mêmes, n'importe quoi, même en déchirant l'enveloppe et le contenu. Celui-ci avait été tellement bien enveloppé qu'ils n'avaient pas vraiment, en Mai 68, qu'à le considérer comme un cachet sur leur mains vides et une rigolade sur leurs figures chancelantes. Quant aux considérations de Lévi-Strauss, vers la relativité logique de l'antropophagie en tant qu'incorporation, vis-à-vis l'amputation du système pénal de l'Occident, on reconnaît tout de suite le terrorisme mental du froid anthropologue de Bruxelles. Si froid que même le Soleil du Brésil n'a qu'augmenté et enfoncé ses ombres résultantes d'une pércussion constante contre une cage, bien rangée dans le maillon urbain des métropoles. En effet, le judaísme de Lévi-Strauss n'est que la reconnaissance d'une même Chrétiènneté de sang, à laquelle on applique la malédiction de l'interdiction d'entrer dans le nouveau Saint des Saints du Temple comme s'il s'agissait de l'usurpation d'une sècte par une autre. De là vient l'adhésion enthousiaste à l'iconoclastie méssianique d'un Karl Marx. Voilà le rélativisme de Lévi-Strauss (d'ailleurs très clair dans son anti-multiculturalisme modéré, aujourd'hui rejété par des mêmes forces qui, dans un autre occasion, supporteraient le nazisme, en dépit de se trouver couramment à Gauche). On se sert encore de lui pour évoquer que, «dans la Logique des sauvages» il y en a des choses aparamment éscabreuses qui font du sens. Sont qui, les «sauvages»? Cette «logique du contenu», du sens, est illogique, une fois que la logique est abstraite et n'est plus q'un langage, tandis que le rélativisme moral de Lévi-Strauss verse sur des structures, qui sont des contenus reéls cohérents et pas des formules logiques. Et bien, cette cohérence de Réalité n' est pas déduite comme les formules logiques en sont, des prémisses. Les paradoxes cohérent dedans, parmi eux, comme l'énoncé moral et sa pratique contraire, l'Oui et le Non, tout ça dans la même structure reélle. Au-delà de ça il faudrait une morale militante, un méssianisme sans ambages. Ce méssianisme on l'a trouvé en Marx. Dans son absence, et une fois que le stalinisme a dévoilé plus un mauvais pari méssianique, alors Lévi-Strauss est retourné au culte de la non-collaboration avec les énemis sectaires, em préchant une morale de la rejéction de toutes les morales et en se taisant, à la fin, derrière l'excuse que le monde avait trop changé. C'est ça la formule, la «structure» si on veut bien, du rélativisme: ne dis rien, ni peu, ni beaucoup. Dis rien, c'est tout. Et c'est ce silence, cette asphyxie de la démocratie sous la garrot du politiquement correct qui confond résistance en temps de Paix, avec une imposition qui souhaite la Guerre. Dans la Guerre, on ne dit rien, puisque la Vérité est sa première victime. On se tait, bien sur. C'est la violence sauvage contre l'«État». Et qui est l'«État»? Ah-ah...l'«État» c'est moi.


XCII - Known and Unknown, a Memoir, by Donald Rumsfeld, comments by André Bandeira

Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense in George Bush's cabinet, wrote this Memoir and carefully reviewed it. In a «schocked and awed» society, where Psychology is more effective then notional nuclear arsenals, one has to massage perception, in order to remember.Historical reports have always been different from what History itself was.Thus, this careful review may be useful to a court hearing, and I don't mean the «Court of History». The gossip I leave it to irresponsible journalists and broadcast zombies. Still, Rumsfeld didn't admire Condoleezza Rice. He probably scorned her and she deserved it. The same goes for Paul Bremer III. The planned, by both, implementation (forcefully, of course) of a dogmatic democracy, in Irak, was either pathetic (Rice) or an obscure episode in US domestic social climbing (Bremer III). The memorialist knows Patraeus: he was driving and ambitious. When Rumsfeld handed his letter of resignation over to Pr. Bush, Henry Kissinger invited him to share with that he was being criticized for overpowering the Generals, whereas what he consented to was precisely the opposite. Let's begin by the end of the book: Rumsfeld was frustrated because the National Defense Review didn't include his proposal of a «counter-ideological» strategy ( against islamism/radical islamism). The problem, here, is recurring: the United States -- of which Rumsfeld ends up praising the Yankee part of it and the «cartoon» Kit Carson -- is not a Nation. The USA are only the top-of-the-cream center of Power in Western Civilization (West of what? Of Asia of course). Sometimes they have civil wars and other times, they have «creative destructions», some call «free market». That is the reason why Rumsfeld's attempts to finance a «counter-counter-ideology» dust down as maxims, quotations and very-well-saids. His analysis of Extremism based on Religion is correct and reliable, but an astute allocation in a balanced budget is not enough. The strength of the West doesn't dwell on ideologies (whenever they pop-up, the West weakens) but in spirit and soul, whatever this may mean. That's is why Rumsfeld, if he ever aspired to, could never become President. As political scientist for background (that means a policy-manager in office) he is not a Politician. But, ironically, this fact comes to his rescue: he presented twice his letter of resignatin after the shame of Abu Grahib jail broke out. The blame stays on George Bush. Rumsfeld represents the hawkish America we already knew -- that is the «known unknown». In a USA which is declining - and that is the «unknown unknown» -- where the decline should happen in an orderly manner, Rumsfeld is not an «oldie», everybody should respect. He is the hindsight we should care about. He neither should be confused with the frail morality of young conservatives, managing the wreck of Peer-Gynt socialists, nor with the hidden agenda of the self-labeled neo-conservatives. In this book, Rumsfeld remains superbly wise and a touch of final humbleness, may announce that his life is only about to begin -- he kept his family. But, still, the wrestler Donald Rumsfeld stays clumsy, and his vanity, albeit meek, holds futile. All he knows, he got it from allowing the adversary to move first. Indeed, he left many more «unknown unknowns» than knowlegeable unknowns. And the laconic part of his book, still lurks proud and stubborn, with almost no angle exposed, prone to any kind of flexibility. The wrestler didn't disclose any secret. He did his job. Unfortunately, the job description is depressing.


XCI- (Re)Leituras - Anti-Oedipus, by Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze, comments by André Bandeira

This book, of 1972, should be called «Stupidity».It is about Psychoanalysis and Capitalism, and it states that the desire of consumption, in capitalism, makes out of us, «desire-machines». Consumerism would be so co-native to capitalism that we end up considering ourselves as bodies full of desire, without organs, longing for the desert, to fulfil our desire, as if we were a simple, formless, organ of it. The book, bigotely aims at making us aware of the hellish machinism of capitalism and, at the same time, liberate us from the constraints which hinder the plenishment of our desire. Taking into account that the book explores many authors (and artists too), it intends to substantiate its thesis by means of erudition, as if what the book contends for, was the quintessence of all that extensive, quoted Literature. But what they call «Desire» is so void as their «quintessential» erudition. They end up considering Freud reactionary, because he indulged to the necessity of Patriarchalism in society. Instead, they consider themselves the heirs of Nietzsche's Anti-Christ, out of which they extract a top-of-the-cream therapy, they call «Schizoanalysis». We know that some of the creators of nazism were the french self-styled heirs of medieval Catharism, and that Napoleon was the utmost model of Hitler. The fact that these demagogues began as left-wingers is completely irrelevant. So did Goebbels. As a matter of fact, there was something «schizo» in Nietzsche, but as Mancini once said, he told almost everything of almost any subject. And if Nietzsche was struggling with some schizofrenia, that could be the stuff of his work, but it certainly was not the result of it. Well, these two authors may be out of fashion but not the fashion itself, go ask Lady Gaga. A body conceived as «desire», which could dipense and receive pleasure by any edge, is very much in fashion. The authors, so eruditical they are, even found a name for an ancient cult to support this «possession», the one of Bephomet, a demon. So, they are very much up to date. Still, what they say is completely stupid, not because it is unclever, but because it is superbly clumsy. A body without organs, their «desire-machine», which gets rid of the others, to enjoy the plenty of desire, has implicitely to extend the «desert» around it, because at the end, it can get no satisfaction. In order to have a perfect schizofrenia, now you have one personality. Where is the other one? That would be the liberation of capitalism,if one should adopt this top-of-the-cream therapy. Disease and therapy are here deliberately confounded, as any charlatan would do. The second personality, it is their hate for a moderate satisfaction of our desires, and they worship the demon Bephomet, the lord of transformations,because they really do not want a Desire in quest for plenishment. The balance among conflicting satisfactions seems to be as ancient as Reason. What they really want, it is to spread the supreme unsatisfaction. If they prescribe the continuous transformation of one thing into another, what they actually want that is to destitute all of us of any identity or property, in order to fulfil their hatred. Thus, they'll begin to have some results, even if they are not therapeutic at all. The charlatans have taken over the stage.


