Chernobyl and I

2004: I saw the nuclear plant from the window of the plane. We arrive in a small village, where an improvised museum was created. A sleepy young man take the five people to a room where there arte some artifacts, masks, and a projector connected to an old television. We start watching the video, filmed in the morning of April 26, 1986. A normal day in a normal city.

A man is sitting, having coffee. A mother is strolling with her baby on the street. People are busy, going to work; one or two people are waiting at the bus stop. An elderly man is reading the newspaper at a public square bench.

But the video has a problem: there are several horizontal lines, as if the tracking bottom needed to be adjusted, so that I and the other people, who are with me, could see a better image.

I think of having someone fixing it, but I also think that someone must have noticed it, and soon they will take care of it. The video about the small  city keeps running with absolutely nothing interesting besides the scenes of ordinary life.

It is possible that some of these people know that an accident has happened 2km from there. It is also possible that they know that there were 30 casualties, which is a high number, but not high enough to change the routine of the city’s inhabitants.

The scenes now show school buses parking. There they’ll stay for many days, while nothing happens. The images are very bad, and I turn to Katya, asking her to see what is going on.

She doesn’t answer – she lost her voice.

I turn to Oleg, who says a single sentence:

‘It isn’t the tracking. It is radiation.’

At 1:23 a.m. on April 26, the worst disaster created by the man took place in Chernobyl, Ukraine, where I am now watching this video.

With the explosion of a nuclear reactor, the local people were submitted to a radiation 90 times higher than the one from the Hiroshima bomb.

It was necessary to evacuate the region immediately, but no one, absolutely no one, said anything – after all, the government doesn’t commit errors.

A week later, a small note of five lines came up in Page 32 of the local newspaper, mentioning the death of the workers, and nothing else. In the meantime, Labour Day was being celebrated throughout the entire former Soviet Union, and in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital, people were parading unaware that invisible death was in the air.

I am thrown back to my past: I am at a bar in Jardim Botânico, in Rio de Janeiro, when Globo TV broadcasts the news. At this point, devices in Sweden, thousands of kilometers from Ukraine, detected the radioactive dust that is travelling in their direction.

Only 30 deaths on that day. And yet, according to the 1995 report from the United Nations, a total of nine million people around the world were directly affected by the disaster, among them 3-4 million children.

The 30 deaths, according to expert John Gofman, turned into thousand of fatal cancer cases and the same number of non-fatal cases. The silence of the guilty, however, lasted much more than expected; after all, no one sees the radioactive dust. But finally, when the entire world learned about it, when the dust had already spread throughout Europe, 400,000 people had do evacuate.

As many as 2,000 cities were simply scratched off the map.

The video, filmed by the KGB – the secret police from the Soviet Union – ends with agents putting on special clothes.

Katya, Oleg, Yuri and Lena are crying.

We get up. Because of the silence of the guilty, the innocent also stay in silence – because there is nothing, absolutely nothing, to say.

Chernobyl e eu

2004: chegamos na pequena cidade ao lado da usina, que eu já tinha visto do alto. Um museu improvisado, um guarda jovem de olhar vazio recebem os cinco únicos visitantes.

Vemos a maquete que reproduz o desastre. Em seguida somos conduzidos a uma pequena sala para uma projeção.

 

O vídeo foi filmado na manhã do dia 26 de abril de 1986, e mostra uma vida normal em uma cidade normal. Um homem sentado tomando café. A mãe passeando com o bebê pela rua. As pessoas atarefadas, indo para o trabalho, uma ou duas pessoas esperando no ponto de ônibus. Um senhor lendo um jornal em um banco de uma praça.

Mas o vídeo está com problema: aparecem várias riscas horizontais, como se o botão de “tracking” precisasse ser mexido, de modo que eu e mais cinco pessoas que estão comigo, pudessemos ver uma melhor imagem. Penso em pedir que façam isso, mas penso também que alguém deve ter notado, e em breve vão tomar alguma providência.

O vídeo sobre a pequena cidade do interior continua passando, sem absolutamente nenhuma coisa interessante além das cenas da vida comum. É possível que algumas daquelas pessoas saibam que aconteceu um acidente a dois quilômetros dali. É possível também que saibam que ocorreram 30 mortes – o que é um número grande, mas não o suficiente para mudar a rotina dos habitantes.

