contexto 2ÂŞ Edition
What is to be done? September 2013 CONTEXTO
THE TEAM Editor in chief: Priscila Bellini Journalists: Tiel Lieder Thiago Cordeiro Marcela Reis Andressa Vilela Poetry: Lucca Maziero Illustration: JĂşlia Dolce Design: Valeska Garcia Photography: Brunno Marchetti Translation: Priscila Bellini
Ilustration Julia Dolce
For a secular Government and press Pag.6
The Statute of absences Pag.8 The Science of discord Pag.10 Poems Lucca Maziero Pag.13 Protests in Egypt
What is to be done? The riots around the world have changed the lives of many people, directly or indirectly. Syrian refugees are even millions, conflicts in Egypt bathe the streets with blood, protests continue in Brazil, being harshly repressed. What is to be done? The world has brought this question - and the panorama that you find in Contexto magazine is nothing more than a help in order to understand what happens in these situations of conflict. Avoiding Manichean judgement when we analyze the exposed situations, and reading the information directly from the right source, where there are conflicts happening are necessary attitudes to prevent manipulation and distortion of facts. The current period of instability brings new questions related to democracy, the issue of sovereignty, conflicts involving religious groups. In this edition, you will find photos of the conflict in Egypt as a highlight and a series of photos and the interview with a young Syrian in her trip to her homeland during the massacre in the region. The illustrations bring the question “Where’s Amarildo?” and other social issues by Júlia Dolce Ribeiro, and include articles about the Statute of Youth recently approved, the controversy generated by the Slut Walk in Rio de Janeiro, as well as the no less controversial statement of Richard Dawkins about Muslims and science. All articles were written by journalists and photographers of Contexto magazine and also translated thanks to the team. For this edition, we’d like to say “thank you” to the journalist Wladyr Nader for the support
and also the help of Qatar Foundation International staff. The Contexto magazine also wants to be your voice - and a way of fighting.
Priscila Bellini Editor in chief: Seja bem-vindo à Contexto! Welcome! Ahla wa sahla!
September 2013 CONTEXTO
Julia Dolce studies Journalism at PUC-SP and presents her work related to social issues.
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For a secular Government and press By Andressa Vilela e Marcela Reis The Pope Francisco’s visit to Brazil happened during the World Youth Day, in Rio de Janeiro from 23 to 28 July. With an average duration of a week, which was proposed by Pope John Paul II in 1985, its goal is to connect the Catholic Church with young Catholics from all over the world, as a popular and religious event. It is a new way of the Catholic Church to interact and talk to youth and their utopias and evangelizing actions. WYD 2013 gathered nearly 3.7 million young people, being the second highest concentration in the history of the event. The event is a milestone in the history of the Brazilian Church and was potentiated by being the first international trip of the new Pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is the first South American pope in History, replaced Pope Benedict XVI, after his abdication in February. For faithful and experts from all over the world, the new Pope is a true renewal of the Catholic Church. Demonstrating humility and closeness to people, Francisco renounced his position’s several luxuries, in addition to showing up closely connected to youth and children. ‘’In contrary of what is claimed, the Argentinian pope was the big name of the conclave, but not the people from Vatican or press’ name. He had been the name in 2005, and I believe he was elected to represent a new form of pastor who will work collegiality, the priority of the dialogue and, especially, the lives of impoverished as ethical and evangelical criteria’’ says the teacher and ph.D. Fernando Altemeyer, currently a professor 6
in the Department of Religious Studies at PUCSP. On the other hand, in his last press conference in the country, the pontiff talked about controversial issues, and when asked about the role of women within the Church, he was categorical in saying that the doors to female priests are closed. About it, Altemeyer believes that changes in relation to the role of women will surely come, despite all the resistance. He says there is much to do, studies, discussions - since it is a subject characterized by cultural sexism and obsolete structures. “This will be changing with internal and external processes related to the Church”, he says. During the WYD, the mainstream media tried to renew the image that Pope Francisco is a new revolutionary formula for the Catholic Church in XXI century. Conservative newspapers and magazines pointed all the spotlights on the figure of the Pope, making their vehicles the place of religious propaganda - obfuscating the demonstrations taking place in favor of a secular State and against overspending with the visit of the new Pope. In addition, since the