XC (Re)leituras - Kosovo: a short History, by Noel Compton, comments by André Bandeira

This superb «short» History of Kosovo, dates back to 1998. It is condensed and very informative, but not short. Generally speaking, the author leans on the side of Kosovo independence and advocates the cause of albanians, no matter wherever they've settled for centuries long. One of the curious things is that the names «Bessa» and «Arnaut», which are not uncommon in Portugal, for instance, could be traced back to Albania. In times of alleged «islamic invasion», this book gives us a very enlightening perspective. What we call albanian is, no need to mention, a long process of ethnic miscigenation, which began long before the Ottoman Empire. Should one say that islamization came afterwards to consolidate that process? No. Islam, in the Balkans, was as much a matter of personal choice, as it was one of opportunity or even one of hidden agenda. Not faraway, the bosnian muslims have once been Bogomils, an heretic christian sect which preferred convert to Islam than submitting to the Pope. Here is something which was not strange, a couple centuries later, to the Reformer Luther and was never out of sight from some orthodox clergy. By the way, very many among the Geg, the northern albanian stock, who generated Women such as Mother Theresa of Calcutta, have always been catholic, faithful to Rome, but very much jealous of their temporal prerogatives, which they found from time to time, much more protected by the ottoman Empire than by any Christian power. Albanian families could be composed both of christian (orthodox or catholic) and muslims, which meant that the confessional borderline was, sometimes, not worthier than an untidy blanket. They fought on austrian side, on orthodox side and on ottoman side. One thing they didn't like, no matter where the push came from: that was to be disarmed. That's why the most prestigious mountain clans in the Balkans have albanian names such as Klemëndi or Mirdit. All this boils down to the need of finding an all-embracing concept which could grasp the albanian stock. One possibility could be their language, the other could be the one of old Illyrian people and their founding myths. But this latter wouldn't be enough. Tribes and clans living in deep, almost inaccessible valleys among the cliffs, that is a model which squares all classical north-eastern Mediterranean. What the author leads us to conclude, that is the fact that a common religion, is both able to unite a pre-existing stock of people, while the religion itself, loses very much of its identity in the course of that process. That holds both for Christianity as well as for Islam. That means that neither all Islam makes part of Europe's identity, nor all Cristianity does.There is God and Goodness beyond the Temple.


LXXXIX - (Re) leituras: En Folkefiende (an Enemy of the People) by Henrik Ibsen, comments by André Bandeira

This is the most important play of Henrik Ibsen, the most important writer of Norway. Here is the plot: in a town, the municipal baths are attracting tourists and enriching the population. The physician, who makes part of the board of directors, finds out that a tanner's shop is polluting the waters which feed the baths, and spreading diseases among the sick people who are using them. He decides to make public his findings.His brother, who happens to be the Mayor, and Chief Constable, dissuades him of doing that, because the repair will take two years and will cost a fortune, therefore diverting the tourists to other towns and ruining the local Economy. If the physician goes ahead -- as he is determined to, for the sake of the customers's health and the honour of the community -- he will lose his job, his brother tells him. The physician's father-in-law, the owner of the tanner's shop, buys all the shares of the baths, before the report comes out, and tells the physician that if he denounces the wrondoing, all the money he had spared and invested, as legacy for the physician's wife and children, will boil down to useless paper sheets. The newspapers who first decided to publish the report, conspiring to replace the Mayor with people of their own, finally ask the physician to deffuse the rumours, because they are afraid of losing readers. In a public gathering, where he toils to speak up, he manages to utter the most important words of Ibsen: «The majority has the Power - unfortunately - but has no right. The right, that's what I have and other few. The minority is always right». The throng bashes him, and the self-proclaimed free journalists call him, first, «aristocrat since yesterday's eve» and,then, «revolutionarist». He's finally voted «enemy of the people», loses his job, has his home both foreclosed and attacked, and becomes impeded of practicing Medecine. After having a possible migration to America aborted, the physician gathers his family, tries to rebuild a way of living, and says to his daughter: «...den staerkeste mand i verden, det er hen, sam staer mest alene» (the strongest man in the world is the one who stays most alone). There is a frightening statue of Ibsen, at the top of Oslo's main boulevard, Karl Johan. The physician, in the play, doesn't mind of losing everything, in order to save weak and ailing people who come to town, from faraway, looking for relief. He doesn't mind either in his quest for prioritizing honesty rather than a rotten welfare. But he is not fighting for any majority, neither he claims to be either a superior being or a new leader. Actually, after he realizes all the quicksands on which the community is founded, he doesn't defend it any more, no matter the one which holds a majority or the one which is looking to build a new majority. He defends himself, and the right of being unique and integer against the balance of forces. Precisely: the right against any might, as if they where the Sun and the Moon. And if Ibsen proved us that the minority is sometimes right, one man, alone as he means it, he is always right. Each and every man, even caught by surprise and shot twice, long before growing up to be a man.


Audições III - The Serpent's egg, by Ingmar Bergman, comments by André Bandeira

What makes one prophetic, it is the reality itself. A handfull of moves are enough to make a prophecy, not because anybody around is holding some special powers, but because the best of the self-fulfilling prophecies, that is a Reality which takes over and prophetizes. This movie, starring David Carradine, tells the story of a daring Doctor who has a private dungeon and who makes terrible experiments on trumps and drunkards he recruits as guinea-pigs, in exchange for shelter and food. It takes place in Berlin, during the thirties and it's all about the prescience of Dr. Mengele and the nazi concentration camps. Two policemen, rather conservative and nostalgic of the Kaiser, decide, after some corpses had been found, that they won't be able to stop the flux of times, squirted by a crazy Weimar republic of demagogues. But one of them, the Commander, states very clearly «they won't go where they bound to, as long as I'm in charge». In order to avoid arrest, the doctor ends up committing suicide, while performing an experience on himself. And that's it: wolves never sneak in with the pack. Or, at least, the wolf doesn't use the same tactics to get to the flock. Where he should say hate, he says «humanism». Where he should say fanaticism, he says «cultural conservative». Where he should say genocide, he says «emancipation of Europe». Where he should say passion for chaos, he says «learning with the perpetrators of chaos, the cultural marxists». Where he should say «xenophobia», he says «pro-sionistic and anti-Islam». Where he should say «fascination for Lucipher as a personification of Odin and Thor» he says «protestantism should revert to catholicism». Where he should say «game-crazy and sadistic», he says management Science and gun sports. Where he should say narcissism, he says «nationalism». And where he says «it was cruel, but it had to be done», he whistles as a snake, diverting the attention to a defenseless quarter, while shooting twice on defenseless adolescentes who swam in frozen waters, dressed in bathing-suits, shoeless and terrified.
He is not norwegian. Norway was founded by a Saint, a former Viking who went to battle, knowing he was going to be crushed. Olav, the Fat one, thought that Jesus was much better than Odin and Thor and he felt guilty when he saw handicaped children being abandoned in the bushes, to be eaten by the wolves. He became Saint Olav, and he still leads all of us to the battles where the enemy hides in the fog. He died fighting with his wife and his lover, who was already pregnat and whom he didn't drop, by his side. All three fought as Vikings, children of Balder, not of Loke. When he died, and his followers had been completely crushed, the people and the nobles began converting spontaneously to the creed of Christ. That was his first miracle. The second was the norwegian people.


Audições II - Spartacus, by Stanley Kubrik, comments by André Bandeira

This is a movie you can find anywhere in the net, with the soundtrack, the main trailers and the making-of. Normally, I cannot stand it till the end, because it comes so loaded of hope that the ending appears to be certainly tragical and endless, before it comes. But how beautiful are their faces, the one of Spartacus (Kirk Douglas), Lavinia (Jean Simmons) or Antoninus(Tony Curtis), especially when the plot is about to bud in the first successes obtained by the army of gladiators, freed, and rounded up against Rome. How prude is Lavinia's crimson tunic, or her very character, while bathing, and the way Spartacus caresses her. How beautiful are the words they exchange and the feelings they portray. How beautiful is the poem that Antoninus recites about returning to a home which the freed slaves will never reach. How beautiful are the faces of the finally freed men and women, performing their humble tasks of everyday life, while roaming in Italy, to find a way out. And how beautiful is the scene, when the winning generals invite the defeated throng to surrender Spartacus but, before this latter can give himself away, everyone raises and says that he, himself, is Spartacus. And how different are the orange and sunset colours of this masterpiece of sentiment, comparing with the recent and shadowy «Spartacus: blood and sand». One movie, sides with the other, as a golden hand with a swollen foot. The movie begins with a short spring of hope which rapidly becomes tainted with grief and anticipation, but the bare news of a baby Lavinia is carrying in her womb, Spartacus'son, is enough to hold the invincibility of life till the very end. The dialogue of Crassus (Lawrence Olivier) and his still servant Antoninus, amounts to one the most eloquent lessons, drawn from a set of values and tones, which is still worth teaching. The eloquence comes up mostly in the silence and flight of the absent slave Antoninus, whom Crassus cannot find anymore, when he ends up his eulogy to the fatality of Rome and the inevitability of corruption. Neverthelesse, the most beautiful looks in the movie are those exchanged by the gladiator Draba, a negro, and Spartacus, before they leave to the arena, bound to fight till death. It is a superb silent movie. The victor, Draba, won't execute the defeated Spartacus and will be finally finished up by Crassus, who sponsored the show. By this shift of man-made Destiny, Spartacus, will know his own. The whole narrative refers back to this long, silent look of the negro gladiator, caged as an animal, before being leashed out in the arena, to kill, or die. His silence, full of all the worries and cares of this world, is the final testimony, emerging at the very beginning of the movie. Draba's silence breaks once and for all (while avoiding the anxious look of his fellow in disgrace, Spartacus)the caroussel of fatality. This is a movie on the promises fulfilled since the beginning of Times, it is a movie on trust.