As cenas agora mostram ônibus escolares estacionando. Ali ficarão por muitos dias, sem que nada aconteça. As imagens estão muito ruins, e me viro para Katya, pedindo que tente ver o que está acontecendo.

Ela não responde – perdeu a voz. Viro-me para Oleg, que diz uma só palavra:

– Não é o “tracking”. É a radiação.

Na noite do dia 26 de abril, as 1:23 da manhã, o pior desastre criado pela mão homem aconteceu em Chernobyl, Ucrânia, onde estou agora assistindo este vídeo. Com a explosão de um reator nuclear, as pessoas da área foram submetidas a uma radiação 90 vezes maior que a da bomba de Hiroshima. Era necessário evacuar imediatamente a região, mas ninguém, absolutamente ninguém disse nada – afinal de contas, o governo não comete erros. Uma semana depois, apareceu na página 32 do jornal local uma pequena nota de cinco linhas, falando da morte dos operários, e mais nada. Nesse meio tempo, foi comemorado o Dia do Trabalho em toda a ex-União Soviética, e em Kiev, capital da Ucrânia, as pessoas desfilam sem saber que a morte invisível está no ar.

Eu volto ao meu passado: estou em um bar no Jardim Botânico, no Rio de Janeiro, quando a TV dá a notícia – porque a esta altura aparelhos na Suécia, há milhares de quilômetros dali, detectaram a poeira radioativa que caminha em direção àquele país.

Na noite do dia 26 de abril, as 1:23 da manhã, o pior desastre criado pela mão homem aconteceu em Chernobyl, Ucrânia, onde estou agora assistindo este vídeo. Com a explosão de um reator nuclear, as pessoas da área foram submetidas a uma radiação 90 vezes maior que a da bomba de Hiroshima. Era necessário evacuar imediatamente a região, mas ninguém, absolutamente ninguém disse nada – afinal de contas, o governo não comete erros. Uma semana depois, apareceu na página 32 do jornal local uma pequena nota de cinco linhas, falando da morte dos operários, e mais nada. Nesse meio tempo, foi comemorado o Dia do Trabalho em toda a ex-União Soviética, e em Kiev, capital da Ucrânia, as pessoas desfilam sem saber que a morte invisível está no ar.

 

Eu volto ao meu passado: estou em um bar no Jardim Botânico, no Rio de Janeiro, quando a TV dá a notícia – porque a esta altura aparelhos na Suécia, há milhares de quilômetros dali, detectaram a poeira radioativa que caminha em direção àquele país.

Apenas trinta mortes aquele dia. E no entanto, segundo um relatório das Nações Unidas feito em 1995, um total de 9 milhões de pessoas no mundo inteiro foram afetadas diretamente pelo desastre, entre elas três a quatro milhões de crianças. As trinta mortes se transformaram, segundo o especialista John Gofmans, em milhares de casos de câncer fatais, e  não-fatais.

 

O silêncio dos culpados durou muito mais do que se esperava; afinal de contas, ninguém vê a poeira radioativa. Mas finalmente, quando o mundo inteiro já sabia, quando a poeira havia se espalhado por toda a Europa,  400.000 pessoas tiveram que ser evacuadas. Um total de 2.000 cidades e vilarejos foram simplesmente riscados do mapa. Segundo o Ministério da Saúde da Bielorússia, o índice de câncer na tiróide no país deve aumentar consideravelmente entre 2005 e 2010, como conseqüência da radiatividade que ainda continua a fazer efeito.

O vídeo, filmado pela KGB – a polícia secreta da União Soviética – termina com alguns agentes vestindo roupas especiais. Katya, Oleg, Yuri, Lena, estão chorando. Nos levantamos e, por causa do silencio dos culpados, os inocentes também ficam em silencio – porque não há nada, absolutamente nada a dizer.

Paulo Coelho: Now Our Supporter

by WorldReader

Our library just got bigger. More precisely, three new books have been added to our existing collection of over 28,000 e-books. But these aren’t just any books – these three best-selling titles were donated by Paulo Coelho, considered to be one of the most influential authors of our times.

