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I DON’T LIKE ATHEISTS

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I DON’T LIKE ATHEISTS Translated from the Portuguese by Marina Wade

Brasilia, Distrito Federal 2014 4


Copyright Š Melik Silva Brßn, 2014 All rights reserved to Hildebrando Ribeiro da Silva Segundo. www.meliksilvabrun.com www.hildebrandoribeiro.com Cover: Beto Avlis Cover image: Mosaic of Friedrich Nietzsche, by Hildebrando Ribeiro da Silva Segundo Review and final organization: Giullyane Lemes Bittencourt

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To the sweet Giullyane, by the everytime encouragement. To beloved kids Mateus and Davi. To my parents, for the essential values.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Beto Avlis by the extraordinary artistic elaboration of the front and back cover. Thanks for your dedication and patience. Friends who believed, even before it happens: Thais, Mônica, Lúcia, Andréa, Rebecka, Renan, Alexandre, Maria José, Nilza, Marcos, Grazielle, Diego, Adriana, Jordana, Leonardo, Bruno, Adilson, Josivaldo, Poliana, Andréia, Ari, Kamyla, Maria Tereza, Tatiana, Aline, Kelly, Érika, Paula, Izabel, Amanda, Albanesa, Luiz Henrique, Fátima, Weslei, Marilene, Fernanda, Alessandra, Ana Luiza, Adão, Francisco, Marilda, Altemar, Rokmenglhe, Celina, Patrícia, Cau, Nani, Pedro, Ronaldo, Dagoberto, Marina, Mariane, Lélia, Rita, Salete, Ivana, Marcos Luís, Ailton, Lourival, Cláudio, Tânia, Luiza, Ana Paula, André, Daniel, Nara, Nanci, Felipe, Bayron, Cristiano, Iris, Kátia, Vânia, Sebastião, Harrisandra, Carlelia, Elio, Laila, Deyverson, Elizabeth, Vera Lúcia, Carina, Angélica, Jairo, Antônio José, Israel, Cleidison, Jandir, Rodrigo, Antônia, Rejane, Dantas, Luciana, Simone, Sérgio, Carla, Jória, Leila, Cláudia, Taís, Josânia, Hyrlando, Rodolpho, Sônia, Ayrton, Angélica, Ailton...

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“E a minha mãe diz: „- Paulo acorda, pensa no futuro que isso é ilusão, Os próprio preto não tá nem aí com isso não, Olha o tanto que eu sofri, que eu sou, o que eu fui, A inveja mata um, tem muita gente ruim‟. Pô, mãe, não fala assim que eu nem durmo, Meu amor pela senhora já não cabe em Saturno. Dinheiro é bom, quero sim, se essa é a pergunta, Mas a dona Ana fez de mim um homem e não uma puta!” Jesus Chorou Racionais Mc’s

“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” Abraham Lincoln

“Vim pra sabotar seu raciocínio Vim pra abalar o seu sistema nervoso e sanguíneo." Capítulo 4, Versículo 3 Racionais Mc’s

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NOTE TO THE READER

Dear reader, it is with pleasure that I greet you and at the same time thank you for reading my first book. I hope you will follow me in this revealing journey to the last page. First, let's clarify a few things. This book should be classified as NON-FICTION, for it is based on true facts; everything you’ll read here really happened, and don't think that I'm lying as to whom I'll be writing about. In fact, billions of people in the world are Believers, but only the arrogant ones, who call themselves Atheists, are not. However, we can never take these people seriously under any circumstance. For them the best answer is what Jesus says in Luke 23:34: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Nevertheless, my editor told me that, for marketing reasons, it would be better to classify this book as FICTION. Thus, I hereby register my protest against the imperialistic machine and usurper of the arts, this monster named capitalism. Just joking! I'm totally in favor of capitalism, although I'll stand by my protest against my publisher.

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LISTEN TO THE SONG!