Audições - I - As Meninas de Sinhá, comments by André Bandeira

This is a remarkable folk music group from Minas Gerais, Brazil. It is composed of about thirty women, who decided, some of them, after enduring miserable lives since they were child, to set a folk music group in a slum,called Alto da Vera Cruz, in the capital Belo Horizonte. They are chanting and dancing as a group, since a couple of years now, accompanied by a guitar and a drum. They do their show either on stage, or mingling together with the audience. In the audience, it is hard to stay sitting when, despite their average elder age, they invite one to dance around the floor. Their choreography is simple, mostly based on the traditional steps of «Dança de roda», where everybody dances altogether with everybody and, from time to time, people clap their hands in a blow, raising the arms up at the sound of the refrain. It is also part of the show some speeches made individually by the members of the group who tell their long ways to get to themselves, most of them in a comic tone which doesn't hide the impact of all the hard experiences they lived through. I invite you to have a look and listen to their promo video in the Net, called « Tá chovendo Fulô» (It is raining flowers). It is such a touching and victorious chant that one is tempted to consider it better than the final speech of Charlie Chaplin in «The Great Dictator» or take it as a the sudden rush of life to the head, while facing the unknown.


LXXXVIII - (Re)leituras - La Révolution en Amérique, par Guillaume-Thomas (l'Abbée de) Raynal - Commentaire de André Bandeira

Ce rapport et considérations vers la Révolution en Amérique, éclatée en 1774, ont été écrits en 1781. Le rapport vers les événements militaires est concis et exact. Les considérations politiques sont une surprise: Raynal avait écrit «De la Démocratie en Amérique», bien avant Tocqueville. Cela veut dire que la Démocratie était une aspiration depuis longtemps dans l'Occident. Mais cela n'est pas une surprise. Si l'aspiration a un nom, le contenu est historique. Selon Raynal -- et ça sert en témoignage historique -- la Démocratie était une aspiration évangélique et protestante ( bien qu'il ne mentionne pas ça) qui s'est nourrie en Angleterre avec un autre espoir, la Révolution Glorieuse de 1688. Mais le témoignage de l'observateur Raynal ne suffit pas pour prendre l'haleine toutes les fois qu'on renouvelle l'espoir, souvent aveugle et obsédé. Il y a de la politique et Raynal partageait avec Thomas Jefferson cette fascination pour le versement du sang qui cache une autre généalogie bien plus ancienne que celles des espoirs et des enthousiasmes. Il admire Richelieu et lui attribue le premier refus de l'oligarchie des têtes couronnées en Europe, en lui reconnaissant, tout de même, un rôle tirannique et haïssable. C'était, en somme, Richelieu qui a fait de la France la nation de la juste rébéllion contre la Tirannie. Cette marque de la bête que la Démocratie a acquise, en Europe, ça veut dire, le mystère de l'odeur du sang, a quelque chose à voir avec une pluralité de cultures très anciennes qui s'est trouvée en voisinage sur le bord atlantique de l'Asie depuis la nuit des temps. Et la Démocratie ne suffit point a trouver des points communs parmi ces ombres archaïques, et moins a les brouiller. Ce que Raynal dit avec des prévisions stupéfiantes autour du Destin de l'Amérique, et ça bien avant Tocqueville, ne sert qu'a nous convaincre que les États Unis sont bien une fuite en avant des fantômes de l'Europe.


LXXXVII (Re)leituras - Madame de Staël, par Ghislain de Diesbach - Commentaire de André Bandeira

Madame de Staël n'était pas belle. Elle était géniale. Lord Byron, qui avait quelque chose d'emporté par ses propres hallucinations, la considérait effrayante comme une gouffre entre les sommets des montagnes. Elle lui était supérieure et lui faisait des vertiges.Elle a séduit et tout son bonheur sentimental était dû à cette capacité de séduire comme quelqu'un qui surveille à la dernière allumette dans un orage. Il est incroyable comment elle, et ses compagnons de route, Chateaubriand, Napoléon, Benjamin Constant, Schlegel, Sismondi, Madame Récamier, ont vécu tant en tellement peu de temps. Comme ils ont inventé ou assourdi l'historigraphie, c'est encore à la séquence d'un Ancien Régime, d'une Révolution Française, d'un Empire et d'une Réstauration, sortant en éclair, qu'on doit une admiration pour ce genre de géants, capables, pourtant, de naviguer dans un temps surhumain. Marat disat que les révolutionnaires de 1789 devaient tout aux émeutes. Madame Staël a prouvé qu'on doit tout aux bouleversements du Destin. Mais il y une autre Histoire cachée derrière, celle-là du Protestantisme versus le Catholicisme. La bataille s'est étérnisée en France. Carlyle disait que la Révolution Française était bien le dernier pas du Protestantisme. Le déséspoir d'une bataille que ne finit jamais, fait de nous des monstres à survivre, et ça n'étonne point qu'on puisse devenir des drogués du sexe,quand le corps et l'âme sont trainés sans cèsse devant la Cour finale. Madame Staël a aimé sans cèsse et est bien devenue quelqu'un qui ne peut pas être jugé. Elle a été le symbole de la bonne voie pendant que la Révolution s'érangeait et devenait le cauchemar de la Terreur, elle a été vraiment la courageuse opposition au dictateur et plus tard au tiran Bonaparte. Et pourtant Madame Staël l'a sauvé la vie, en le prévenant d'un attentat contre lui, qui était exilé dans l'île d'Elba. Staël causait avec tout le monde et ne cherchait jamais à écraser l'adversaire.Elle prennait de l'opium comme du soda. Mais la narrative n'est pas la rêverie d'un opiomane: les furies qui ont été relachées pendant la Révolution française, eles étaient libres depuis longtemps. L'évolution frémissante de ce qu'on croit être le berceau de la démocratie occidentale, vers la Terreur, soit démocratique, soit impériale, était depuis longtemps dans l'identité de l'Europe. C'est pour ça que Madame de Staël est morte de 14 Juillet. C'est elle qui a décapité la Révolution, elle qui disait avoir toujours aimé Dieu,son père (Jacques Necker qui fut Ministre de Louis XVI), et la Liberté. Mais qui aime la Liberté, ne peut pas être aimé. Saint François le savait. Elle est morte pendant le sommeil, elle y est restée finalement.


LXXXVI (Re-leituras) - A Treatise of Human Nature, by David Hume - comments by André Bandeira

Today it is the 300th birthday of David Hume, the scottish philosopher who is probably behind Adam Smith and, therefore, who stands in the very foundations of the, so far, greatest myth of the twenty-first century: universal capitalism. Both Adam Smith and David Hume, if they were read properly, they would probably make the supporters of that myth feel sick. Neither Adam Smith nor David Hume believed that science was dictated by facts. Adam Smith wrote extensively on Astronomy, just to conclude that, even in Astronomy, everything was nothing but a construction of the human mind. So did Hume, on his subtile idea that there should be a pre-defined harmony between the constructions of the mind and the world of facts, having been said that the mind was mostly a complex of passions. The world of passions was the only thing sure to be described if there was any order to describe thereon. This leads me to state that globalization -- the mediatic name for universal capitalism, or for Fukuyama's End of History --was one of the most virulent tricks which was ever played on the western mind. Capitalism has been cultivated, not as societal and historical way, but, similarly to Darwinism, as a dogma of any social science. That holds for marxism too. Nevertheless, the rationalism which is imprinted on the studies of capitalism was based on the assumption that one is entitled to know, nothing more that his own passions and avoid an ensuing vertigo by holding to the assumption that the order of passions, whatever it maybe, should be similar to the one of facts. It is the most daring bet that a civilization has ever made and it still proves to be winning, as far as statistics may be daily manipulated to prove every self-fulfilling prophecy, where every question leads to the desired answer. But the brute fact is that on the basis of this mental skyskraper, it stays an enormous mistrust, were the honest love of a scottish Hume, for a french somewhat sadistic Hyppolite de Saujon -- a courtisan busy in advancing her passion's strategies in Paris -- ended up in the practice of what she hated, the most, in men: their «servile mind». The love of a rubicund and honest scottish man for a sanguine mediterranean woman, professional in the business of passions,it is not enough to build a plausible theory. That is why, for every sadistic, unbalanced entrepreneur, there is a masochistic admirer. Why do philosophers are so often unfortunate? I don't know. As Tolstoi said at the beginning of his Anna Karenina, each one is unfortunate by his own way. Still David Hume was too daring in compiling a «Treatise» on Human nature because his greatest blunder was not the human affair but aspiring to grasp a «nature», which, also in human affairs, stays always in flux. Instead of throwing some fluid data out of the boat, from time to time, Hume decided that there was a way of finding a definite formula for making the sea solid as rock. He ceased of sailing and kept digging his heels in the shore of bets. That's why capitalism is mostly a mental ailment: if one doesn't catch the fish, one should empty the sea. Now, would there still be a way for catching the scottish fish who seem, among UK wars of choice, decided to swim free in the ocean?