The three donated books are: Christmas Stories, The Supreme Gift, and Stories for Parents, Children and Grandchildren, and are available for free to readers across Africa on mobile phones and e-readers. These cultural and joyful stories captivate readers of all ages, and are supplemented by beautiful illustrations by his wife, Christina Oiticica. Each of these novels add a unique dimension to our library and will serve as outlets for reflection, enjoyment, and global learning to the millions of African readers who access Worldreader’s e-books. Read the full press release here.

Coelho’s famous bestselling book, The Alchemist, pushed him into the international limelight in 1998, and is one among many globally loved classics, which include: The Pilgrimage, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, and Eleven Minutes. Coelho has sold over 195 million copies of his books worldwide, translated into more than 80 languages and found in 170 countries. Now, they’ll be in even more countries.

Worldreader’s partnership with Coelho is a big achievement, not only because we are always striving to expand our digital library, but because the participation of renowned writers such as Coelho add literature of the highest quality to our collection. Coelho states, “We’re thrilled that millions of readers in Africa can now enjoy timeless tales for free and at the click of a button (…) The power of digital technology to enable access to books and ultimately improve people’s lives is undeniable.” We couldn’t agree more. There is enormous potential to touch the hearts and minds of thousands when technology and great ideas are combined.

Paulo is a model for cultural and educational sharing, an identity internationally recognized by the United Nations, who named him a Messenger of Peace in 2007. His donated books are invaluable additions to our library that will inspire readers and promote our mission to spread global literacy.

Vacations!

Although I enjoy my work a lot (once I tweeted: “if you do what you love, every day is a holiday”) I need to stop being in front of the computer – and this is the main reason for taking vacations.

I will be back by the end of August.

Meanwhile, you can download to your phone (iOS or Android my FREE DAILY MESSAGES

If it happens you are visiting this blog for the first time, please check the ARCHIVES

Paulo

40 seg leitura: Irmã (Santa!) Dulce e eu

Estava passando fome, doente, perdido em Salvador. Tinha fugido de um sanatório psiquiatrico onde fora internado por meus pais, desesperados para controlar o filho “rebelde”.

Vagava pela cidade, até que alguem me disse que havia uma freira que poderia me ajudar – ou eu corria o risco de ser preso por vagabundagem. Fui à pé até a casa da freira. Juntei-me às muitas pessoas que estavam ali em busca de socorro, chegou minha vez, e de repente estava frente à frente com ela. Perguntou o que eu queria, a resposta foi simples: “ quero voltar para casa e não tenho como.” Ela não fez mais perguntas. Não comentei que tinha fugido do hospício.

Tirou um papel de sua gaveta, escreveu que valia passagem para o RJ. Me abençoou. Fui até a rodoviária, o motorista fez um ar de desanimo, mas mandou-me entrar – ninguem tinha coragem de dizer “não” a um pedido dela. Cheguei ao Rio (as pessoas no onibus dividiam a comida com todos), fui recebido com amor e não voltei a ser internado.

É com lágrimas nos olhos que escrevo estas linhas. Obrigado, Santa Dulce, por seus dois milagres: permitir a volta do filho pródigo, e me dar a honra de ajudar seu hospital, sempre de portas abertas

Paulo Coelho

(nota: a biografia O MAGO, de Fernando Morais, tem um facsimile do bilhete )

 

I thank all those

I thank all those who laughed at my dreams;
You have inspired my imagination.
I thank all who wanted to squeeze me into their scheme;
They have taught me the value of freedom.

I thank all who have lied to me;
You have shown me the power of truth.
I thank all those who have not believed in me;
You have expected me to move mountains.
I thank all those who have written me off;
You have aroused my courage.

I thank all those who have left me;
They gave me room to create.
I thank all those who have betrayed me and abused;
You have let me be vigilant.
I thank all those who have hurt me;
They have taught me to grow in pain.

More importantly, I thank all
Who love me as I am;
They give me the strength to live.

My top 9 travel tips

I realised very early on that, for me, travelling was the best way of learning. I still have a pilgrim soul, and I thought that I would use this blog to pass on some of the lessons I have learned, in the hope that they might prove useful to other pilgrims like me.

