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Sunday, April 06, 2014

"Camus vê o Cristo como um homem, não como um sábio"

Trecho pequeno da entrevista com Arnaud Corbic na Revista Le Point número 15. (Tradução do Gustavo)
"Camus vê o Cristo como um homem, não como um sábio"

'Le Point: Camus era um ateu?
Arnaud Corbic: Não, ele até se defende de ser. Ele escreveu nos seus Cadernos: "Eu leio frequente que eu sou ateu, e ouço falar do meu ateísmo. Essas palavras não me dizem nada, elas não têm sentido pra mim. Eu não creio em Deus e eu não sou ateu." É um agnóstico para quem a questão da existência de Deus é filosoficamente indecidível. Mas é um agnóstico consequente: ele assume essa condição e vive como se Deus não existisse.'

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

"Camus is not a reformer"


This is part of an interview with Lou Marin published on the magazine "Le Point" number 15, about Albert Camus. Gustavo's translation.

You affirm that with his measured conception of revolt, Camus is close to the libertarian streams. How so?
There is a strong non-violent and anti-authoritarian stream at the core of the libertarian thought, and Camus is very close to it. He is not a reformer. The revolt, he says, has a relation with the revolution. But this revolution has to be made in favour of life, not against it. That is to say, in advancing History without terror, or without violence. His conception of revolt goes through a moment of total denial of oppression, questioning all domination. A moment when the power is on the streets. We saw that recently at Tahrir Square in Egypt or Taksim Place in Turkey... To Camus, this first moment, non-violent, has to remain the ideal of the revolution. Otherwise it betrays the origin of the revolt. When the revolution is faithful to its original values, Camus supports it.
...
He fought along with libertarians for the cause of conscientious objectors, those men who refused to take arms. Why does he maintain that so much?
He has always claimed the right to be a conscientious objector. To him, England had shown the excellency of its system by not suppressing this right, even during the war. He brought his support to the pacifist militant Louis Lecoin who, during the 50s, launched a campaign in favour of conscientious objectors. People blame sometimes Camus for being silence on the Algerian question in 1957 and 1958. Therefore we must be aware that at the time, to make one public declaration in favour of conscientious objectors could not not have influence!

"Can we make a party of those who are not sure to be right?", wrote Camus in Défense de l'homme in 1949... Is it not that deep inside, more than a libertarian, he was fundamentally a skeptic?
This was a sentence pronounced against the communist and Marxist ideology which, according to him, seeks to always be right, and has always seen the future in detriment of the present. But to Camus, we cannot sacrifice men to shorten the path towards a dreamed future. He was one of those who did not want to hide a truth in the name of an ideology. And for him, the writer has to speak through the weak, the oppressed, the conquered in History. He himself, because of tuberculosis, always felt near of a certain form of weakness... In his Carnets, he wrote "property is murder". That goes very far!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Violence in Brazil and Mennonites in North America

   I began last month to take action to inform Mennonites in North America about the problems of violence in Brazil. I met staff at the Ottawa Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). I also wrote an article about the subject and submitted it to the Canadian Mennonite magazine on Fabruary 12th 2014. Days before sending the article to them, I sent to a small circle of friends, asking for feedback, which was positive. I haven't heard yet any response or acknowledgement from the Canadian Mennonite magazine. Six days ago I emailed the editors asking some acknowledgement, but I haven't heard back yet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

