On a sunny Sunday in Copacabana, the iconic seaside avenue Avenida Atlantica witnessed a noisy motorcycle parade headed by the unmasked president of Brazil. The event brought together thousands of government supporters with the deliberate intention of displaying political strength.
At a time when Brazil had reached a frightful 450,000 COVID-19 deaths, that agglomeration of mostly unvaccinated people without masks was an assault on common sense and public health.
Some days earlier, Bolsonarists had rebelled against changing the name of a street. To pay homage to actor Paulo Gustavo, who had recently died from the virus, the Niterói City Hall, on the other side of Guanabara Bay opposite Copacabana, decided to change the name of Coronel Moreira César Street to Paulo Gustavo Street.
The colonel, who died in 1897, had become known as “the executioner.” Times are different now. The street name substitution was justifiable. Actor Paulo Gustavo, born and raised in Niterói, was loved throughout the country. But some citizens didn’t like it. What kind of sick mind would be irked by a simple posthumous homage?
The bolsonarist mindset.
The state was subliminally discrediting the memory of a soldier to treasure the memory of an openly gay artist. In addition, before falling ill, Paulo Gustavo repeatedly complained about the lack of vaccines in Brazil. On his death, thousands of fans and friends reiterated that vaccination would have saved the harlequin who made Brazil laugh.
Now, complaining about the lack of vaccines is criticizing the government. And a gay artist who criticizes the government does not deserve homage: this is the logic.
A Benito Mussolini-type motorcycle parade and intolerance are examples of fascist actions that multiplied with the election of Jair Bolsonaro.
During the 2018 election campaign, bolsonarist candidates destroyed a street sign in Rio de Janeiro honoring the murdered leftist councilor Marielle Franco, while a production company headquarters was attacked with Molotov cocktails as a protest against its production of a controversial video.
Political dichotomy and fierce proselytism intensified as the pandemic took hold. The president referred to this global plague as “a little flu,” assumed an antisocial distancing stance, scorned vaccines, and actively promoted miraculous remedies.
To show support, his faithful government phalanges gathered in marches carrying Styrofoam coffins, burned face masks, cursed vaccines, and became infatuated with chloroquine.
This disastrous policy led Brazil to daily counts of more than 2,000 deaths from COVID. Recent studies estimate that Brazil will have reached 1 million deaths by September. For bolsonarism, all of that is normal.
Disrespect for the Death
Another disturbing aspect: the greater proportion of Brazilian indigenous dying, either infected by the coronavirus or murdered by gold miners.
If the indigenous extermination, irresponsible agglomerations, coffins on the streets, and protests against the memory of the dead are taken together what do they have in common? La muerte.
In the name of blind fanaticism, these are all attitudes which practice, trivialize, or disrespect death. That is the face of necro-politics.
Disrespect for the dead has reached such a monstrous level that bolsonarists celebrated the death of a seven-year-old just because this little boy was the grandson of their president’s greatest political opponent.
Awoken Dormant Spores
With this wave of fascism flourishing everywhere, I started to wonder: who are these despicable fellow countrymen? Where were they before bolsonarism? And where do they live now? What do they eat? How do they reproduce?
To answer these questions, I came up with the concept of a spore. In biology, spores are reproductive forms of plants, fungi, and algae. They function like more resistant seeds, which can lie dormant for long periods until a favorable environment for germination appears.
The fascist behaviors witnessed today are spores that lived and incubated Brazilian minds of all social classes for several decades. The Bolsonaro government gave them the ideal soil to germinate and grow.
Bolsonarism is an undesirable trait that has always existed in the Brazilian character. Today’s fascists are the products of a proslavery, patriarchal, conservative, moralistic, sexist, prejudiced, and racist society. That is no exaggeration.
There is a part of Brazil (fortunately, a minority) which, in either a veiled or ostentatious way, worships all these adjectives.
Although it must be considered that there are different degrees of bolsonarism, it is sad to see that many of these abominable compatriots are people we meet, who have always lived among us, who eat rice and beans and who, unfortunately, reproduce normally – and so will transmit their spores of wickedness to generations to come.
I predict that the days of the Bolsonaro government are numbered, but bolsonarism will live on, embedded in spores capable of remaining dormant until a bad wind awakens them once again.Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The Globe Post.