LXXXV - (Re)leituras - Helena, by Machado de Assis - comments by André Bandeira

This is a short romantic novel, written by the greatest name of brazilian Literature and one of the greatest in the Portuguese Language. Tomorrow, we'll commemorate the international day of the Portuguese language. The sixth Language in the world. I don't care whichever Languages, gets Portuguese to outrange. But that is a mistery, indeed, how a small nation balancing on the cliffs of the Atlantic, poor in resources, short of people, full of suicides, as Unamuno once said, manage to make people from wherever, stutter « Amo-te», or «Valha-nos Deus!», in every shore, under every sky. I think it is a mistery of lessoning, rather of shouting, a choice of enduring, instead of winning. Fernando Pessoa, a monarchist somewhat jewish, who said once that the Portuguese Language was his country, meant that a Nation is more a way of spreading and reaching out to others, than a territory. It is a shore where a handfull of people ties itself to the same mast and decides to sail forever, until the skyes open, over a new world where there is no sea. The ocean bed is full of portuguese sailores, including maybe a King who never was. This book tells us the story of a suicide, a young suicide, who comes as cousin, to be brought up in a mannor, at debuting age, falls in love with her cousin, already bound for a much more profitable marriage than hers and who finds out, too late, that she's is her cousin's half-sister. She is elegant, lovely, humble, and she cannot avoid attract and feeling attracted by a person she only got to know at a nuptial age, and who carries so many traits of her own, as she never shared with a brother or a sister. Finally, one gets to know that her father treated her as she was her own natural daughter, but she was not, in fact, her daughter. When everything seems to be rescued by a dodging fortune, when her «cousin» has already broken up with his fiancée, she tries to commit suicide and doesn't survive the attempt. She had thought, for long, that she was her beloved's sister and still she kept drawing him. She decided not to break a destiny which was bound to be fulfilled if she hadn't followed her instincts. It is a very beautiful novel which describes the watershed between romanticism and naturalism in a much intense way than some contemporaneous portuguese novels. And it invites a moral reflection, for times of whirlpools, rather than watersheds: the error lies not in our feelings, and subjective representations. We falter when we give up making our representations accord with our deeper feelings. There is no love which doesn't sail from the shore of a noble dream and we are captains of a much vaster ship than we think.


LXXXIV - (Re)leituras - A Inconfidência Mineira - uma síntese factual, by Márcio Jardim - Comments by André Bandeira

Which one of the attempted revolutions, before Brazil's independence, was able to set the mood for the first portuguese nation, out of Portugal? Márcio Jardim has no doubts, in this superb synthesis of the main studies and evidences available, dating back to 1885 - 1889: it was the «Inconfidência» which set the idea of an independent Brazil. A portuguese philosopher and historian of ideas, Esteves Pereira, wisely says that it is always very difficult for us to know what our ancestors really believed in, unless we could live, again, in their times. One aspect of what really moved those hundred, probably thousands of portuguese and brazilians, has also very much to do with the inception of freemasonry in Brazil. There were two proven freemasons among the conspirators, but Márcio Jardim adds a dozen more, as very plausible. On the other hand, the respected historian Oilian José excludes the only conspirator who has been executed, the «Tiradentes». This raises questions, not only about the solidarity among the pioneers of that creed in Brazil, as well as on its consistence. The myth that «Tiradentes» never existed, or that he escaped and even died peacefully in Portugal, may have something to do with it. It is clear that there was, that time, a masonic hit in a burgeoning Brazil, but so was in Portugal. Persecutors and rebels shared the same values about the future of the civilized world, some were monarchists, and some other were republicans, all of them setting secret lodges, to freely discuss among people who were bound not to disclose the subjects, outside. At the same time, some believed that the freemason framework was the only one able to guarantee them mutual assistance and communion of ideas, whereas some others believed that freemasonry gave them leverage by some world power, that including Portugal, where the autocrat Pombal had been a freemason too. Awkwardly,some of the leaders were priests with a stern jesuitic background. The Prince João decreed a perpetual silence on the lawsuit and, later, already as João, the Sixth, he set out an unified kingdom of Portugal and Brazil. But the «Inconfidência» was not a masonic movement. More than secrets, there were conflicting passions and allegiances. For the passions, freemasonry spread quickly on a «shock and awe» ideological method, inflammed with myths of «popular science», as a countervalue to the opposite bigot practices. As for the allegiances, the third President of United States, Thomas Jefferson, who was then a sybiline ambassador in Paris, decided not to help the conspirators and later became a «de facto» ally of the United Kingdom against Napoleon. By that time, some of the conjectural freemasons, once on the side of the repression, such as the Duke of Barbacena, Governor of Minas Gerais, later became allies of Napoleon, the invader and butcher of their own country.I venture to say that if the «Inconfidência» had ever managed to crack the eggshell, Brazil would have had with Portugal a much deeper and far-reaching «special relationship», than the one binding today the USA and United Kingdom.


LXXXIII - (Re)leituras: Cláudio Manuel da Costa by Laura de Mello e Souza - Comments by André Bandeira

Some are aware that there was an attempt, once upon the final years of the
XVIII century, in Brazil, of declaring the independence of the Province of Minas Gerais from the Portuguese Crown. The regime which held that time, in Lisbon, was a kind of illuminist despotism of which foundations were the ones set by the autocratic Marquis of Pombal,a mercantilist, busy in keeping all the gold he could gather from distant regions such as Minas Gerais, in Brazil. In the rush for gold, there was an accumulation of immigrants, slaves, culture and power in that region, not very faraway from Rio de Janeiro, but still protected by a double mountain range. At a certain point in time, a group of the local ruling class decide to forge a conspiracy which was delated by some of the conspirators, who had to gain both from the conspiracy's success and from its timely delation, since they were crushed under debts to the Crown. In 1789 the conspiracy was uncovered, most of its members were sentenced to death and automatically sent to exile in Africa, all except one, a lieutenant, Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, named the «Tiradentes» (dentist), who became not the first, but the most coherent martyr of Brazil's cause for independence. But, among the conspirators, there was an old and respected magistrate who didn't get to be interrogated by the Viceroy in Rio. He was Cláudio Costa, who got arrested in Vila Rica de Ouro Preto, by the local Governor, and who was found hanged in his cell before the Viceroy's envoyees could reach him. People say that his obscure suicide made brazilian politics, thereafter, forever secretive and mistrustful. As a matter of fact, Cláudio Costa was the only one to disclose during his first interrogation that there was a plan for the local Governor, the Viscount of Barbacena, an illuminist portuguese aristocrat who was sent to Brazil because of his far-reaching ideas, to become a kind of Emperor in an independent Minas Gerais. Kenneth Mawxell, author of «Conflicts and Conspiracies: Brazil & Portugal 1750-1808» thinks Cláudio has been assassinated, as a good half of brazilian historians does. In this book, Laura de Mello e Souza explores the divided soul of an old magistrate and respected poet, the only one who genuinely hesitated between Monarchy and Republic, and concludes with his suicide. The «Inconfidência mineira» (the name of the crime the conspirators have been accused of, that meaning the treason to the Crown) will go on having a corpse which cannot be fully explained.


LXXXII - (Re) leituras - The Book of the Five Rings, by Myamoto Musashi - comments by André Bandeira

The very time I'm writing these lines, there are about 70 japanese who are dying for me and you. German newspapers have insinuated that these japanese, mostly belonging to the fire-brigade, habe been ordered to go to the reactors of Fukushima and try to quell the atomic leaks. Kami Kaze means «the wind of God». When the Mongols were about to invade Japan, a series of winds came from the Mount Fuji and pushed the mongol ships away, putting the entire invading fleet, in desarray. Soon after, or sometime before ( I do not remember well), the japanese, who were keen in using their long swords, managed to jump into the ships and make the admirals endure so many losses that they decided to retreat. In this book, dating back to the XVIIth Century, one can see that the art of the samurai («the lone wave») is based on victory and not in a philosophy such as the one exposed in Sun Tzu's Art of War. For this latter, the general who managed to win one hundred battles without a fight, was at the top of military science. For Musashi, if there were one hundred battles to fight, the samurai would have waged and won everyone of them. It was by cumulative wisdom, that the bushido (the code of the samurai) could be fufilled. Something quite reasonable in a country which cherished peace but was always exposed to invasions and natural tragedies, leaving everyone to take care of himself in a matter of minutes. Hard and winding road where enlightment could only come at the very and sudden end. These japanese firemen are doing now their bushido. The diagnosis seems dull: either they'll die in a few weeks or they'll manage to survive, the most, until the end of the year. I cannot avoid a shout, in this world of lust and pleasure: which right has whoever of putting the end to someone else's life, for whichever reason, when there are so many manmade and natural forces able to wipe us all from the Earths'surface in a matter of seconds? Should any student learn History sitting in a kind of electric chair and receive electrical shocks similar to the pains which he's seeing depicted on the History books? There was an old italian journalist, Tiziano Terzani, who was dying slowly a few years ago, who wrote, during that time, a book called « On more leap on the merry-go-round ». He once visited the Temple in Japan where kamikazes used to depose their last vows, before leaving on their last missions. One said: I want to die in the sky as a crystal glass being broken in the clouds. May this purity go off in our minds when our thoughts are just jockeying to find a way out which adds more suffering to the one already existent. Shouldn't we put the cream of our bravery, the top of our pride, the glamour of our technology in the battle of Fukushima? Or else, shouldn't we admit that we still have a long way to go, before being ready to fight the battles of Fukushima, as these japanese firemen, are fighting now?


The Libya conflict – My narrative

The Libya conflict – My narrative - Mendo Henriques _ WAIS

The conflict in Libya is between, on one side, the Libyan Jamahiriya,
a legal regime in the face of international law, supported by a
tribal structure centered in Tripoli and Sirte but infringing human
rights since its inception in 1971; and, on the other hand, a complex
coalition of Libyan tribes with a majority in Cyrenaica and also in
Tripolitania and Fezzan, ruled by the Libyan National Council's
authority and an allegiance to the Libyan National Senoussi dynasty,
whose flag they use and to whose Constitution of 1951 they seem to pay
allegiance. These rebels used the right of resistance against
repression and comparative underdevelopment to start a post-Islamic
revolution in January 2011. They reaffirmed the legitimate desire to
overthrow a tyrant, as accepted by political doctrines that found a
contemporary expression in the Universal Declaration of Rights.