"Things Fall Apart" - The Al-Aqsa Intifada - CPT


"On March 16, 2003, an Israeli military bulldozer crushed ISM [International Solidarity Movement] activist Rachel Corrie as she was trying to prevent it from demolishing a Palestinian home. Corrie, 23, from Olympia, Washington, had been part of an ISM team in Rafah (Gaza strip) for the previous two months. Israeli forces in Jenin shot American ISM volunteer Brian Avery in the face on April 5, 2003 - as he stood with other ISMers in front of an Armoured Personnel Carrier - for which he required several reconstructive surgeries. Five days later, Israeli soldiers shot British International Solidarity Movement volunteer Tom Hurndall in the head. Hurndall had been shepherding a group of Palestinian children out of a narrow passage where they had been playing when shooting started. Soldiers opened fire from a tank-mounted machine gun. Hurndall had just taken the hand of a little girl when the bullet hit him in the head. He remained comatose until his family disconnected him from life support in January 2004. Corrie, Avery, and Hurndall were all wearing fluorescent orange or red vests identifying them as human rights accompaniers when the Israeli military killed or injured them.
  These attacks hit everyone who had worked on the [Christian Peacemaker Team] Hebron team hard.  Corrie, Avery, and Hurndall had all participated in the trainings led by the Hebron team. Furthermore, many Hebron team members, as well as their Israeli, Palestinian, and International friends, had stood between bulldozers and their designated targets as part of their work.
  An Urgent Action put out on April 12, 2003, quoted Le Anne Clausen as saying.
  'It feels like open season on peace activists. It's been open season on Palestinians all along, now the lack of accountability in the Israeli military has reached a new level. For Palestinians, the threat of 'transfer' (ethnic cleansing) looms large; the Israeli attacks on human rights workers accompanying them seem to be part of a move by Sharon administration in this direction. If the internationals can be chased away, what will happen to the Palestinian civilians?'

Fragment from
"In Harm's Way: A History of Christian Peacemaker Teams" by Kathleen Kern.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Violence in Brazil



Violence in Brazil

An article by Gustavo Frederico

   An elementary school teacher in Rio de Janeiro, a friend of mine, described once how he and the students had to duck under the tables, caught in the crossfire. In December of 2013 at a penitentiary in Maranhão, three men were decapitated in a riot. Allegedly, leader inmates would extort others to have sex with their wives during visits and the three turned down the proposal. Because of the riot, the Government “occupied” the overcrowded prison. In retaliation to that, inmates ordered from within the prison a wave of violence in São Luís, with four buses burned and police stations attacked.     On the 14th of July of 2013, Amarildo Dias de Souza, a father-of-six construction worker, was taken by police for questioning during Operation Armed Peace, a crackdown against the poor (or drug traffickers, depending on the version) in Rocinha, the largest slum of Rio de Janeiro. Amarildo was tortured for 40 minutes by four police officers, with plastic bags and drowning. The Justice system today charges 25 police officers with involvement in his death. The operation was part of the so-called Pacifying Police Units, or UPPs, new units of the police in that city that occupy slums with heavy weapons to enforce “peace”. These are only a few stories of many that I could mention.  
    Violence is part of everyone’s everyday life in Brazil, even though certain groups are disproportionally more affected. For instance, homicide rates of blacks is twice as high as that of whites. Two well-known movies show how violence is commonplace for all: “City of God” and “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within”. A poll by the IPEA Institute in 2010 found that 79% of the population is very much afraid of being assassinated.  Only one in ten is not afraid of being assassinated. The homicide rate was 27.1 per 100 thousand inhabitants in 2011, with 106,603 homicides. While there was a noticeable decrease in the national rate around 2005, it still oscillated in recent years, and the total number of deaths is still very high. The official numbers recorded from 1980 to 2011 is of 2,347,082 violent deaths in Brazil. The rate in Canada in 2012 was 1.56 per 100 thousand inhabitants, the lowest since 1966. In the State of Alagoas, the homicide rate for young black individuals in 2011 was 201.2 per 100 thousand inhabitants. That is twice higher the homicide rate of Honduras, which ranks country number one in violence in the world.
    The “Map of Violence 2013” published by the Sangari Institute compares some numbers taking the “Global Burden of Armed Violence” report of the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. In the top 12 armed conflicts in the world from 2004 to 2007 - including Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Colombia, Congo, etc - there were officially 169,574 direct deaths. During the same period, Brazil officially recorded 206,005. In fact, that number is closer to the total official number of direct deaths of the top 62 armed conflicts in the world combined in the period: 208,349.
    Brazil is a country of contrasts. A general notion abroad is that the economy is getting better after president Lula came to power in 2003. The most recent census, however, indicate that around 11 million inhabitants suffer from hunger. The prison population grew 400% in the previous 20 years, being the 4th largest in the world today with 574,000 inmates. Even being the sixth largest economy in the world today, the country ranks very low worldwide in income distribution. While poverty and income inequality have decreased in the previous decade, with 35 million people out of extreme poverty, the rates of violence did not show similar decline in the period. From 2000 to 2009, the national homicide rate has stayed relatively stable around 26 deaths per 100 thousand inhabitants per year. 
    The Catholic National Conference of Bishops of Brazil promotes yearly the “Fraternity Campaigns” during the Lent season with different themes. Violence was the theme of 2009, 1983 and 1973. In 2004 and 2005, there was a national disarmament campaign involving different religious organizations, NGOs and the Government. More than 220 churches were collection points of firearms. With that, however, we cannot say that non-violence is a noticeable characteristic of Christian institutions in Brazil. Sadly, many Christian politicians and practitioners often profess troublesome discourses that are incompatible with a message of non-violence.   
    The Mennonite Central Committee had an office in Brazil for 44 years. It was closed in 2012. Most of the work focused on rural programs (water access, food security projects and health programs), while the latter years had local programs with issues of family violence and peace education in the city of Recife.
    I left Brazil in 1998 and violence was one important issue for the decision. I grew up in a Baptist church, but I never heard of Martin Luther King Jr. In Canada, I got to know part of the rich history of non-violence of Anabaptists. Christian Peacemaker Teams, for example, has a beautiful history of action in zones of conflict, an emphasis that deserves our continued support. Ronald J. Sider’s speech at the Mennonite World Conference of 1984, which led to the formation of CPT, said that “we need to reject the ways we have misunderstood or weakened Jesus' call to be peacemakers.” He then made a challenging appeal for North American and European Anabaptists to engage actively in direct nonviolent action, especially in zones of conflict. Since then, CPT continues to send teams to zones of conflict. It would be nice if the history of Anabaptist practices of non-violence were available in Portuguese. It would be nice if Canadian and Brazilian youth, perhaps facilitated by technology, could connect and think about what it means to be peacemakers in practice in their contexts. And it would be nice if the world kept in mind during this year of Soccer World Cup that Brazilians can laugh and cry.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Write for Human Rights Write-a-thon at the Ottawa Mennonite Church

