Brazil - The Making of a Novel - Part 20
The Journey - Recife - July 28 - August 13, 1980
August 3 - 4 I'm sitting in hotel dining room with omnipotent television in corner. Thought: Has TV replaced the Crucifix on the wall?
There's a report about the "pacification" of Exu. Since 1949 two Exu families, Sampião and Alencar have been feuding. Twenty nine members of both families have been killed.
In an attempt to pacify the situation the Bishop of Petrolina, plus a nationally known singer Luiz Gonzaga and others have traveled to Exu. One of many realties of Brasil 1981. (Throughout my journal, I took to using the local spelling for “Brasil,” a small point indicative of my quest for identity with my subject; here I use the Anglicized “Brazil.”)
|Singer Luiz Gonzaga - Brazilian Culture|
Among dozens of observations, ideas, opinion that have come my way these past weeks:
- A universal concern about the land question. From Ambassador Vladimir Murtinho to opposition politician Lima Filho, to student film-maker Ivan Cordeiro, all express opinion that unfair distribution of land is major problem facing the country.
- A surprising, to me, free expression on political issues. I find extensive discussion of politics across broadest spectrum from Communist to right-wing militarist- authoritarianism something akin to excessive political discussion in South Africa. Symptomatic of a politically troubled, divisive land?
- Among younger people especially, an awakening awareness of a special Brazilian cultural heritage. Particular emphasis on Indian culture and folklore. [NOTE (to myself): These observations relate to the North-East/Bahia and my be considerably different in the South.)
|Pataxó, indigenous people of Brazil, Bahia state|
- A dramatic degree of poverty, disparity between rich and poor here in the North-East with apparent absence of middle-class.
- A growing racial problem not as clearly defined as British or U.S. one, probably more a race/economics problem. Curious to hear, for example, talk of a Brazilian Black Power movement, from Roberto Mattos' friend, Silvio.
- Yet, despite the problems, a special pride in Brazil (though not universal — a number of young people talk of U.S.A. as ultimate place.)
BRAZIL - The Epic of a Great Nation