Starting from Benghazi, the Libyan revolution conquered villages and
populations up to the outskirts of Tripoli in February, with the
support of dissident military units, including Air Force. Yet, it
never managed to have a unified command. Given the stalemate, Colonel
Gaddafi gathered his tribal support and hired thousands of mercenaries
in black Africa (and continues to hire war veterans, members of the
Polisario http://www.aujourdhui.ma/nation- details81531.html) to
launch an offensive with heavy weapons in the direction of Benghazi.
After dominating the corridor of Ajdabia, he threatened to raze

Faced with the threat of crimes against humanity, the UN Security
Council, after the favorable stand of the Arab League, voted
Resolution 1973, which allows for the creation of a no-fly zone and
approved military action, with a 10 affirmative votes and 5
As the conflict in Libya became a peace enforcement operation, it
opposes national and international forces on both sides. The armed
forces operation by U.S., France and England (and Italy, Greece,
Canada, etc,) gave way now, 29 March, to a NATO command and control
structure that integrates forces from Qatar and UA Emirates.
I believe it is encouraging for the world at large that U.S. forces,
the Armée de l'Air and the RAF destroyed heavy weapons of the “tyrant
of Tripoli”.

I appreciate pacifist arguments that "love is better than war" but I
do not believe in permanent human kindness. I appreciate the antitrust
and anti-corruption arguments about the oil business, but the Libyan
oil can be easily replaced by other sources for European countries,
except, perhaps, Italy. I believe that in European democracies, reason
of state is bigger than vested interests. I support President Obama's
declaration that there will be no international intervention of ground
troops.. Libyans on the ground will sort it out and I am informed such
is the goal of Odyssey Dawn ...

An operation of peace enforcement implies the use of armed force to
achieve a ceasefire. The force can also be used to achieve other
purposes such as sheltering the victims of hostilities. It is clearly
a situation of armed conflict. This means that the forces are
countered by one side and they must fight to force a cease-fire. In
the process, they lose their neutrality. These operations are beyond
the ability to UN command and control, and can only be performed by a
coalition of the willing or a polyarchy such as NATO. As the Libya
conflict regards a sovereign state, national law should be taken into
account and thus an international mandate is essential to the
operation to be legitimate.

All things considered, I believe - as prime-minister Cameron told the
Commons, applauded by Labor - that the Libyan conflict is a "just,
necessary and lawful war." This is not a humanitarian intervention, as
Bosnia 1998. It is not power projection as Afghanistan 2001: It is
not, as Iraq 2003, a war for "regime change". It is a conflict to
create conditions for regime change by the people, because human
rights are equal for all. It is both a civil war and an international
conflict. Pretty much like Spain 1936-39.

This brings me to Carl Schmitt’s political categories. I think they
are not that relevant for international conflict. The “theorist of the
Third Reich” was a much more intelligent but less cunning Fascist than
Hitler's Nazi fellows, and he was out of his depth when he tried to
adapt Donoso Cortes’s traditionalist political categories to a 20th
century situation. Indeed, last year, at the kind invitation of the
Portuguese editor, I presented an Alain de Benoist’ book in Lisbon,
called " Carl Schmitt Actuel, Guerre juste, terrorisme, État
d’Urgence”, Nomos de la Terre”. I restricted myself to an academic
presentation of its contents, expressing my disagreement in a polite
way. I said that M. de Benoist was pretty much doing something like
“enfoncer des portes ouvertes”. Anyone who knows the Roman Law
distinction between inimicitia and bellum justum ( the traditional
example is Octavius’ conduct of war against Cleopatra as bellum justum
and against Mark Antony as inimicitia) may see that the Libya conflict
is a belllum justum against the “tyrant of Tripoli” from the point of
view of the NATO coalition on account of Resolution 1973; and it is
inimicitia from the perspective of the post-Islamic rebels.

An intellectual debate about the Libya conflict is a very good thing
because it keeps our minds busy. Yet, when it comes to see people die
on account of war initiated by a tyrant, I do not consider myself an
intellectual but a citizen of the world who says “Rwanda, never
again!” , “East-Timor, never again” "Bosnia never again”. I feel I am
well accompanied by the Arab League, the majority of Western public
opinion, and the magnificent North African youth who launched the Post
Islamic and almost bloodless revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. The
West and the Arab countries have given a hand to prevent Post Islamic
revolution to sink in the Libyan wilderness. I think it a sign of hope
that the moral conscience of humanity proves itself superior to the
vested interests that celebrated agreements with the "pirate of
Tripoli" .. eh… ..all right.. with that grotesque and comic strip
personage who, for the next few days, weeks, or months, will be the
"Tyrant of Tripoli".


LXXXI - (Re)leituras - Tito, a Biography, by Phyllis Auty - Comments by André Bandeira

Why picking up a Tito's biography in a time of arab «revolutions»? First, it is quite strange to welcome, with no magnifying glass in hand, a «rebellion» against an alleged tyrant, which is led by the very tyrant's late Ministers of Interior and Justice. Second, remember that the first victim in war, is truth. Third, there is no evidence that democracy means peace. So, returning to Tito: it was the yugoslav Tito, and not the indian Nehru, who invented the non-aligned movement. Since we have been sneaking out of the Cold War, for the last 20 years, tainted with an atavic mistrust, and blinded with vengeance, it is natural to conclude that the non-aligned movement should be dismantled too.If there is only one block, there is no need of any Third World movement. What, then, else than democracy, universal democracy?! As Lacan, the famous french psychiatrist, once said, my mind lies where I'm not and I lie where my mind is not. So Tito managed to be a good austro-hungarian subject. Once the monarchical social-democracy of central Europe had been dismantled by the sectarian fury of Britan and the malevolence of France, during the First World War, Tito still survived through partisan communism and became a good republican tribune, at the helm of a Federation in the Mediterranean. The monarchists, led by Mihailovic -- who was, no doubt, a serbian patriot -- managed to waste the support by the British and alienate the support of the rest of the south slavic people. What I mean is that the popular champion Tito became a better leader than the legitimist faithful. Later, on the southern bank of the Mediterranean, some arab «raïs» amounted to be tentative Titos. Neither the USSR, nor the USA could take the responsibility for all of them, and they put them there (with much less merit than Tito himself) as if they were displaying the pawns on the chess board, before a long match. It is time now -- TVs imply -- to declare a victor, so TVs could table their broadcasts, before they'll be irrevocably replaced by social networks. But the world is not black and white, and the pawns have a much more colourfoul checkered board downunder. There is no use in selling us a daily quack that we can't avoid a new fatalism called democracy. There is, indeed, another fatalism: war. Empires will fall, Princes shall perish... Tito was the wise subject of an Empire and, in a solid Empire, everyone among its subjects, has himself a bit of an Emperor. I prefer this than the Empire of the masses, the uniformity of the buzz, and the continuum of stimulation. The first error of NATO happened in Yugoslavia, when, deprived of a UN mandate, Europe decided to lighten its heavy conscience, with a design of its own, on Tito's Empire. This time, provided with a UN mandate, Europe wants to redesign its own Empire, which has vanished long before Tito's. There is no greater folly than the one which sees Heaven whenever he sees blue. As Sun Tzu said, 2.500 years before Clausewitz: «War is the most serious matter of State, a matter of Life and Death». Fourth: never begin a war without the will of waging it.


LXXX - The Return of Depression Economics - and the crisis of 2008, by Paul Krugman - comments by André Bandeira

It is probably late referring now to this book, which has been published three years ago. But Krugman is still very active as a journalist. Nevertheless, three years have passed after he received the Nobel Prize in Economics. So, we have time enough to recover from the kick and taste the core of his words. Krugman, the «Globalist», came in Obama's tide. But he advocated globalism, no matter this was being spread by the merchant or by the canon. It doesn't matter either whether «globalism» is being spread by throngs of disenfranchised youths, on the southern bank of the Mediterranean. Basically, Krugman says that we are not in a depression, but we are in a depression Economics' mood. As Keynes used to say, ideas matter much more than vested interests. Krugman's ideas are the ones pointing out that this kind of depression Economics has to be solved on the side of demand, and not on the side of supply. Thus, austerity will only turn a recession into an economic slump, as it did among the asian tigers, in the nineties, or Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. These are his ideas. But what kind of ideas are the ones exposed by Krugman? I say that I don't know. He portrays himself as a liberal. And as a keynesian. It is fair, but it is not enough. Actually, he didn't become a faustian neo-conservative, as it happened with many liberals, when they indulged in being carried away by pure politics. But Krugman expresses his own ideas in steep formulae such as the one that the UState intervened in the Economy, after the Great Depression, by means of an enormous undertaking of public investments: the Second World War. This is too much of a heavy joke, not to be interpreted as true. In conclusion: he says that the investment Banks, as well as the shadow banking system, have to be more regulated. This is a cacophony of Obama - we have it on TV, and we have it now, in a book. But what Krugman means is frightening, if not terrifying. He means that an economic crisis is basically a question of attitude, being reckognizable in the way one expresses his ideas, the color he paints the sky and the capability he has to influence public policies. So to say, the magic touch of Krugman's «liberalism» consists in finding the way how to make himself heard, when Governments have the time and resources to try the most juicy ideas in the marketplace. This is indeed, neither a problem of indoctrination in Economics, nor one of upper hand in Politics. It is a problem of civilization, if not of basic human decency. Krugman barks superbly, but the burglars are already faraway. We wonder if he is nothing more than an echo.