I organized a write-a-thon for the Write for Human Rights small group at the Ottawa Mennonite Church the other Sunday. I put the announcement 3 weeks before in the bulletin. It was after service, and I scheduled 2 hours for it. Not many people stayed and participated, but the 6 that were there wrote many letters. I prepared documents with case profiles and directions for mailing the petitions. The petitions included peace in South Sudan, peace in Syria, free Rafael Braga Vieira in Brazil, close Guantanamo, and Indigenous peoples' rights & resource exploration. Here are the petitions for download.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Who but the Lord?

I listened to this poem by Langston Hughes watching the "King: a Filmed Record" DVD. In chapter 4, around 32:10. In this excerpt at Democracy Now, it's at 22:22.

Who but the Lord?
by Langston Hughes

I looked and I saw
That man they call the Law.
He was coming
Down the street at me!
I had visions in my head
Of being laid out cold and dead,
Or else murdered
By the third degree.

I said, O, Lord, if you can,
Save me from that man!
Don’t let him make a pulp out of me!
But the Lord he was not quick.
The Law raised up his stick
And beat the living hell
Out of me!

Now I do not understand
Why God don’t protect a man
From police brutality.
Being poor and black,
I’ve no weapon to strike back
So who but the Lord
Can protect me?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Justiça Restaurativa

 Intersections

Outono de 2013, volume 1, número 4
Compilado por Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz e Stephen Siemens
Justiça Restaurativa: a promessa e o desafio





(Início do texto)

O Comitê Central Menonita (MCC) tem uma história longa e pioneira de prática e teoria de justiça restaurativa tanto no Canadá como nos Estados Unidos. Por exemplo, Howard Zehr, o primeiro diretor da Secretaria de Crime e Justiça da MCC nos Estados Unidos tem o crédito de apresentar uma ótica diferente para olha nosso sistema legal e o crédito de conclamar um novo paradigma de justiça relacionada a crime. Essa mudança paradigmática envolvia mudar as perguntas feitas dentro de um sistema de justiça punitiva - "quais leis foram quebradas?","quem cometeu o crime?" e "qual deve ser a punição? - para um novo conjunto de perguntas focando no que a justiça requer de vítimas e perpetrador, questões como "quem foi ferido?", "quais necessidades surgiram do crime?", e "sobre quem recaem as obrigações de corrigir as coisas da melhor forma possível?"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On brain transplant and salvation