1. Avoid museums. This might seem to be absurd advice, but let’s just think about it a little: if you are in a foreign city, isn’t it far more interesting to go in search of the present than of the past? It’s just that people feel obliged to go to museums because they learned as children that travelling was about seeking out that kind of culture. Obviously museums are important, but they require time and objectivity – you need to know what you want to see there, otherwise you will leave with a sense of having seen a few really fundamental things, except that you can’t remember what they were.

2. Hang out in bars. Bars are the places where life in the city reveals itself, not in museums. By bars I don’t mean nightclubs, but the places where ordinary people go, have a drink, ponder the weather, and are always ready for a chat. Buy a newspaper and enjoy the ebb and flow of people. If someone strikes up a conversation, however silly, join in: you cannot judge the beauty of a particular path just by looking at the gate.

3. Be open. The best tour guide is someone who lives in the place, knows everything about it, is proud of his or her city, but does not work for any agency. Go out into the street, choose the person you want to talk to, and ask them something (Where is the cathedral? Where is the post office?). If nothing comes of it, try someone else – I guarantee that at the end of the day you will have found yourself an excellent companion.

4. Try to travel alone or – if you are married – with your spouse. It will be harder work, no one will be there taking care of you, but only in this way can you truly leave your own country behind. Traveling with a group is a way of being in a foreign country while speaking your mother tongue, doing whatever the leader of the flock tells you to do, and taking more interest in group gossip than in the place you are visiting.

5. Don’t compare. Don’t compare anything – prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not traveling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people – your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.

6. Understand that everyone understands you. Even if you don’t speak the language, don’t be afraid: I’ve been in lots of places where I could not communicate with words at all, and I always found support, guidance, useful advice, and even girlfriends. Some people think that if they travel alone, they will set off down the street and be lost for ever. Just make sure you have the hotel card in your pocket and – if the worst comes to the worst – flag down a taxi and show the card to the driver.

7. Don’t buy too much. Spend your money on things you won’t need to carry: tickets to a good play, restaurants, trips. Nowadays, with the global economy and the Internet, you can buy anything you want without having to pay excess baggage.

8. Don’t try to see the world in a month. It is far better to stay in a city for four or five days than to visit five cities in a week. A city is like a capricious woman: she takes time to be seduced and to reveal herself completely.

9. A journey is an adventure. Henry Miller used to say that it is far more important to discover a church that no one else has ever heard of than to go to Rome and feel obliged to visit the Sistine Chapel with two hundred thousand other tourists bellowing in your ear. By all means go to the Sistine Chapel, but wander the streets too, explore alleyways, experience the freedom of looking for something – quite what you don’t know – but which, if you find it, will – you can be sure – change your life.

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1 MIN READ: Do you feel useless?

The younger people realise that the world is full of huge problems, which they dream of solving, but no one is interested in their views.
‘You don’t know what the world is really like,’ they are told. ‘Listen to your elders and then you’ll have a better idea of what to do.’

The older people have gained in experience and maturity, they have learned about life’s difficulties the hard way, but when the moment comes for them to teach these things, no one is interested.
‘The world has changed,’ they are told. ‘You have to keep up to date and listen to the young.’

That feeling of uselessness is no respecter of age and never asks permission, but corrodes people’s souls, repeating over and over:
‘No one is interested in you, you’re nothing, the world doesn’t need your presence.’

Walk neither faster nor slower than your own soul.
Because it is your soul that will teach you the usefulness of each step you take.
Sometimes taking part in a great battle will be the thing that will help to change the course of history. But sometimes you can do that simply by smiling, for no reason, at someone you happen to pass in the street.
Without intending to, you might have saved the life of a complete stranger, who also thought he was useless and might have been ready to kill himself, until a smile gave him new hope and confidence.

taken from MANUSCRIPT FOUND IN ACCRA

2 min read: meeting Henry Miller’s widow

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The Japanese journalist asks the usual question: “And what are your favorite writers?” I give my usual answer: “Jorge Amado, Jorge Luis Borges, William Blake and Henry Miller.”

The translator looks at me astonished: “Henry Miller?” But she soon realizes her role isn’t to digress and gets back to her work. At the end of the interview, I want to know why she was so surprised about my answer.