end of the conclave, the mainstream media did not question the choice of the first South American for the position, taking into account the context of the crisis faced by the Church today and the situation in which South America is inserted. Pedophilia scandals and corruption cases increased and it’s in Latin America where the progressive and popular governments are increasingly consolidated. Everything points to the increasing loss of the faithful - and Pope Francisco comes with a mission to retrieve them the Church’s credibility, focusing his speech on the poor. - A cry of revolt The demonstration that had more space in the media was the Slut Walk in Rio de Janeiro, which happened for the third consecutive year. On July 27, during the visit of Pope Francisco, about a thousand protesters were getting to Copacabana in the protest against sexism, patriarchy and rape culture - that legitimizes sexual abuse suffered by women, claiming that they are blamed for violence due to their behavior or the way they are dressed. The Slut Walk also claimed for the secularization of the state, and an end for the brutality of the state government, led by Sergio Cabral - and people were asking him, “where is the Amarildo?” At one point, two naked protesters broke and simulated sexual practices with Catholic imagery in the protest, which caused a bad reaction from the faithful that were following the religious event. According to a note published on the Facebook page of those responsible for the Walk, breaking the images did not have any relationship with the organization - being just one example of performance art. Many believe, especially conservative vehicles, that this act delegitimized the whole Slut Walk, as it put in place a disrespectful and intolerant behavior. As a counterpoint, the progressive sectors of society considered the protest a response to centuries of oppression by the
Church, even the oppression against other religions. In accordance with Article 208 of the Penal Code, someone who publicly vilifies “act or object of worship” is can be arrested for a month to a year. According to Altemeyer, “Nothing justifies hurt and despise of people and sacred images.’’ In contrast, the action can be seen
as legitimate if it is considered the fact that the Catholic Church is extremely conservative and oppressive by perpetrating sexist discourse, being intolerant with sexual diversity and position itself against abortion and euthanasia. Furthermore, repudiate the action becomes contradictory, since the religious plurality is rarely tolerated and accepted by Catholics - since the majority of Brazilian society is Catholic and was raised on such precepts. It is noteworthy that the broken images were bought and taken by the very people who carried out the action, not stolen, and the act was not performed in front of an audience of WYD, but during the Slut Walk. The media and the Church, therefore, tried to turn it into a spectacle.
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The Statute of absences By Thiago Cordero
Approved by the National Congress in early July, the Statute awaited the approval from the President Dilma Rousseff, who endorsed it on the 5th of August, in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace. The bill No. 4529, introduced by the congressman Benjamin Maranhão (PMDB / PB) in 2004, finally creates the Statute for Youth and discusses the guidelines of public policies on the
rights of the population between 15 and 29 years. Despite the approval, two items were vetoed by the President: Art. 11, which guarantees half-fare on interstate transport for young students, and § 2 of art. 45, referring to the budget law of the Youth Council. The veto of Article 11, one of the most defended by the people, was justified by the financial impact that its implementation would cause - but two seats were set free and two halffare for low-income youth - insufficient numbers and might be considered irrelevant, if compared to the huge amount of users. According to the Statute, the right of half-price tickets for students, conquered by the student 8
movements in the 1930s, was attacked while being limited to 40% of total tickets available for each event. Ironically, the law that contains this definition has the support of UNE, an institution that bore the right to half-price for over 70 years. Founded in 1938, during the II National Congress of Students, the União Nacional dos Estudantes (National Union of Students, in English) now coordinates the activities of student organizations in Brazil, in order to defend and fight for their rights, and today ranks as the leading organization for Brazilian students rights. The UNE classifies the Statute whose art. 23 violates a major public policy earned by their own efforts, as a great victory for the enhancement of youth, won thanks to the "voice of the streets." Coincidentally - or not - this same Statute grants a "preference" to the issuance of identification cards by the UNE or institutions affiliated to it. Until 2001, the institution had a monopoly in the supply of CIE – the student’s ID but a government intervention granted the right to give the students ID to any association or establishment focused on students and approved by the government. Since this intervention, the falsification of the document began to intensify, displeasing companies and producers linked to culture and entertainment. These entities began to pressure the government to create legislation or quotas for the sale of halfprice tickets, and since they didn’t have support, a successive increase of prices initiated. A vicious cycle regarding the increase of the prices for cultural events began in Brazil. The “half-price” emerged with the goal of pursuing a "social justice" in entertainment: workers subsidizing those who are still studying. However, the big problem focuses on the fact