LXXIX - The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, by Theodor Edward Lawrence - comments by André Bandeira

Everybody knows about David Lean's movie «Lawrence of Arabia» and those who have watched it, certainly remember as well, the superb acting in it of Peter O'toole.Reading the unabridged edition of this major book on the awakening of the arab peoples, after four centuries of decline, seems to me very helpful by watching TV and the experts' forecasts. Generally, the book is the report of an anguished soul, who has been subject in infancy to a strict anglican education, and who escaped up towards a stoic and efficient daydreaming. As a matter of fact, everybody knows, both from the movie and from History, that the secret agent Lawrence ( El Aurens, in arabic)never managed from his bosses, to fulfill the promise of an arab independence in the aftermath of first World War and the dismantlement of the turkish empire. He shows all the pain and grief for having to take decisions of life and death among the arab beduins, whom he managed to raise against the Turks, despite the fact that he knew, as well, that his much admired british General, Allenby, would never grant them independence. T.E. Lawrence was a Crusader by ideal but, in a way, he became an arab. This amounts to no surprise when some light is shed on the Templars and their alleged conversion to a kind of muslim mysticism, which costed them being torched under Philip's, the Fair, orders. As we know, the Arab world became divided under a franco-british mandate, according to the Sykes-Picot secret Treaty, which came to an end only during the Suez crisis of 1956. The arab countries were not only victims of colonialism, but also they were victims of the tragedy of Versailles Treaty. The book is full of wisdom, although it is hard to say how many pillars this wisdom is able to prop up. It is also full of horrible war scenes, described with pacifist purposes and shows how much the arab tribes, before independence, had a range which stretched from Morocco to Constantinopla. In a situation which was a «tertium genus» between civil and independence war, T.E. Lawrence manages to convince the reader that some genuine arab order is essential to a fair solution in the arab region. That is why he should be read in times where experts imply the aequivocal concept of «arab street» (an expression pertaing nowadays much more to London or Paris than to «Arabia» itself), thereby ignoring completely the different national traditions which emerged from the UN Charter on Decolonization, in the fifties.


LXXVIII - Values and Weapons, de Janne Haaland Matlary, por André Bandeira

É legítima uma intervenção armada estrangeira, para implantar a Democracia num país? Para a autora, a maioria dos autores considerava ilegal uma intervenção armada externa, num país soberano, por razões humanitárias (os alemães invadiram a Checoslováquia, para salvar os sudetas) e, quanto a uma intervenção para implantar a Democracia, é violar a letra da Lei e o Costume internacionais. Os EUA de Bush tentaram lançar o Precedente, no Iraque. Mas -- como diz o especialista Ian Brownlie -- é preciso que não haja oposição expressa de nenhum país, o que aconteceu, para não falar duma prova que nunca aconteceu, a da existência de armas nucleares. Resta-nos, portanto, os limites do Direito internacional e da governabilidade mundial da ONU, ou o crime de Genocídio (matar categorias de pessoas pelo que elas são e não pelo que elas fizeram, na definição de Lemkin). A certa altura, uma União, a Africana, pode-se voltar contra outra União, a Europeia. Mas isso não é tão óbvio, nos jornais. Certo que o Direito de auto-determinação dos Povos, em abstracto, não é superior a uma auto-determinação em curso. Mas uma Democratização mundial implicaria uma governação mundial e, mais que a constituição de um «Demos» mundial -- a Humanidade -- vários «Demoi», no fundo, tribos -- teriam de ser reconhecidos à escala planetária. Para Rousseau, uma Vontade de Todos exige, a quem quiser relevar, uma vontade. Uma Democracia mundial, exige já uma permanente verificação das entradas, com o conceito de «Estados-falhados» e seria o tribalismo quem a faria relevar. Enfim, a prudência, que não é covardia nenhuma, regula ainda a Razão internacional. É verdade que a constatação da «Vontade», obriga à finalidade intelectual de uma Democracia. Na realidade, o que todos os Homens querem, a partir de certo momento, é político e, portanto, é o possível, o qual depende do momento e do lugar, como parece óbvio no terramoto de Christchurch. Ora, a rápida universalização de comunicações curtas e as emoções correspondentes, não chegam para este possível. Diz-se que uma Comunicação universal maximiza o possível. Mas não. A Reflexão não se faz apenas de maximizações, como em Kant, porque também o Indivíduo é um teor de comunidades antigas, arcaicas e modernas, conscientes e inconscientes. Se tudo o que a Democracia planetária nos garante, à partida,é uma maximização, então a Psiquiatria substituirá o Julgamento. Em suma: o sistema de Vestefália passou mas, curiosamente, só quanto ao seu resultado ( a cada Príncepe, a sua Religião). É possível que fique a Religião, depois da queda dos Príncepes.


LXXVII - (Re)leituras : On Tiranny, de Leo Strauss, por André Bandeira

Leo Strauss foi o filósofo dos neo-conservadores norte-americanos, durante a Presidência de George Bush Jr. Além de ser um mente «cunning» ao extremo, Strauss mete medo pelo seu maquiavelismo desesperado. Graças a Deus que Donald Rumsfeld não era neo-conservador porque o arrôjo, direi quase libidinoso, do pensamento de Strauss podia-se ter apossado completamente da herança Bush. Este comentário sobre o texto de Xenofonte, Hieron ou Tyrannicus, não é, como se podia pensar, uma defesa do direito a assassinar um tirano, embora tenha passado por tal. Também no mundo dos livros, a violência publicitária já entrou há muito. O gosto por estudar a Tirania, faz-nos a volúpia de privar com Imperadores e nos sentirmos, fausticamente, que vivemos um sonho, no âmago da História, um pouco como se de uma representação teatral se tratasse. Depois, este «privar com tiranos», para, diz-se, aprender e impedir a Tirania, acaba como uma discussão com o Diabo: na cama. Penso que a competitividade extrema de Leo Strauss é tanta quanto uma busca acrobática de soluções representa o fim de uma fonte de energia, seja ela o petróleo, a sociedade industrial, ou a Democracia-espectáculo. Acho que houve realmente algo de vingativo em certos pensadores dos Impérios centrais que tomaram o caminho dos EUA. Daí a sintonia de Strauss com o hegeliano Alexandre Kojève, bem escutado na URSS, e os perturbantes arrulhos de ambos, em torno do Poder absoluto. No texto Hieron há algo bem actual e que fascina: o Tirano, no fundo deseja ser amado e não sabe porque é que não consegue. Não, não é por ser tirano, como uma audiência televisiva seria levada a pensar. Essa é a resposta mais fácil. O Tirano não é amado, apesar de ser eficaz, porque, no fundo, os outros têm a inveja de ser eficazes como ele. Será que o pensamento profundamente pessimista de Strauss, nos diz que a um Tirano, se segue sempre outro? Não. Ao Tirano, a maldição de não ser amado, neste mundo de exílio, deve ser curada com a conformação de que, para se ser eficaz, tem de se esquecer o Amor, concluindo que o Amor não existe e, portanto, nada há a lamentar. O resto, há em abundância, para os que sabem dirigir firmes. Portanto, a um tirano que cai, segue-se um tempo «desingénuo» em que a Tirania deixa de existir porque só se queixa da Tirania, quem é perdedor. Se se não for perdedor, então é-se eficaz e tudo vem por acréscimo, até a Graça pesada de se achar graça a um Tirano. Há notícias boas e más para o acrobático Leo Strauss, num período em que uma fonte de enrgia está preste a esgotar-se: as boas é que o Tirano vai cair, as más é que ainda não há outro.


LXXVI- (Re)leituras -- Personnalisme Musulman, de Mohammed Aziz Lahbari, por André Bandeira

Este autor da Universidade de Rabat cola-se um pouco ao personalismo cristão de Emmanuel Mounier, o qual não foi brilhante durante a ocupação nazi da França. Para ele, o Islão funde sagrado e profano, desde a sua essência, e tudo o que é existência humana não pode deixar de ter uma apreciação religiosa, segundo o Islão. Portanto - chegamos a uma conclusão - não existe possibilidade de um Islão laico. Mas, com Tariq Ramadan, acreditamos que há a possibilidade de um convívio e que nem sempre o que parece, é, algo que qualquer sociedade não escolhe, antes tem de encarar. Isto levar-nos-á, num Mediterrâneo mais integrado com a Europa (ou uma Europa mais mediterrânica), à existência inevitável de Partidos políticos de minorias étnico-religiosas, como aquele, da maioria, que governa a Turquia. Mas o personalismo islâmico,salvando o Islão em categorias filosóficas da tradição ocidental, não é muito flexível para o individualismo, socializa o «eu» (excepto a tradição sufi mas também o sincretismo dos marabus)e não deixa lugar para um Estado mínimo, ou uma socialização mínima, onde realidades inconvertíveis a um modelo, possam coexistir. Em suma, o Islão tende a espalhar-se e, quando não se espalha, cai num certo optimismo fatalista, com fome e revolta. Neste último caso, Culturas que se aliaram ao Islão histórico, voltarão ao de cima, umas vezes tribais, outras autoritárias, muitas vezes ansiosas, se não fanáticas, sempre jogando nas electrização de multidões. O Islão guardou, no seu génio, a força civilizadora de Culturas pré-islâmicas que nunca foram superadas e que farão, por exemplo, do Cristianismo, algo muito diferente de Roma ou Washington. A primeira categoria intelectual do Islão, o shahada, «cria» Deus, mas também o Homem, num desdobramento em que o Homem se analisa continuamente e, assim, tudo o que é humano -- como na máxima socrática que criou a «Humanitas» clássica -- nos deixa de ser estranho. Ora, se cada Homem é unico, só Deus o sabe e nós pouco. Isto torna-nos vigilantes uns em relação aos outros, por vezes fatalistas, e Deus, claro, não tem face humana. Enquanto os Príncepes instaurados pela Guerra Fria vão caindo, volta a questão das Monarquias na Arábia. Se o Califa -- ideal político do Islão -- é, no melhor dos casos, o soberano benevolente de uma verdadeira teocracia, em que os sábios decidem e obrigam por maioria, os Muluk (plurar de malik, Rei) buscam uma legitimidade muitas vezes anterior à do profeta Maomé, como é o caso dos Hashemitas da Jordânia e, em tempo, do Iraque. Um caso curioso destes monarcas é que eles quase sempre reinam sobre populações, esmagadoramente diversas da tribo que os gerou. Mas isso mesmo pode ajudá-los a desempenharem a missão de guarda a algo que permanece na sociedade política. Poderão, como já o demonstraram, vir a ser o Poder moderador, à falta de uma verdadeira Cultura de moderação. Isto, enquanto o barril de petróleo atinge os 120 USD e estamos sob uma forte tempestade solar.