“I am not criticizing Henry Miller; I’m his fan too,” she answers. “Did you know he was married to a Japanese woman?”
Yes: I’m not ashamed to be fanatic about someone I admire and try to know everything about their life.

I went to a book fair just to get to know Jorge Amado, I travelled 48 hours in a bus to meet with Borges ( this ended up not happening due to my own fault: when I saw him I froze and said nothing), I rang the bell of John Lennon’s door in New York (the porter asked me to leave a letter explaining the reason of my visit and said Lennon would probably call, this never happened). I had plans of going to see Henry Miller in Big Sur, but he died before I was able to gather the money for the trip.

“The Japanese woman’s name is Hoki,” I answer proudly. “I know too that in Tokyo there is a museum devoted to Miller’s watercolors.”
“Would you like to meet her tonight?”
But what a question! Of course, I would like to be near someone that lived with one of my idols.
I imagine she must receive visitors from all over the world and several interview requests; after all, they stayed together for almost 10 years.

We stop at a street where the sun probably never shines, as a viaduct passes over it. The translator points to a second-rate bar on the second floor of an old building.

We go up the stairs, we enter the completely empty bar and there is Hoki Miller. In order to conceal my surprise, I try to exaggerate my enthusiasm about her ex-husband.
She takes me to a room in the back where she set up a small museum – a few pictures, two or three signed watercolors, a signed book and nothing else.

She tells me that she met him when she took a masters degree in Los Angeles and played piano in a restaurant to support herself, singing French songs (in Japanese). Miller went there for dinner, loved the songs (he had spent a great part of his life in Paris), they went out a couple of times and he asked her to marry him.

She tells me delightful things about their life in common, about the problems originated by the age difference between them (Miller was over 50, Hoki wasn’t 20), of the time they spent together. She explains that the heirs from the other marriages got everything, inclusively the copyrights of the books – but that didn’t matter to her, what she lived with him lies beyond financial compensation.

I ask her to play that music that caught Miller’s attention many years back. She does it with tears in her eyes and sings ‘Autumn Leaves’ (Feuilles Mortes).

The bar, the piano, the voice of the Japanese woman echoing in the empty walls, not caring about the ex-wives’ victories, about the rivers of money Miller’s books shall make, about the world fame she could enjoy today.

“It wasn’t worth it to fight for inheritance: his love was enough to me,” she says at the end, understanding what we felt.
Yes, for the complete absence of bitterness or rancor in her voice, I understand that love was enough.

You, who they call Lord

EM PORTUGUES AQUI: Você, que eles chamam Senhor
EN ESPANOL AQUI : Tú, a quien ellos llaman Señor

by Abbot Burkhard

You, who I can feel deep inside my soul.
You, who has created this world.

When I look into the microcosmos, in the macrocosmos, everywhere I find you.
I sense your greatness.

You, who they call Lord,
who they call Father,
who they call Allah,
who they call Jahwe,
You, who is there.

Who is with us. Who walks with us.
The older I become, the more I can call you friend.
You are the friend of my life, who loves me and who called me to carry your message to the people.
Thank you.

I want to ask for everyone who is here today, to feel some of God’s Greatness and His love, who wants us, who loves us.
Jesus Christ showed us a way which we can walk together.
In spite of everything and everyone, we can find ways together,
seek and find ways which will gift us with a better and more beautiful life.

Paulo has written that he is searching for the sense in his life.
And while searching he went across new paths, wrong tracks and detours, like the all of us.

Let’s keep on looking for you in the humans beings that are present in our path.

Amen

_____________________________
Istanbul, Turkey, on March 19, 2011. You can see the video of Abbot Burkhard praying in German in 6:09 min of our collective prayer

(translated by Nayla )

The Alchemist, by Paree

Andy Warhol

 

“Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. During the 1960s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don’t think they’ve ever remembered.

Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves? I’m afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. Since people are going to be living longer and getting older, they’ll just have to learn how to be babies longer.

I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of “work,” because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don’t always want to do. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.

Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting.

The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.

I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs.

Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.

In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.”

BY ANDY WARHOL

Andrew Warhola (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987), known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. The author of this blog considers him to be the MOST important visual artist of his generation

30 SEC READ The vase and the rose

The Grand Master gathered together all the disciples in order to decide who would have the honour of working at his side.

