November 9 (Wednesday)
Place: Sao Paoulo
What to do: Lean the history of Brazil
Accommodation: Staying with Simoni’s Brazilian friends from Mato Grosso sisters Daniela and Rafaela
After few days of race around the cities, beaches and buses I finally get my own room in a city.
One month ago Dani and Rafa went to the shelter to get a dog. They didn’t have any plan about the specific dog in advanced. But when they came to the place there were many cute dogs, very active and funny. But simultaneously they decided to get the worst dog which no one would take ever. That’s how they got Lucas)
I haven’t been interested in Brazilian history during my 3,5 months in Brazil. But today somehow we started conversation about it and I didn’t want to stop until I know everything I wanted. Here is my short summarize.
Brazil was officially “discovered” in 1500. The beginning of the country of Brazilians brings us back to 16th century when Portuguese ships reached an unknown continent with innocent inhabitants, discovered gold (emeralds and diamonds later on), and this was the end of the country of Indigenous. This was the zero point. Everything apart from natural resources was imported to Brazil starting from this point.
There were no TV News, so it was hard to say, who actually found this continent first. Spain was doubting that Portuguese were the first ones, and also wanted to be the owners of the land. The only thing Portuguese cared was gold, so they said, listen, we want this shiny metal, this is out part, and you can take the rest with forests. Spanish said – ok, fine. So, they made a deal. That’s how Brazil appeared to be the only country in SA speaking Portuguese.
Natives were far away from development progress and met the newcomers as gods, were not afraid of them and didn’t want to fight. Europeans tried to use it as an advantage, but their attempts to enslave them or to involve Indigenous into religion leaded to failures. As far as there were no need of these useless people Portuguese simply killed them. Portuguese killed the entire nation. Church was the most powerful instrument and it was pretty easy to ask religious people to kill the ones who didn’t have a god in their hears. And if you don’t have a god in your heart, it means you have a devil. And if you have a devil in your heart – you shouldn’t live.
Nowadays Bolivia is the only country in South America with native South Americans who have roots, relatives and souls born in this continent. This is the only county with genetically descendants of hundreds of generations before. There are very very few real native South Americans, who survived, and who are spread around South America’s countries. All the other people generations have started their existence as South Americans from this zero point. They all were brought here. Majority of the first population were African slaves and Portuguese prisoners. The mortal rate was extremely high and they needed to bring as much female as male to produce more people in a natural way. This was working pretty ok since people never knew a different life.
At the beginning of 19th century the royal family had to escape from Portugal persecuted by Napoléon’s armies. This brought to Brazil the spoon of educated society. At 19th century slavery was officially ended together with independence.
No Brazilians ever fight for independence as this country was never truly theirs. There is no such a thing like Brazilian culture, it can be Dutch, African, Portuguese. Anything labeled “Brazilian” is a composite material brought here from abroad.
This discussion brings me to these thoughts: there are so many talks today about importance of saving the plants or animals who can disappeared from our planet. And there were plants and animals in this planet who disappeared without our help because we were simply not here yet. Dinosaurs died not because we destroyed rain-forests, put too much chemicals in the ocean or produced too much plastic. And here are the real people, the real unique nationality which is probably much less left then some tigers’ families. But people are not doing anything to save these people. This is really really sad.
After the morning talk we decided to continue my introduction to Brazilian history at Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand – MASP standing on one of the most famous districts Paulista. After just entering the museum we attended event called Global Forum for Sustainable Development. Well… we got out of the elevator and bumped up into the plants which looked like gifts and we wanted to get them. From the first ask they didn’t agree because it’s only for the people who are attending the event but registration is already finished. Then I asked them what is this event about anyway. They said it’s about to save plants as there are some species which can disappeared from earth. Then I asked how about native indigenous who can disappear from this planet much faster? After this question they said I can keep the plant and invited to attend the event with pleasure.
If I’m right the meeting was to discuss 17 objectives of United Nations organization with the main topic about slave labor which they call jobs given to people with bad conditions and low salary. I got the simulation translator with a horrible voice with limited knowledge in English who was talking very slowly to fill the gaps of the words she didn’t know. But Dani was happy because of one of the participants – famous speaker Leonardo Sakamoto – one of the most famous Brazilian journalists talking about human rights. Industries don’t want to pay to their employees but they have to understand development is not cheap. We use the things made by low payed workers, but this is very close to us.
I couldn’t stand this speech coming into my head from the headphones and we left before I got my answer about native indians.
The main exposition has two main keys: the first one – “old” Brazilian culture which I personally don’t accept as “Brazilian”, but Africans and Portuguese with a little bit of help of some other Europeans. The other one – the “beautiful one” as Dani said – is a collection of old paintings. The design of the exposition is made by Lina Bo Bardi Brazilian architect which looks kind of weird when you are dealing with this kind of art. The names of the paintings are placed behind as the idea to give some fun to the visitors.
Today we were talking a lot about native Indians. This is a very famous picture by Debret (Dinner, 1839) where he represents the black slaves’ labor. In 2015 Rodrigo Leão made this cover for Le Monde Diplomatique magazine to show that years passedб but nothing changed. Daniela says this is totally the face of Brazil.