that the cultural sector in Brazil can not be considered homogeneous, and there is a clear division between artists and productions of the general public, subsidized by incentive laws, and small, independent productions and artists who use the half-price to attract the audience. Regarding the ticket prices, some entrepreneurs argue that there are cases in large productions that the entries are sold for twice the original price, to cover the losses of an audience almost entirely composed of half-price tickets - and most of them are bought using fake sutdent’s ID. Now, with the Statute of Youth responsible for student’s ID cards, it comes back to the command of UNE - which brings a question: formation of monopoly purely commercial, or a well-intentioned attempt to centralize in order to prevent fraud ? Maybe a bit of both, though centralizing isn’t the best solution in the long run. Because of these centralizing measures, many groups and student organizations positioned themselves against the Statute, criticizing the "mafia of student’s ID cards" and arguing that there is a prioritization of the entertainment business’ interest. The National Assembly of Free Students (Assembleia Nacional dos Estudantes Livres, ANEL), a group of students who disagrees with how policies are being conducted by the student representative institutions, said on its website that they believe that "UNE sold our right [a half-price] in exchange for the monopoly of ID cards." In the same week of the sanction of the bill, ANEL promoted an online petition, demanding the repeal of the Statute of Youth. With the approval of the Statute, once again we see a state with structural flaws, though measures that may have "good intentions" - but do not succeed, in practice. A bill that aimed to define principles and guidelines for strengthening and organization of youth policies became a reaffirmation of abstract rights already guaranteed, without providing any significant improvement to the social or economic conditions of that class.
There isn’t a "social justice" while the entertainment centers of culture are far from low-income population. With culture focusing on areas of elite, of high-income population, unfortunately the prices are leveled according to the purchasing power of the region, further hampering access for others. In addition, there are proposals for new solutions, such as “Bolsa Cultura” - a form of direct income transfer far more viable and sustainable. While half-price is something sectored, the “Bolsa Cultura” could help to encourage culture in the suburbs. There is still a lot to think about, in the context of cultural structure in Brazil. The fact is that the Statute of Youth, with its centralizing and exclusionary measures, does not solve the old problems and further expand the exploitation by entrepreneurs and cultural producers. The prices will not decrease and culture will suffer with the loss of the public. There is one more opportunity
to show the strength of “the Giant”: June protests were society's response to a government unable to respond to changing demands in Brazil. Perhaps, now is the time to show that the measures taken were not satisfactory. Should we take the streets again?
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The Science of discord Por Tiel Lieder
Polemic tweet written by Richard Dawkins shows the prejudice against Muslim people
A post on Twitter, by the British biologist Richard Dawkins, has generated reactions, reflections, support and attacks. Already known as someone who defends atheism, Dawkins wrote: "All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, however. " The sentence can’t be considered a Freudian slip, since the biologist, author of " The God Delusion", is an inveterate polemicist who, in March, had already given its share of collaboration for “greater closeness and understanding " between two entities, said "the Muslim world " and "Western world ", declaring that "Islam is the greatest force of evil in the world today." The positive and negative reactions to the phrase sprouted quickly. "You're comparing an academic institution to a specialized group arbitrarily chosen", wrote the Sudanese Nesrine Malik for "The Guardian". "Would he have tweeted another fact, that the Trinity also has twice Nobel that all black people together?", questioned Tom Chivers , also in British newspaper "Telegraph". Dawkins, tirelessly, kept provoking : "Muslims [ gave us ] alchemy and algebra. Indeed. Where would we be without alchemy ?", said the biologist . The question was discussed in Brazil, too. Helio Schwarstman, who writes for one of the most influential Brazilian newspapers, Folha de São Paulo, increased the polemic speeches by comparing the number of Nobel Prizes obtained 10
in the whole history of Muslims (1.2 % of total), compared to those obtained by Jews (22 % of total) - in particular, the Jews named "Ashkenazi", from Central Europe.
