RAPIDINHAS

    RAPIDINHAS

    President Fernando Henrique Cardoso called the march undemocratic
    since one of its objectives was to oust him. But more than a thousand buses brought in
    participants from all over Brazil, and they arrived, protested, and left without incident
    and without compromising the republic. The demonstration also showed that Brazil has no
    genuine opposition.
    By Brazzil Magazine

    Misery

    "I think that the world’s biggest problem is the ever widening gap between the
    rich and increasingly richer countries and the huge mass of poor, increasingly poorer
    ones."

    "Poverty is an evangelical virtue. It’s different from misery that goes against
    God’s plans. What we have is misery."

    Capitalism

    "I believe that an economic system, whatever its name (because today there are
    capitalisms, it’s important to stress the plural), whose main concern and sometimes
    exclusive concern is profit, is also an intrinsically materialistic, inhuman system."

    Social Justice

    "People ask me why and when I started to get interested in social justice. I could
    answer that this is a duty of every priest. But I cannot forget that I personally knew
    hunger and misery. That I saw my mother crying and my father silent with bitterness when
    there was nothing to eat, when there was no bread to divide among the children."

    Guerrilla War

    "I’m not tired and I’ll not get tired of proclaiming that when we denounce
    violence, pointing to the reaction of the oppressed or the youngsters who try to act on
    their behalf, this violence is already number 2. I’m not tired and I’ll not get tired of
    proclaiming that violence number 1, the violence mother of all other violence, is the
    injustice that exists all over."

    Revolution

    "I don’t fear the word revolution. I’m only very careful when I use it. As much as
    I respect those who are fighting for a deep and fast social change, forget democratic
    methods and use armed force, in bloody revolutions and guerrilla warfare, I don’t believe
    in hate."

    Subversive

    "Sometimes, extremists tried to call me communist bishop, red bishop. I never had
    the slightest link with any communist system. After 1964, it seemed that to preach about
    agrarian reform was to advocate communism. But this has been refuted so much that today no
    one has the courage to call me a communist."

    Christianity

    "If tomorrow the Latin America masses open their eyes … they will distance
    themselves from Christianity because it will seem to them that their religion is allied to
    the exploiters."

    Persecution

    "The privileged groups and the governments never fight against Christianity. They
    would never do that since they are the defenders of the Christian civilization. What they
    fight is the `communist infiltration’ inside the Church. What seems to be a clever
    stratagem."

    Criticism

    "You can criticize me as much as you wish. Everyone has the right to do this. You
    can attack if you feel like it. But, be honest. Don’t raise the gravest suspicions just on
    the basis of imagination. Don’t judge me by what the newspapers and magazines say that I
    said. Attack me only after checking first if I will have a real chance of defense: it’s
    not fair to beat someone who has his arms tied."

    US Politics

    "The difference between Reagan and Carter is the same that exist between Coca-Cola
    and Pepsi."

    Some sites about Dom Hélder on the Internet:

    http://www.domhelder.com.br/
    http://www.oneworld.org/ccj/noticias/domhelde.htm
    http://www.hotlink.com.br/users/jurandir/Helder.html
    http://www.elogica.com.br/users/assuero/dom.htm
     

    Media
    Apocalypse
    Hysteria

    It might be the colder than usual temperature, the lack of political scandals at home
    or up north in the US, or simply mere laziness. The fact is the Brazilian media went
    overboard during the recent solar eclipse, mixing in the same bag, astronomy and
    astrology, scientific observations and Nostradamus (1503-1566) predictions, April fool
    jokes and astronomical observations, making some people believe that the end of the world
    was imminent.

    The American press virtually ignored the fact since the phenomenon could not be
    observed here. The last solar eclipse of the millenium couldn’t be seen in Brazil either,
    but the national media seemed intent on bringing it home with a vengeance. Television was
    the guiltiest in this game, bombarding the air with catastrophic predictions dressed as
    news that ended by not only scaring adults, but children who didn’t take it as a big joke.

    Rio newspaper O Dia reported several stories of terrorized kids including
    11-year-old Cíntia Rodrigues, who, already resigned to the approaching end of the world,
    asked that her mother, grandmother and her dog Miúcha be together with her, explaining,
    "We need to be embracing when everything ends."

    Another girl, Marisa Medeiros, 10, locked herself in the bathroom for hours until her
    mother, a doctor, found her and with the help of neighbors was able to open the door.
    Marisa was convinced that she was going to lose her family and crouched on the shower box
    waiting for the end. Words of comfort weren’t enough to calm her down, and she had to be
    taken to a hospital.

    Janice Figueira Medeiros, Marisa’s mother, blamed TV for what happened. "It is
    irresponsible for television to broadcast news of the end of the world during times
    accessible to children. The reports say that the end is going to be on a certain day
    without making it clear that this is only a prediction made by a crazy man."

    There was no proof of cause and effect but there were at least three cases of suicide
    in the northeastern state of Piauí attributed to the news about the apocalypse. Even
    publications considered serious entered the Armageddon frenzy. Weekly newsmagazine Isto
    É went to the extreme of dedicating a cover to the subject. Over a black circle
    representing the sun the magazine wrote on the cover: "August 11, The Century’s Most
    Feared Eclipse _ Next week, two days before a Friday 13, sects all over the world will be
    waiting for the Apocalypse. Astrologers foresee conflicts and rebellions." Six pages
    inside echoed the same theme. Época, another news weekly, was just a tad sober,
    writing on the top of its cover: "The Century’s Last Eclipse: Science and Mystery in
    the Sky."

    TV itself, which led the doomsday paranoia, was making fun of the media in the end. TV
    Globo’s anchor ended the news bulletin the morning the world was supposed to end with this
    remark: "In this edition, you learned that the world has not ended. Gosh, what a
    relief. Everything goes ahead then, life continues! End of the world, for now, only our
    media."

    Correio Braziliense, the Brasília daily, was very critical of the frenzy and
    their editors seemed to be having fun. They found a clever way to explore the subject the
    day the world was supposed to go up in smoke. Over a front page completely black they
    wrote in a very small type: Acabou? (Finished Yet).

    Some restaurants and nightclubs used the occasion to throw a party. In Rio’s beach
    neighborhood of Ipanema, the Hippopotamus nightclub organized the "End of the World
    Party" and the host was no less than Nostradamus (actor Leonardo Arantes dressed as
    the prophet) who gave fortune cookies to those who dared to come to the last party.
    Rhapsody, also in Rio, offered what it called the "Last Supper," with bread and
    wine and a reenactment of Christ’s last meal. In Copacabana, the Le Boy nightclub cooked
    up a party called "If it is going to end, may it all end in happiness." And in
    the neighborhood of Santa Teresa, a club, not sure about the outcome, named its
    celebration: "In case the world does not end."

    The telephone at the National Observatory was never so busy, the same thing with
    confessionals. Even the CNBB (Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil—National
    Conference of Brazil’s Bishops) dealt with the subject on its Internet page. In the
    bulletin, "The End of the World," Dom Raymundo Damasceno Assis, CNBB’s general
    secretary, wrote: "Nostradamus’s predictions made in the 16th century can be
    interpreted in several ways and should not be seen as divine revelations."

    Send
    your
    comments to
    Brazzil

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