‘I am going to set you a problem,’ said the Grand Master. ‘And the first one to solve that problem will be the new Guardian of the temple.’
Once this briefest of speeches was over, he placed a small stool in the middle of the room. On it stood a priceless porcelain vase containing a red rose.
‘There is the problem,’ said the Grand Master.

After a few moments, one of the disciples got to his feet and looked at the master and at his fellow students, . then he walked  over to the vase and threw it to the ground, shattering it.

‘You are the new Guardian,’ the Grand Master said to the student.

‘I made myself perfectly clear. I said that there was a problem to be solved. Now it does not matter how beautiful or fascinating a problem might be, it has to be eliminated.
A problem is a problem. It could be a very rare porcelain vase, a delightful love affair that no longer makes any sense, or a course of action that we should abandon, but which we insist on continuing because it brings us comfort.
There is only one way to deal with a problem: attack it head on. At such moments, one cannot feel pity, nor be diverted by the fascination inherent in any conflict.’

20 SEC READING: What is truth?

I read the following piece of news in the Spanish newspaper “La Vanguardia”.

“What is truth? The President of the Court, Josep Maria Pijuan, had to check which of the versions of rape offered by the girl victim, 11-year-old J., was closest to reality. The lawyers attending the questioning did not believe that she would manage to avoid contradicting herself in her deposition.

“At a certain moment the judge asked a rather philosophical question: What is truth? Is it what you imagine or what they asked you to tell?”

The girl stopped for a minute, then she answered:

“Truth is the bad they did to me.”

“Lawyer Jufresa, a renowned and prestigious jurist, said that was one of the most brilliant definitions she had heard in her whole career.”

The mechanism of terror

An old legend tells of how a certain city in the Pyrenees mountains used to be a stronghold for drug-traffickers, smugglers and exiles. The worst of them all, called Ahab, was converted by a local monk, Savin, and decided that things could not continue like that.

Knowing the nature of men as well as he did, they would only take honesty for weakness and soon his power would be put in doubt.

So what he did was call some carpenters from a neighboring town, hand them a drawing and tell them to build something on the spot where now stands the cross that dominates the town. Day and night for ten days, the inhabitants of the town heard the noise of hammers and watched men sawing bits of wood, making joints and hammering in nails.

At the end of ten days the gigantic puzzle was erected in the middle of the square, covered with a cloth. Ahab called all the inhabitants together to attend the inauguration of the monument.

Solemnly, and without making any speech, he removed the cloth.

It was a gallows. With a rope, trapdoor and all the rest. Brand-new, covered with bee’s wax to endure all sorts of weather for a long time.

At the end of the meeting, several groups formed, and most of them felt that Ahab had been deceived by the saint, since he lacked the courage he used to have. So he would have to be killed. For the next few days many plans were made to this end. But they were all forced to contemplate the gallows in the middle of the square, and wondered: What is that thing doing there? Was it built to kill those who did not accept the new laws? Who is on Ahab’s side, and who isn’t? Are there spies among us?

The gallows looked down on the men, and the men looked up at the gallows. Little by little the rebels’ initial courage was replaced by fear; they all knew Ahab’s reputation, they all knew he was implacable in his decisions. Some people abandoned the city, others decided to try the new jobs offered them, simply because they had nowhere to go or else because of the shadow of that instrument of death in the middle of the square. One year later the place was at peace, it had grown into a great business center on the frontier and began to export the best wool and produce top-quality wheat.

The gallows stayed there for ten years. The wood resisted well, but now and again the rope was changed for another. It was never put to use. Ahab never said a single word about it. Its image was enough to change courage to fear, trust to suspicion, stories of bravado to whispers of acceptance.



in “The Devil and Miss Prym”

The Magic Mountain

I think that one of the most beautiful regions in the world is Languedoc, a part of the Pyrenees in southwest France. I have been there several times and its valleys, mountains, vegetation and rivers always impress me. However, as human beings are quite unpredictable, it was precisely in this magnificent place that the first great European “heresy” arose, Catharism.