After that, arguments were released to stop the theory that the Jews could be more intelligent than Muslims. Editor of the online version of Carta Capital magazine, the journalist Jose Antonio Lima published the article “Prejudice masquerade as science”, to argue that the hypothesis raised by Dawkins and Schwarstman wasn’t right, as in this excerpt: “It is expected of a civilized world that science is used to solve problems, not to create rankings about which 'races' are better or smarter. In the particular case of the Jews, a biological genetic research would be particularly useful: the one made by Michael Hammer at the University of Arizona, U.S., in 2000, and Almut Nebel at Hebrew University, Israel, in 2001. They showed that Jews and Arabs, particularly Palestinians, are, in genetic terms, essentially the same population. Who knows, having this in mind, it would be easier for leaders to put an end to the atrocious Israeli occupation imposed on Palestinians." The president of the Institute of Arab Culture, Salem Hikmat Nasser, wrote the article “The Nobel Prize and racial superiority”, which stresses:
"Which one is, exactly, the biology of members of Trinity College? And what about the biology of Muslims, who are everywhere, and people distributed in many different ethnicities? Plus, what happened to the biology of Muslims from the Middle Ages, when, according to Dawkins, they did great things? No History, no Sociology, no Political Science can explain the numbers. Only the biological factor. When affirming the biological superiority of a group – it’s, in essence, what it does, but it has not had the courage to face the taboo - Helium Schwartsman puts his speech in the service of a political agenda of domination." Schwarstman, in turn, defended himself against the article, and maintained its point of view in two other articles: “Science and Prejudice” and “The world as it is”. In the first one, he cares about demonstrating that he keeps in mind that "the experience of History teaches that the combination of racial stereotypes and political ambitions may have dire consequences, even repugnant." However , he maintains the argument that, yes,there is evidence on the different "intelligences" of different population groups or "races", which should be studied further, and they are not part of the "politically correct " speech. He points out the example of the Jews "Ashkenazi", "Does not make much sense to talk about black or white, since they are bigger categories, that include a very large number of groups, but if we think of 'Ashkenazi' or ‘Zulus’, or ‘Hausa’ and other populations that have remained in relative isolation for a few centuries, this might change our conclusion. Well, the controversial hypothesis suggested by Cochran and colleagues is that the typical diseases of the 'Ashkenazi' are byproduct of genes that were maintained throughout the evolutionary history of the group, because they were selected to increase intelligence. And, especially for European Jews, who could only join certain offices such as bankers, traders and middlemen, intelligence had adaptive value. ( ...
) It is wrong to prejudge people, of all colors and sexual orientations, religious or philosophical, for the prosaic reason that we would not want to suffer such treatment if we were in their place, not because equality is inscribed in nature. Because it’s not.” In the second article, the writer inserts religion into the discussion by bringing researches showing
the correlation between intelligence and the lack of religious faith. A thesis or a provocation – they’re both unnecessary. Because even if we consider intelligence, one of the brightest minds in human history, the physicist Albert Einstein once said: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." We are all one After that, let the analysis begin, under a fundamental point of view today – the current society so full of intolerance, hate and violence between "races", "genres", "social classes", "religion" , "soccer teams". The phrase by Dawkins was extremely unfortunate, as, in general, tend to be his propositions which often want to be controversial as a form of advertising rather peculiar. Unfortunate because irresponsible to treat with disrespect and irony a subject that daily affects people all over the world: the split between the worlds "Eastern" and "Western".