LXXV- (Re)leituras - Les musulmans dans la laïcité, de Tariq Ramadan, por André Bandeira

Tariq Ramadan, em tempos, tinha tempo de antena, talvez por ter bom aspecto físico. As funções biológicas de reprodução, numa Europa alienada e sem identidade geográfica, falam outras coisas com os gestos e olham paradas, enquanto ocupamos a nossa boca com palavras hipnóticas, em mimetização com o Meio (vejam esses flamingos côr-de-rosa como se repercutem, quando estão juntos). Os levantinos, realmente provocam paixão, porque se crê que, mesmo deformados de corpo, têm ardor. Num mundo volátil, em que os pais se demitiram de educar, o «ardor» é um direito universal. Mas Ramadan é neto do fundador dos Irmãos muçulmanos,exilado por Nasser e afigura-se neste livro como um maoísta prestes a virar liberal, intimamente encorajado pelas reticências duma Corte aborrecida. Atiçar maoístas xiitas contra nacional-socialistas sunitas é aplicar a máxima «o inimigo do meu inimigo é meu amigo». Quando esta é a única gestão, só o gestor sabe que tem o stock a zero. Como o petróleo. Este livro defende a laicidade e integração do comunitarismo islâmico nas sociedades ocidentais. Espero que sim, como devia ter sido a presença do Ocidente, após a Guerra, nos países do Norte de África. E nunca o foi, por desprezo e ignorância da civilização mediterrânica. Efectivamente há uma responsabilidade política em muitas religiões e a factura do colonialismo está ainda por pagar, independentemente de haver várias contra-facturas a cobrar. Mas a laicidade é mais uma armadilha de Robespierre. A Revolução francesa teve de inventar um culto pagão, por decreto. Por mais que Ramadan tente, devolvendo o ónus da informação, para um Ocidente, tão depressa sedento de Exótico, como violento, o islamismo não é laico e faz muito bem. Tem uma ideia política e jurídica das organizações sociais. Excepto nas seitas místicas, ninguém fica sózinho, no Islão. Mas como o Islão assentou sobre religiões antigas, assim o fez o Cristianismo. Dizer que o Islão não teve Renascença é ignorância. O Islão floresceu precisamente antes da nossa Renascença, e à distância de uma pedra. Ora inventou-se a Nação para dar lugar a todos e as Relações Internacionais para dar alternativas a essa disposição. Mas, no Ocidente, ou no Oceano, a administração da solidão é uma velha prerrogativa nómada e houve muito antepassado que morreu, para a garantir. Em Covadonga, os visigodos de Pelágio sobreviverem e venceram sózinhos, com vizinhos islâmicos. Mas Ramadan tem razão: a luta dos muçulmanos pela sua identidade, num mundo neo-colonizado é sobretudo isso. Eles são mais do Ocidente do que que nós, se calhar, desejaríamos. E o revivalismo foi também uma forma de organização da juventude, contra a droga. A droga, por sua vez, foi uma fuga do desabuso sexual, numa fase de histeria freudiana. O tráfico de droga é concomitante com o dos corpos e começa nas periferias da anomia. Que tem feito verdadeiramente o Ocidente para lutar contra a cultura psicadélica, sem qualquer consistência e contra o seu sucedâneo, o novo alcoolismo? É assim. Não esperem que os jovens muçulmanos, herdeiros de uma Grande Civilização, se deixem morrer. Em lado nenhum.


LXXIV - Un Printemps Arabe, de Jacques Benoist-Méchin, por André Bandeira

Este livro era o de uma Primavera entre os Povos árabes, há 50 anos. O autor fora da «Sinarquia», um termo associado a tecnocracia que contou, em plena Segunda Guerra mundial, com apoiantes em Moscovo, em Washington e na Paris ou na Vichy colaboracionistas.Como os arquivos só foram liberados em 2005, é ainda difícil dizer se os sinarcas constituíam ou não uma veleidade de conspiração mundial. O certo é que Benoist-Méchin conduziu um périplo pelos países árabes, num momento de renascimento nacionalista, quando a França, devido à Guerra da Argélia, cortara relações com eles. Benoist-Méchin fora condenado à morte por colaboracionismo e agraciado pelo Presidente Vicent Auriol, a par de outros como Lucien Rebatet. O que Benoist-Méchin nos diz, do lugar de quem ouviu a Morte bem a bater-lhe à porta, é que as multidões, entusiásticas ou em fúria, já naquela altura alastravam rapidamente da Síria a Marrocos. Havia o Sol, o Deserto, o Petróleo, os Santuários, a água, a Multidão e a juventude. O que o separa do cenário de hoje, é que os líderes nacionalistas, erguidos ao poder, ora apoiando-se num lado ocidental, ou na URSS, ou na China, eram um facto novo, indiscutido. Eles mandavam chover porque se firmavam como exemplos da autonomia e do orgulho de povos até então divididos por fronteiras desenhadas na areia e vítimas do colonialismo, bem como da Guerra. Mas tudo era volátil nas multidões. Embora o autor, até pela linhagem, fosse um bonapartista, o que a democratização dos países árabes, então a dar os primeiros passos,lhe parecia, era sobretudo volátil e emocional. Afinal Dominique Moïsi, com o seu conceito de «Geopolítica das Emoções», tem toda a razão. Uma integração maior da parte Sul do Mediterrâneo, no Hemisfério Norte, fará da política algo muito mais emocional e volátil. Consta que a Goldmann Sachs fez, há três anos, uma simulação de que como seria o Mundo com o barril de petróleo, a 130 USD. As conclusões foram sigilo, mas algo como «revoltas generalizadas» transpirou. Ora uma visão do mundo ao longo dos paralelos, esquece que a Arábia é muito África, onde Guerras Civis perduram por meio de armistícios e o Sahara nunca foi uma fronteira. Além de que discutir as fronteiras internas de África, as quais foram desenhadas pelos poderes coloniais, é precipitar um dominó tribal. Este enorme espaço árabe, Benoist-Mechin só o via limitado por três pólos: a Turquia, o Irão e a Arábia Saudita. Direi: um pólo europeu, um asiático e outro...místico (?). Acrescento que a teoria do inevitável espargir da democracia, nas suas fases iniciais, representa Guerra. E fazê-lo, só para dotar um Mundo quântico e stressado, com uma doutrina plausível ignora o facto de que a Democracia não é o Fim da História. No caso do Ocidente, foi apenas um dos princípios.