Hello, have you started reading? Are we in synch? Did you hear the guitar note? Well, our song has started, not our song meaning you and me; don't get me wrong, we are only now being introduced. In reality, I meant to say hers and mine. “Who is she?” I’ll reveal everything about her at the right moment. For now, just listen to the dry, strong, rhythmic beat of the most extraordinary drummer that has ever walked on Earth. Listen! These beats are like an army marching slowly, in bitter winter, coming back from a battle. This song marked our meeting soon after that crazy vibe we shared at the Space club, in Ibiza. We walked to the beach and sat down—it was morning and the mind-blowing sunrise made us feel relaxed. Then, she asked me to lie down on the sand, lay down by my side, and started pressing buttons on her iPhone. Suddenly, this song we’re listening to now started to play. I already knew the song, but in that scenario and with that girl, it became unforgettable. Listen! “Working from seven to eleven every night, It really makes life a drag, I don't think that's right. I've really been the best, the best of fools, I did what I could, yeah Cause I love you, baby, How I love you, darling, How I love you, baby, How I love you, girl, little girl. 10


But baby, since I've been loving you, yeah I'm about to lose my worried mind, oh, yeah.� So, have you figured out who I'm talking about? Of course! Go to YouTube and see it or just listen to it, but if you still don't know, the name of the song is Since I've Been Loving You, from the eternal Led Zeppelin. Come on, get into the mood with me—after all, I'm going to tell you a long story and you need to be connected, right?

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MY NAME? AL PACINO FREITAS ALMEIDA

What I'm going to tell you is very crazy and very controversial. I just lived through it in the last few days and certainly you would also be stunned by something that, without any exaggeration, no human being had ever been through before... “Quite presumptuous, aren't you, newbie writer?” It's not a presumption! So that you understand, I was in doubt whether I should reveal these events to the world, running the risk of being seen as a nut, or keep them only in my memory. And you—what would you do if you went through a totally surreal experience? Would you reveal it or keep it to yourself? I'm sorry, how can you answer if you don't know what it is about? I'm very anxious to tell you. I was born in the state of Bahia, Brazil, in the capital— which for me is Barra da Estiva. I guess this is news to you, right? Let me explain why I see Barra as the capital of my thriving and beautiful Bahia instead of Salvador, as everybody else thinks. Okay, what is the capital of Brazil? For sure any smart kid would raise his or her hand to answer that question in the classroom: Brasilia! Well, I agree and I disagree. First, because in fact, in legal and administrative terms, Brasilia is the national capital of Brazil. But from a cultural perspective, Brasilia loses its position. Here is how: what is the cultural and financial center of Brazil and South America, which brandishes that title along with the largest cities of the planet? “São Paulo,” 12


answered that kid at the back of the class, right on! It's no different with Barra da Estiva. Planted on a beautiful plateau called Chapada Diamantina, in the middle of the state, it is the first city you encounter when approaching this awesome Brazilian geological formation from the southeast, which is why it is also called the “Portal of the Chapada.” For those “in the know,” Barra da Estiva is the cultural and financial center of Bahia. The most brilliant minds come from there, including, in my modest and sincere opinion, me. Its annual per capita income, according to surveys, was 2,668.89 dollars in 2010, and its great, thriving population is in excess of 21,187. So Barra da Estiva is really a “pinnacle of global statistics”. Do you see now how Barra da Estiva is to Bahia what São Paulo is to Brazil and New York is to the United States? And that's only because I don't want to brag about the geographical beauty shown in post cards. Ah, I feel nostalgic remembering the wonderful view of the great mountains, five miles from the city, from where you can see the most beautiful panoramic view of the Morro do Ouro, with an altitude of well over 3,280 feet and, with the same altitude, the Morro Santa Bárbara, like twin Everest’s in the Himalayas. The access road to the city and to the Chapada Diamantina plateau passes between these two hills, which form a majestic entry. Okay, I know, I'm just dreaming, and, anyway, I moved to Brasilia a year ago. I'm 18 years old, 6 feet tall, my hair is black, straight, and well below my shoulders like a metal rocker, and my name is Al Pacino Freitas Almeida. For now, this is enough. Well, let me 13