Many books have been written on the subject, yet it is possible to summarize the Cathar philosophy in one simple phrase; the Universe was created by the devil, all this apparent beauty is a diabolic work.

According to the encyclopedia, they were dualists who believed in the existence of two gods, one of good (God) and one of evil (Satan), who created the material world. Because of this, they took a vow of chastity and had no intention of procreating and presenting the devil with more followers. They called themselves “perfect” and were disposed to martyrdom to prove the importance of their belief. The symbolic end of the movement, which triggered off the first crusades recorded in history, took place on March 15, 1244 in the fortress of Montségur. After a long siege when they were offered the choice of converting to Catholicism or else die, approximately 250 “perfect” men, women and children climbed down the mountain singing of their intent to throw themselves into the flames of the bonfire specially made for the occasion.

For a long time I was interested in Catharism. In 1989 I met Brida O’Fern (who later on became a character in a book of mine), who had been a Cathar in an earlier incarnation. At the beginning of that same year I had met Mí´nica Antunes, who at that time was just my friend, now my friend and agent.

Since for spiritual reasons I needed to go on the Cathar walk (a trail linking together the castles/fortresses of the “perfect ones”) I invited her to take part in a stretch of the walk.

Mí´nica and I reached the foot of the Montségur Mountain one August afternoon. We had planned to climb it the following day, and after dinner we went to chat in the place where the bonfire had been lit almost 800 years before (an insignificant monument marks the spot). The weather was overcast, with clouds so low that we could not even see the ruins at the top of the gigantic rock. Just to provoke Mí´nica, I said that it might be interesting to make the climb that very night. She said no, and I was relieved, imagine if she had said yes!

At that moment a car drove up, the same make and color as mine. An Irishman stepped out and asked, as if we were from the region, from what point the rock could be climbed. I suggested that he make the climb the next morning with us, but he was determined to go up that very night, he wanted to see the sun rise from up there, claiming that perhaps he had been a Cathar in a past life.

“I wonder if you could lend me a lamp?” he asked.

And everything seems to fit; Brida, the obligation of going on the Cathar walk, the joke with Mí´nica a few minutes before, and now this fellow, with a car just like mine. It is a sign. I go to the hotel in the village where we are staying and borrow a lamp, the only one they have.

Mí´nica seems scared, but I say that we have to go ahead. Signs are signs, I say. The newcomer asks where the path is. I told him it did not matter and to just start going up the path.

And for some time, (I cannot remember how long) the three of us climbed a mountain that we did not know at night and with the fog that only allowed us to see a few yards ahead of us. Finally, we penetrated the clouds, the sky filled with stars, the moon was full, and standing before us was the gate of the fortress of Montségur.

We entered and contemplated the ruins. I looked at the beauty of the firmament, wondering how we got there without any accident, and then I think it is better not to ask any questions and just admire the miracle. The Cathars contemplated this very same sky, and believed that all these stars were the work of the devil. I shall never understand the Cathars, although I do respect the integrity with which they dedicated themselves to their faith.

I have returned to Montségur and climbed the mountain several other times, but have never again managed to find the path that we used that August night in 1989.

Mysteries exist.

Temos muito para agradecer a Bolsonaro

Temos muito para agradecer a Bolsonaro.

Bastaram 5 meses de um governo atípico, “sem jeito” com o congresso e de comunicação amadora para nos mostrar que o Brasil nunca foi, e talvez nunca será, governado de acordo com o interesse dos eleitores. Sejam eles de esquerda ou de direita.

Desde a tal compra de votos para a reeleição, os conchavos para a privatização, o mensalão, o petrolão e o tal “presidencialismo de coalizão”, o Brasil é governado exclusivamente para atender aos interesses de corporações com acesso privilegiado ao orçamento público.

Não só políticos, mas servidores-sindicalistas, sindicalistas de toga e grupos empresariais bem posicionados nas teias de poder. Os verdadeiros donos do orçamento. As lagostas do STF e os espumantes com quatro prêmios internacionais são só a face gourmet do nosso absolutismo orçamentário.

Todos nós sabíamos disso, mas queríamos acreditar que era só um efeito de determinado governo corrupto ou cooptado. Na próxima eleição, tudo poderia mudar. Infelizmente não era isso, não era pontual. Bolsonaro provou que o Brasil, fora desses conchavos, é ingovernável.