LXXIII - (Re) leituras -- Orientalism, de Edward Saïd, por André Bandeira

Reli este livro, passado seis anos e ganhei. Edward Saïd, teve a ideia e fundou, com Daniel Baremboim, uma orquestra que educa jovens judeus e jovens palestinianos, na Música. Saïd já não está entre nós, mas os Anjos ainda comunicam em música. «Orientalismo», publicada em 78 e pós-faciada em 1994 é a grande tentativa de um palestiniano, especialista em literatura ocidental, nomeadamente política e antropológica, contrariar os democratas neo-colonialistas como Bernard Lewis. Não é conseguida. Saïd prova que o orientalismo é uma literatura generalista do Ocidente, lida por ocidentais, para justificar o imperialismo sobre o Médio-Oriente, começando pelo Egipto. Realmente, os monólogos mais ou menos loucos, mas aterradores, de um Nerval, de um Flaubert, de um Chateaubriand, de um Renan, de um Sacy, de um E.W. Lane, ou de um «Lawrence da Arábia», convenceram o Ocidente de que os árabes são sensuais, preguiçosos, traidores e déspotas. E, alguns dos escritores citados, são honestos e neutros (só que os olhos do escritor são míopes). Os árabes «são selvagens que não riem», os árabes não tiveram Iluminismo, não separaram a Igreja do Estado (pois, nós dissolvemo-la no Estado). Ora bem: comecemos por Newton. Afinal Newton era alquimista e o seu cadáver tinha mais chumbo que um imperador romano bêbedo, morto com delirium tremuris. Mas não interessa, tudo isso passou, o Iraque foi invadido e a «rua árabe» revolta-se espontâneamente, dizem. Por fim, Saïd encontra uma solução para nos ensinar a música dos anjos: façam como Historiadora irlandesa Mary Ferguson, sobre a escravatura negra. As mulheres americanas eram muito mais verdadeiras sobre a escravatura, que os homens. Em suma: junta-se uma minoria (as mulheres), com uma minoria (os árabes desprezados) sobre uma minoria massacrada (os escravos) e obtém-se uma fenda na muralha do racismo. Tudo isto é um monólogo de um palestiniano muçulmano, respeitado e civilizado ao modo de Londres e Harvard. Pode ser esse o mal das derrapagens duma Democracia para o totalitarismo: quando um novo facto não é regular, muda-se a Lei, até o relativo ser tão relativo que a realidade é uma vertigem e a Lei se torna um mero instrumento. É cómico ouvirem-se agora discursos contra o multiculturalismo, não porque venham demasiado tarde, mas porque vêm de pessoas pouco cultas. Uma Cultura serve propósitos não-culturais, alguns deles chamados de existenciais, ou de biológicos, outros, direi, insondáveis. O primeiro passo da Cultura é o sentido da humildade e do limite, mesmo do limite do limite. Se se começar por aí, a explosão democrática de forças externas, na Arabia Infelix, talvez nos faça entender que não somos, nem nunca fomos Ocidente, mas somos Oceano. Mar sem fim, como em Fernando Pessoa, contra o Mar fechado dos Impérios.


LXXII - (Re)leituras -- Informalisierung - Norbert Elias' Zivilisationstheorie und Zivilisationsprozesse im 20. Jahrhundert, de Cas Wouters, por André Bandeira

Este é um livro sobre o sociólogo Norbert Elias, alemão que se refugiou nos EUA e passou, depois, muito tempo, em Amesterdão durante os ano 60, quando a Holanda se tornara o pólo da informalização das relações humanas. O livro acaba num paradoxo: espera que a informalização e a democracia se espalhem rapidamente pelo mundo, de modo a ultrapassar a «doença infantil» da independência política e da industrialização, e acabar com as diferenças entre países ricos e países pobres. Mas diz que as oportunidades e os riscos deste processo dependem de como o possamos dominar. Ora o autor parte da ideia de que a informalização e igualização das relações entre os seres humanos, é uma vitória contra o Poder e o domínio. Mas o Desconhecido permanece. Então há que apostar num novo domínio. Num mundio livre, igual e global, o informal passará a racional e o formal (não obstante a tradição ritual da Humanidade) passará a atrasado mental. Diz ainda que a Segunda Guerra mundial teria socializado os reinos da Alemanha, os quais alimentavam uma tradição fidalga de desprezo dos plebeus. A Alemanha foi derrotada pela tradição francesa,onde uma só Corte, em Paris, equilibrava todos os segmentos sociais da França. Em suma, qual é o slogan? Apagar «os contrastes», essa maldição psicológica. E se esses contrastes, como os duma paisagem, tiverem uma lógica no subsolo, que lhes serve de base? Ah, isso, a Ecologia vai ter de exigir uma governação mundial, e a independência política, que chama de «doença infantil» se for uma faceta das condições ecológicas, de subsolo, vai ter de se arredar. Apliquemos o autor ao moderno Egipto: foi de facto a informalização que varreu um dirigente de gêsso. No «tu-cá-tu-lá», é verdade que há uma grande juventude mas também há a juventude da memória. E há também a busca de um algoritmo,sempre provisório, que nos estimula a continuar a correr, nem que seja para entorpecer a Mente, atrás do acontecimento. Uma teoria permite-nos tomar fôlego. E duas teorias permitem-nos marcar o ritmo. Regressamos ao estádio pagão, onde quem não é eternamente jovem e informal, é melhor sair. Ora isto não é informalização, nem democratização. É uniformização. Com uma teoria. Infelizmente, os fundamentalismos religiosos, ou jornalísticos, tanto mais mudam, quanto tudo fica na mesma.

LXXI - (Re)leituras - In Search of identity, de Anwar El-Sadat, por André Bandeira

Este livro foi publicado pouco antes de Sadate ter sido assassinado. É importante lê-lo como uma longa reflexão do homem que criou uma espécie de Dinastia no Egipto. E lê-lo significa que não há só um tipo de coragem. Sadate parece-me, do pouco que sei, que é um muçulmano sufi. Sufi é o derivativo árabe de «philosopho», esse outro tipo de rebelde que a Democracia ateniense condenou à morte. O «Eu dominante» é o contributo dos sufis ou seja: só uma afirmação do Eu, como algo individual e único, é Destino. Destino de Deus. Os antigos falavam no Direito do Tirano, a sociedade moderna fala-nos do merecimento que as sociedades têm quanto aos próprios ditadores. Os antigos falavam também do Tirano bom. Ora Sadate matou com ferros enquanto pobre resistente ao colonialismo britânico e morreu, aos ferros de um capitão miserável que perguntava insistentemente ao Sheik, encarregado de o assistir nos momentos finais «Diga-me: acha que procedi bem?». Grande é o sofrimento dos homens sobre a Terra. Penso que Sadate retirou do deserto o orgulho de saber que sabia mais que os outros.Com isso,ultrapassou Nasser -- demasiado apaixonado -- e conseguiu uma Paz que o libertou dos russos e lhe deu o melhor dos norte-americanos. Sadate era um titista, distante de Hassad da Síria ou de Kadhaffi, mas amigo de Ceausescu. A sua dinastia, contudo, fora gerada entre jovens militares de academia, profundamente ressentidos com os britânicos que os formaram, desorientados quando no Poder e sujeitos a todo o tipo de influências. Ele foi dos que teve a cabeça mais fria e, de todos, o mais meditativo, malgrado as suas paixões e exuberâncias. A Morte igualizou-o à essência da condição humana que, como sufi, procurou. Mas a sua dinastia, fundada na resistência nacionalista, foi também criada por rêdes, sem um líder definido. Parece, neste livro, que a História do Egipto moderno é definida por redes de élite forjadas na clandestinidade violenta, ou por redes informais cheias de rumor e manipulação próprias duma sociedade feita de povos que chegam e tentam furar pela multidão dos que já lá estavam. E, nesta curva de passagem do Mediterrâneo, é jovens que as redes se lançam. O número não dá razão, nem peso a ninguém. Também o «Raïs» Nasser (como o Ras etíope ou o Ras fascista), prestes a ser invadido pelo inimigo, dizia: «O nosso país é muito populoso e isso constitui uma arma poderosa se dela nos soubermos servir». Como a água do Nilo, que só um grego louco, talvez chamado Daninos, conseguiu convencer Sadate e Nasser a reterem na Barragem de Assuão. Sim, porque o grego ocidental ama o vinho inebriante do Levante. Cleópatra era uma raínha grega, loira e de olhos claros.


LXX - (Re)leituras -- Tiradentes, de Oilian José, por André Bandeira

Eis aqui um livro de uma grande autor, mineiro, sobre um grande Homem, universal. O autor completou ontem 90 anos de idade, sendo o Decano da Academia mineira de Letras, na sede da qual foi devidamente homenageado. Pois hoje homenageio-o eu, como leitor desta obra sintética e completa sobre o mártir da independência brasileira e talvez um dos primeiros portugueses de um Portugal universal. Pena é que, para ler o livro com calma, ele me tivesse sido emprestado pelo próprio autor, pois já não se encontra, nem em Alfarrabista. O livro foca sobre a biografia e o itinerário de Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, cognominado o «Tiradentes» e -- para os portugueses que não conhecem a multifacetada História do Brasil -- ele foi o único executado da primeira grande revolta secessionista contra Lisboa, em 1789, a Inconfidência mineira, com centro em Ouro Preto. O que torna o livro do Professor Oilian José diferente dos outros, sobre o mesmo tema, é aquilo que o Tiradentes tinha de pessoa do seu Tempo: a criatividade e o idealismo. Dos seus ideais, na forma como se comportou durante o julgamento e interrogatórios preliminares, Tiradentes não reage como um herói de romance. Ele reage como um mártir cristão, cumprindo o que jurara, não denunciando absolutamente ninguém e assumindo a culpa sobre si, ao ponto de ir cumprimentar os outros réus quando todos, excepto ele, na manhã seguinte a serem condenados à morte, foram absolvidos. Tiradentes não era provavelmente o líder da revolta (se esta questão estava já definida pelos inconfidentes), onde nomes como Tomás António Gonzaga, ou Cláudio Manuel da Costa, pelo lado civil, e Freire de Andrade, pelo lado militar, se encontravam muito acima dele em prestígio e experiência. Há um ideal de cristianismo redentor na conduta do Tiradentes, bem expressa no símbolo triangular da Inconfidência Mineira, que representa a Santíssima Trindade, sobre fundo branco, a cor dos que reinvindicavam a Legitimidade, em sua época. Uma outra coisa interessante é averiguar, em História das Ideias, que ideia de Res Publica aquela gente procurava, uma ideia que, por exemplo, na Europa do Séc. XIX, era comum a Presidentes como Abraham Lincoln, ou Soberanos como a Rainha Vitória. E, nesse aspecto, estou em crer, que um homem multifacetado como foi Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, o qual idealizou o moderno sistema de distribuição de água do Rio de Janeiro, tem algo mais interessante a dizer que essa alma nobre e antiga, a de Tomás António Gonzaga.