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I will not discuss the merits of sociological discussion about which society is best, for the simple reason of being inserted in the Western world, in a big city (São Paulo) , a country like Brazil, which is capitalist (in fact, composed of a minority who lives in the first world luxury, a middle class increasingly indebted, and a majority that barely survives), mainly Catholic - but in practice essentially ecumenical (I 'm a Kardecist, for example). Even when it comes to scientific research, it is difficult for me to set up my society is far more "cultured" or even “better" than a predominantly Muslim society. Neither the scientific merits of the argument, because even among scientists there are totally divergent opinions regarding the subject of “race”. And when it comes to religion, the discussion is even more complex, because so far no one has proved the existence of God, Allah or a higher power, and neither determined its absence, although 11 % of the world population declare itself as atheist. Much less is possible to determine which of the religions (Muslim , Catholic , Buddhist, Protestant, Hindu, Spiritualist, Jewish, African tribal religions, etc.) is the holder of the absolute truth. What this controversy stimulated was the differentiation of people in quality levels, which, in an subliminal analysis can validate exclusionary speeches, oppressive policies, and prejudice. Examples abound in History - some even quite recent and oppressed, among other groups, Jews. Such thoughts do not help the idea of the evolution of world society as a whole, but the disputes, ethnic hatred, the theories of social hygiene, social inequality (disguised as the fallacy of merit), which enables more intelligent or capable.
Even because intelligence is linked primarily to the environment in which the person is raised and located, and even then, is a word or concept that can have many nuances and interpretations, depending, again, on the reality that is related. Scientific researches, obviously, are fundamental to the development of society as a whole. However, they are completely unnecessary when employed in order to segregate through a supposed merit, innate or acquired. Or if there were more Muslims studying at Trinity College (I presume that there are Muslim students at Trinity College), they would be able to take home a Nobel Prize? Or were they unsuccessful because of an alleged political nature of the award? Are we, Brazilians, dumb, because we never won a Nobel Prize? Or does the historical context in which we operate, such as Third World country, subjugated and plundered for centuries, or even our incompetence in prioritizing scientific research as a state policy were the factors that prevented us of winning the Prize? In this subject, it is noteworthy that, of 863 awards granted by the Swedish Academy, the U.S. took only 338 awards. If we include nations such as Germany (101) United Kingdom (118) and France (65), reaches the number of 622 Nobel Prizes, divided by four countries. Even though some say that these numbers are not exact, they approach greatly from reality, and for this reason they are illustrative. And with such Nobel Prize demographics, the question remains: does this mean that the population of these countries is more intelligent than the rest of the world? Or does that mean they had better social, economic and political structure and situation to develop themselves in various areas of human knowledge?
#PROSE AND POETRY
Poems... Lucca Maziero
Burst into flame, giving birth to money sign Replacement, in slow motion, Inaction brings no redemption And production is considered salvation A heart, I don’t have it Though in my chest there’s a space Filled with coal And my turn-on lies in consumption An on-off control of interruption That’s not part of my construction I’m alright, I’m Christian and my God is my boss Here, my brother, There’s no solution, Though, quickly, we create medication I tried to scream but it was in vain The noise of machines As loud as fornication Life is defined by tension Focused on exploration And all pollution poisons my lung Before my fifties I’ll already be in my coffin.
Paranoia of living Feeling and seeing, Being, Looking and foreseeing, Speaking and stopping In the Babylon of steel and power Paranoia of knowing-it-all Without understanding Paranoia of contradictions and institutions Of illusion and the dictatorship of the money sign Paranoia of self-made fears Which subjugate us as slaves Paranoia: cultural, pandemic and visceral Paranoia: existencial. Of being and lying alone With no air In the midst of sea. Our ordinary vision of our world is as huge as the paranoia we live in Our ordinary vision of our world is as huge as the paranoia we live in Our ordinary vision of our world is as huge as the paranoia we live in
Lucca Maziero studies Social Science at University of São Paulo and writes poems and songs.
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PROTESTS in EGYPT
Brunno Marchetti studies Journalism at PUCSP and went to Egypt during the conflicts, taking pictures of both sides of the situation. 14
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â€œUtopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps, it retreats two steps. If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead. No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.What, then, is the purpose of utopia? It is to cause us to advance.â€?
By Fernando Birri.
Contexto is a monthly magazine about politics, social movements and culture.