guess, you thought my name sounded familiar, right? In college, my friends used to call me Tony Montana, and John Milton, but they mostly called me Michael Corleone. They’re a few of Al Pacino's famous characters, and the jokes always started on the first day of class. The famous name was imposed on me by my father, as it happens to any baby. I once asked him why he chose this name and he answered, in a guttural voice, as if campaigning for president: “My boy, your name was inspired by the greatest actor that ever lived. His work in The Godfather was just glorious. I'll never forget it! Al Pacino, my son, is the god of acting." I remember his discourse perfectly. He tried to convince me that my name was a simple tribute to a guy I have never met in person and, worse yet, neither has my father. Ok, I'll have my own children to "pay tribute" with some day. Just joking. Don't get the idea that I don't like my name—I do, I just don't like the teasing of my classmates when the teacher calls my name Al Pacino!, and I hear the chorus Al, Al, Al, like dogs barking, a pure and ridiculous onomatopoeia. So now, without further ado, let's start. I'll try to tell in detail what happened to me recently, starting with the cover and title of the book, which has everything to do with those events.

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A STAUNCH ATHEIST

Until recently, I was the most atheist of mortals; at least I thought so. My family and friends have always known me to defend the atheist cause, for an atheist world, against all religions. Can you imagine what they will think of this book when they see it? They will love it. You can bet on it: this is what they, especially my mother, always wanted, insisting that I search for God and stop with all these heresies, because God would forgive me. Anyway, I was the kind of guy who walked around wearing a shirt that I had made to order, already in tatters from so much wear, with the picture of my number one idol, Friedrich Nietzsche, with his famous moustache, the same image that you can see on the cover of this book. I wanted to put his face up front, circled and crossed in red, so people could see how negative and harmful it is to be an atheist. This cover expresses my total rejection of such philosophy. “What happened to cause such a change?” As I mentioned before, I’ve been living in Brasilia for a little more than a year now, in a basement studio with an almost infinite 320 square feet of space, which is all my parents can pay for, because rent here is very expensive. To describe my dwelling accurately is quite simple: although it is in the basement, it is a well-ventilated place and cool to live in—there are two rooms. A small three-in-one bathroom, which is a place where it's possible to “meditate” sitting on the toilet bowl while brushing your teeth at the sink, because they are so tightly 15


positioned side by side, and also taking a shower—which is practically on top of the toilet. Isn't that something? The other room in the underground palace is the wonderfully flexible living room, which is comprised of a traditional living area, a bedroom, and, as a perk, a kitchen, all in the same space. Pretty insane. Countries with restricted space such as Japan should send their architects to visit my studio, and I'm sure that after adopting this revolutionary and optimal residential configuration, they could double their population without any problems. I came here to study Law at the University of Brasilia, undoubtedly one of the best in the country. As I don't have any relatives in town, the only option was to rent this studio, very close to the school. That way I save on transportation expenses: I walk to college and back. I loved spending the first night in my new home, alone, after a long farewell from my mother, crying, with her endless recommendations on safety, food, studying, health, and so on. Actually, I'm only going to school here because my father convinced my mother—if she’d had her way, I could only have gone to the Federal University of Salvador and lived with my Aunt Maria, her sister. I tried to get in there also, but I made a point of answering a few questions wrong to guarantee that I wouldn't be accepted. You know, my aunt Maria is even worse than my mother. She is like a drill sergeant and wouldn't even allow me to go to the bakery by myself. I won’t sit still for that! In short—coming to this charming and urbanized city was, without a doubt, my best choice.

