Too Much Sand
I must confess this morning I found myself overwhelmed by the fact that it was already Friday. Not again!
Alan woke up feeling well, had a shower and came back to bed smiling and affectionate. It was a sunny day, a rare event lately. As I was having breakfast and editing the daily essay for KBR’s blog, portraying a courageous journey taken by Vânia Gomes through the intimate miseries of Brazil’s unassailable “Royal Court” — our miseries, not “theirs” —, I realized I wasn’t motivated to write. Besides the nostalgia for the imposing beauty of Maria Comprida on the other side of the valley, I must say the world is in a sorry state, let’s face it. And this feeling gets even stronger once I’m living in the “decision center of the world.”
It didn’t last long, I mean, my impulse not to write. Whenever I sit at my desk the muse shows up, not as inspiring as she used to be. Still in bed, Alan and I were talking about a series we just watched, “Band of Brothers,” which shows the true misery during World War II; Alan, as you all know, has been for the last ten years envisioning an even sharper pain related to a theoretical clash with the ferocious Iranian spirit, something I’ve always doubted.
“I’m glad we don’t have to face a War like that.”
“The war we’re facing is much worse.”
“But in 1940’s Europe things were much more serious than this current chaos in the Middle East.”
“This time, it will happen in New York.”
As you wish. He enjoys overstating his “habit” of “being ten years ahead of reality,” not to mention that a great part of his “forwardness” really comes to fruition, such as the fact that we’ve spent ten good years in Brazil, and now, being in the US, we’re “safe,” protected from the Brazilian economic chaos. It’s worth reminding, of course, that it was me who wanted to leave. He missed his children constantly, but kept attached to the spirit of “our” mountain.
Things are not so cool. With a greater exposure of all events, including the wide sharing of vague ideas still in the making and unfinished agreements — there’s a voracious need of news to fulfill the insatiable screens —, the world has become a huge theater, where everything which should be transparent ends up being acted out “to the bleachers,” and we never know our position.
There’s a wide campaign of misinformation in the air, a tough confrontation of opinions. Here, in the US, the “act” of the week was the acute speech by Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, who — for belonging to our heartfelt community — deeply touches us, and usually causes a meaningful impact. I consider Netanyahu to be the most skillful politician alive. The man is an eagle, with laser eyes and wings of prey offering a shade (and peace of mind) to Jews all over the world, those who — due to the (not) fragile State of Israel’s persistence to exist — are allowed to live quietly, no need to move there, a land where you get hit with no place to run.
Anyway, Netanyahu and his positions against Iran are not my subject matter today. I agree with some of his points and disagree with others; but there is no doubt that establishing a deadline to any agreement without a reality check concerning Iran’s attitudes and intentions at the time is suicidal, honestly. Ten years pass in the blink of history’s eye, as fast as the arrival of the following Friday; and the unchecked suspension of nuclear sanctions equals releasing a criminal, granting him probation, without a careful hearing before a reliable committee — which can fail all the same, and usually does.
What has truly bothered me through these events — yes, I confess that witnessing the Israeli official receiving standing ovations was a discreet delight, even being aware that it was a fix to determine Republican supremacy in the American Congress — was the prime space granted by the deliquescent NY Times — meaning, “deteriorating over time” — to Iran’s ambassador, I was tempted to say “Satan’s ambassador,” but, I admit, this would go too far. It reminded me of an early sign of “moral weakness” showed by the newspaper’s “democratic principles” when they offer the Op-Ed Column to the equally despicable Muammar Gadaffi, Libya’s deceased terror, I could barely believe my eyes.
Perhaps I’m reaching that point in life when one understands that “if you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart, if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain,” I’m not sure. What I know is that the current disposition to give equal voice to all opinions is the same as fanning the flames of amorality, something that affects modernity, seen today in American schools, for example. Children are no longer taught a “moral standard,” the concept that not all is permitted, because it “looks really bad.”
It is, pardon my metaphor, like encouraging your child to stick a wet finger into an outlet to “learn through shock.” The serious risk is that this shock may very well annihilate us, yes, I’m overreacting; it would be a beautiful “farewell to humanity,” and by that I don’t mean “normal human behavior,” but the physical extinction of the human species itself. This would also include the annihilation of truth, of course.
We can conclude that there’s no such thing as the truth. Nowadays, each person practices her own version of actuality, and that leads us to a “schizophrenic state of reality;” nobody knows what’s coming next, or what’s happening behind the curtains of vanity and misuse of power, a concept that Netanyahu almost disclosed to us — in other words, threatened to disclose in case his agenda is opposed — when he mentioned a “secret agreement” with Obama, that can’t become public, but he, Netanyahu, knows that exists.
I hope it’s more than a veiled threat; after all, it is disheartening that, after betting so many chips on Obama’s exceptional skills, we will end up with his mediocrity disguised as exceptional diplomacy, for the sole purpose of (inter) national politics.
By the way, Alan triumphantly told me the chairman of the Nobel committee who granted the Peace Prize to Obama was demoted, go figure. It was the first case of dismissal in this committee, probably encouraged by the mistake of precociously praising Obama. On his way out, the man stated “it would be very nice if president Barack Obama returned the prize,” what the hell was that!
And so it happened that there’s no space left to mention my concerns about current administrative chaos in Brazil, where I still “drudge for a living,” and which pay, by the way, is worth less and less, even worse as I pay my bills in dollars. One of the harshest consequences of this deformed Brazilian government, still essential for my physical and moral integrity, is that the country has been distancing itself from the world political stage, in which, one day, not that long ago, it almost became a key component, tristesse.
It’s too much sand in our eyes to disturb our clear vision — a desert of good intentions with no oasis in sight.
Have a great Sunday, folks.
 A group of mountains of Brazilian Sea Range, in Petropolis, outside of Rio de Janeiro.