Descobrimos que não existe nenhum compromisso de campanha que pode ser cumprido sem que as corporações deem suas bênçãos. Sempre a contragosto.

Nem uma simples redução do número de ministérios pode ser feita. Corremos o risco de uma MP caducar e o Brasil ser OBRIGADO a ter 29 ministérios e voltar para a estrutura do Temer.

Isso é do interesse de quem? Qual é o propósito de o congresso ter que aprovar a estrutura do executivo, que é exclusivamente do interesse operacional deste último, além de ser promessa de campanha?

Querem, na verdade, é manter nichos de controle sobre o orçamento para indicar os ministros que vão permitir sangrar estes recursos para objetivos não republicanos. Historinha com mais de 500 anos por aqui.

Que poder, de fato, tem o presidente do Brasil? Até o momento, como todas as suas ações foram ou serão questionadas no congresso e na justiça, apostaria que o presidente não serve para NADA, exceto para organizar o governo no interesse das corporações. Fora isso, não governa.

Se não negocia com o congresso, é amador e não sabe fazer política. Se negocia, sucumbiu à velha política. O que resta, se 100% dos caminhos estão errados na visão dos “ana(lfabe)listas políticos”?

A continuar tudo como está, as corporações vão comandar o governo Bolsonaro na marra e aprovar o mínimo para que o Brasil não quebre, apenas para continuarem mantendo seus privilégios.

O moribundo-Brasil será mantido vivo por aparelhos para que os privilegiados continuem mamando. É fato inegável. Está assim há 519 anos, morto, mas procriando. Foi assim, provavelmente continuará assim.

Antes de Bolsonaro vivíamos em um cativeiro, sequestrados pelas corporações, mas tínhamos a falsa impressão de que nossos representantes eleitos tinham efetivo poder de apresentar suas agendas.

Era falso, FHC foi reeleito prometendo segurar o dólar e soltou-o 2 meses depois, Lula foi eleito criticando a política de FHC e nomeou um presidente do Bank Boston, fez reforma da previdência e aumentou os juros, Dilma foi eleita criticando o neoliberalismo e indicou Joaquim Levy. Tudo para manter o cadáver procriando por múltiplos de 4 anos.

Agora, como a agenda de Bolsonaro não é do interesse de praticamente NENHUMA corporação (pelo jeito nem dos militares), o sequestro fica mais evidente e o cárcere começa a se mostrar sufocante.

Na hipótese mais provável, o governo será desidratado até morrer de inanição, com vitória para as corporações. Que sempre venceram. Daremos adeus Moro, Mansueto e Guedes. Estão atrapalhando as corporações, não terão lugar por muito tempo.

Na pior hipótese ficamos ingovernáveis e os agentes econômicos, internos e externos, desistem do Brasil. Teremos um orçamento destruído, aumentando o desemprego, a inflação e com calotes generalizados. Perfeitamente plausível. Claramente possível.

A hipótese nuclear é uma ruptura institucional irreversível, com desfecho imprevisível. É o Brasil sendo zerado, sem direito para ninguém e sem dinheiro para nada. Não se sabe como será reconstruído. Não é impossível, basta olhar para a Argentina e para a Venezuela. A economia destes países não é funcional. Podemos chegar lá, está longe de ser impossível.

Agradeçamos a Bolsonaro, pois em menos de 5 meses provou de forma inequívoca que o Brasil só é governável se atender o interesse das corporações. Nunca será governável para atender ao interesse dos eleitores. Quaisquer eleitores. Tenho certeza que esquerdistas não votaram em Dilma para Joaquim Levy ser indicado ministro. Foi o que aconteceu, pois precisavam manter o cadáver Brasil procriando. Sem controle do orçamento, as corporações morrem.

O Brasil está disfuncional. Como nunca antes. Bolsonaro não é culpado pela disfuncionalidade, pois não destruiu nada, aliás, até agora não fez nada de fato, não aprovou nada, só tentou e fracassou. Ele é só um óculos com grau certo, para vermos que o rei sempre esteve nu, e é horroroso.

Infelizmente o diagnóstico racional é claro: “Sell”.