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THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND

The alarm went off at six o'clock sharp. It was on the floor, beside the bed; I simply stretched my right arm and turned it off. I looked at the ceiling of my apartment, feeling excited and revitalized. No surprise there since I had gone to bed very early, at around 9 p.m. the night before. I got up and went straight to the bathroom to drain the weasel— which was quite a relief—I never forget to drink a large glass of ice water before I go to bed. After taking care of my physiological needs, I went back to my flexible living room. I was following my morning ritual as I walked over to the timeworn bookshelf that my thrifty Mom had bought me at a used furniture store. It was the perfect place to explore a book or to listen to some good old classic rock’n’roll, because that’s where I kept my treasures—my collection of books and my new Sony micro system with an iPod dock. I just turned it on, selected a Metallica folder, and chose an album: Master of Puppets. Was there any better way to start the day? Of course not. Metallica chose the right song to start this album: Battery—part with acoustic guitar, clean and slow, then the usual thrash—just magic. I went to the bathroom to shower, continuing my routine. While undressing, I felt the hairs in my body stand up. My primitive heritage, I thought. Although this time it wasn't because I felt threatened by some beast about to attack me, but because of the cold sensation transmitted by the nerve endings of my skin, making me shiver. It was a severe winter in Brasilia 17


by tropical standards, and the weather forecast called for 10 Celsius at dawn. I took a nice shower with the music really loud—after all, rock is not background music. I got out of the shower, dried off and got dressed as fast as Dash from The Incredibles. Savoring a really hot cup of coffee, I got myself four slices of whole wheat bread to toast, remembering there was a class on Civil Procedure this morning, heavy duty. The toast was soon ready, but too hot, so I put it on a plate and sat in the only chair in the apartment. I took a look at my Orient watch, 6:49—everything on schedule, I thought. Then, suddenly, somebody knocked on the door. Who could it be at this time of the morning? I was startled. It must be Francisco, the night doorman, to give me some message, because the outer gate is probably closed, and my neighbors are not eager to wake up early, I reasoned. In the background the song Orion was playing. I went to the door and opened it—I was alert and clenched my right fist really out of fear, but also as a precaution. In front of me there was a dapper man wearing an impeccable gray suit à la Giorgio Armani, with a two-inch height advantage over me, with black hair, and looking to be about 40 years old. But what really caught my attention right away were his eyes, especially the irises, which were orange, vivid, and radiant, and reminded me of the Netherlands team and its citrus-colored uniform. I don't remember ever seeing anybody with eyes that color. Maybe he‟s wearing contact lenses, I thought. Immediately I asked, “Who are you?” He gave me a tranquil smile. “Good morning, Al Pacino.” Although he spoke calmly in a deep, friendly voice, I remained alert with my fist tight, ready 18


for an attack. “How do you know my name? What kind of joke is this?” I quickly looked up, trying to see the basement gate through the small angle I had, over the man’s left shoulder. I saw it was still locked with that big, heavy padlock. Suddenly, I started firing questions: “How did you get in here? The gate is locked. Who are you? What's your game?” “I'm sorry, Al, I had no intention of causing you any problems. I'm here at this inappropriate time because I need your help,” he said. “My help? I don't even know you, man!” I said. “But I’ve known you for a long time. Don't worry, young man, I just would like to have the opportunity to tell you what I wish, if you’ll allow me, of course. I hope you'll help me,” he answered. I was confused, because although this old man seemed like a complete stranger to me, his calm way of speaking felt honest— besides, I was really intrigued and curious to know what such an executive type wanted with me, a future lawyer. Finally, I relaxed my fist and allowed him in. He came in and I noticed his attentive curiosity while looking at the walls of my studio, and it couldn't be any other way, because it's a perfect art panel. Seven great posters fill in almost the entire constrained space. Right off the bat, on the front wall, staring at whoever comes in, is a poster of the best band in the world, in my opinion, Pink Floyd, in a rare and really memorable image of its five members together, Mason, Barrett, Gilmour, Waters, and Wright. On the wall to the right of 19


the entry door, there is a Metallica poster with the crew from the album And Justice for All, the first of theirs I’d ever heard, and another from Pantera in Far Beyond Driven, with one of my favorite drummers and guitar players, respectively, the brothers Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrel, with his unmistakable red goatee. On the left wall are my compatriots from Sepultura, on the classic album photo Chaos A.D., and beside that, the unforgettable hardcore trio from Nirvana, Cobain with red hair, Novoselic, and Grohl. To complete the picture, to the left you can see Bob, or more properly, Bob Marley & the Wailers, who may have seemed odd in my Rock Cathedral, the affectionate name of my pad (more like a Chapel, really, given its dimensions). For me, the boys in dreadlocks have everything to do with rock’n’roll, not by their sound, but by their attitude. Completing the ambiance, on the wall behind the entry, the theatrical and polemical Marilyn Manson, with his traditional made-up face and his albino eyes. Even though it seems as if there were no possibility of hanging anymore posters, there were still spaces for more pictures of my favorite bands; I just needed the money to go buy them. This strange, orange-eyed man was not the only one impressed with the images and the apartment. My friends also thought it was awesome—“Shit, Al, I'd like to live alone like you do, bro. My mother doesn't let me even change the position of my own bed, it sucks!” I hear rants like that all the time—my friends from college always want to do our group assignments at my apartment because they like the freedom here.

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“Please, sit down!” I showed my only chair to the old man. “So, what's the deal? You know my name, where I live—who knows what else? And you come to me with this strange story that you need my help. What gives? Who are you?” “Al, I'll come straight to the point! My name is quite well known, some call me the Devil, others call me Beelzebub, Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, Satan, the Evil One. Others prefer Old Nick, the Beast, King of Darkness, Evil Spirit, Black Goat, the Damned, the Excommunicated, Demon, the Unclean One, Spirit of Filth, and many other names. To be honest with you, I was shocked to realize that all these names referred to me. But my true name is Lucifer, to be exact, Luciffer Grttwanm.”He told me that with total tranquility. I couldn't help myself and let out an ironic laugh. “Ha, ha, ha! Nice to meet you, I'm the queen of England. So, old man, you dare to come knocking on my door at this time of the morning, telling that you really need my help, and now you want to tell me a joke? My friend, do I look like a sucker? Please leave my house right now!” I walked towards the door to open it, but he insisted: “Al Pacino, I'm not lying! I expected that attitude—after all, my image has always been misrepresented and that's why I'm here.” “Listen, buddy, I need to go to school, so leave me alone.” I opened the door; he got up from the chair, but continued speaking. “Okay, Al, we don't need to fight. I'm a real lover of architecture, arts, history, and culture, so, although right now you think I'm making fun of you, I’m going to ask you to do something. Please meet me in front of the National Congress, 21


which, as you know, is the architectural structure that houses the power in your country. Once there, I'll prove to you that I'm really Luciffer and will clarify the reasons that made me look you up,” he said. “Man, you've got to be kidding! On top of it all, you also want me to meet you in front of the Congress? You’re not serious, are you?” I protested. “See Al, today you have only the first class, Civil Procedure,” he said. I got pissed and spoke forcefully. “Hold on, you’re in with some friend of mine to pull my leg, right?” He smiled. “No, my friend, I've never had any contact with anyone you know, but I've been observing you for some time. Relax, young man, I come in peace! Look, we can meet at 11 o’clock today, that’s enough time for you to attend class and get to the National Congress on time. I'll wait for you until 11:30— if you don't come, I'll know that you didn't believe me and didn't want to give me a chance.” At that moment, I couldn't resist and interrupted him abruptly. “Okay, old timer, don't waste your time. I'm not going anywhere to listen to your madness!” “Al, that’s your right, your free will. But it makes me very sad, since I don't have any other person on planet Earth with your characteristics that could help me. Even so, I promise to respect your wish and I swear you'll never see me again,” he said. “Oh, that’s great! I can live really well with that decision. Good-bye!” I mumbled impatiently and made a gesture with my 22


arm indicating the door—“Please close the door on your way out,” I said. The crazy guy, very polite, I must admit, looked more like an aristocrat from some old movie. When he passed by me, he gave me one last affable smile and said, “Have fun at school!” I went back to the table to finish drinking my coffee and eating my toast. “Damn, everything‟s cold!”

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I DON'T LIKE ATHEISTS