  I have a question for Christians: suppose that Jack is not a Christian. He goes into coma and has a cerebral death. But he receives a brain transplant from Peter and lives. Next day he converts to Christianity. The next day he dies. Who will go to heaven, Jack or Peter?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

National Inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada

  The Native Women's Association  of Canada urging the Canadian government to create a National Inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. They created a petition to the Federal Government with this request. The petition is also promoted by the United Church of Canada.
   Here are the links:

http://www.united-church.ca/getinvolved/takeaction/130612

http://www.nwac.ca/press-release-immediate-release-2013-10-18-en

  Last Sunday and the next Sunday the Adult Formation Class at the Ottawa Mennonite Church explores a "Feminist reading of the nativity story". Knowing about the schedule of the class in advance, I was able to select a petition related to the subject. I collected a good number of signatures on the one copy of the petition that I had and sent it yesterday to the Right Honourable Stephen Harper.

Write for Rights on the International Human Rights Day

  Today I went to the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) to join them in their "Write for Rights" write-a-thon. Amnesty International promoted events all over the world, inviting groups to write for cases of Human Rights problems. I invited the few other members of the OMC small group to come along, but there was no reply. It was a very productive night, where we took the time to write by hand to various leaders about specific cases of Human Rights violations. I know there were other locations in Ottawa where other groups also gathered to do the same.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Open For Justice campaign in Canada

  The second petition that the Write for Human Rights small group from the Ottawa Mennonite Church signed and sent was related to the issue of mining. The Open for Justice campaign was launched this year, supported by many organizations. It asks for mining companies to be accountable for their actions abroad. And it asks for Canadian legislation to change so that affected communities have access to the Canadian courts, and have a chance of fair trial. So far this has not happened. And the behaviour of Canadian mining companies show a record of human right abuses in poor countries. And the majority of these affected communities have no access to justice in their home countries either. The self-regulatory mechanisms that Canada tried to implement, where the companies themselves would voluntarily avoid and resolve conflicts with communities did not work. More than a legal problem, mining by Canadian companies abroad pose a problem of justice: not only the justice are systems by-passed, the mining deals are in themselves extremely unfair economically to the communities living on or near the exploited areas.
  Here are the petitions that we discussed, signed and sent over. In PDF and in Word. They were addressed to the Honourable Minister Edward Fast and the Honourable Minister Peter Gordon MacKay.

  Here are some links to the campaign:
    From the United Church of Canada
    From the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability
    From Amnesty International Canada

  I sent my letter 3 weeks ago and haven't received any response yet.

Ricardo Esquivia - Colombia - Write for Human Rights

  We started at the Ottawa Mennonite Church a small group called "Write for Human Rights". We choose a subject and write petitions together. The 1st petition was on behalf of Mr. Ricardo Esquivia from Colombia, who has received threats and false accusations. To know more the case, access this link. Here are the letters that we sent: in PDF and in Word.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Via Dialética

  Perguntaram ao amigo Nelson Costa Jr.: "existe alguma coisa que a religião possa dar que o mundo secular não possa?"
  Uma primeira resposta provisória é "sim". É "sim" para bilhões de pessoas que encontram na religião algum sentido. E é impossível eu avaliar em primeira mão as experiências das outras pessoas. Posso acreditar em suas palavras quando declaram que têm uma determinada religião, o que é suficiente para assumir que a religião tem algum significado para sua identidade.
  A minha resposta seria incompleta e provisória. O problema ao meu ver desloca-se para a arena da filosofia e da linguagem. Tenho pra mim que os significados das linguagens são todos construídos. Advêm dos muitos eventos complexos que formam a pessoa em seus contextos. Assim também, as linguagens "religiosa" e "secular" são construídas. E a divisão entre o que é linguagem "religiosa" e o que é linguagem "secular" também.
  Algumas pessoas dizem que não existe divisão entre o secular e o religioso. As ramificações dessa afirmação, contudo, nem sempre são exploradas. Tenho pra mim a atribuição de significados religiosos às coisas ao redor do ser humano (e às coisas "invisíveis" também) não foi um processo isolado da atribuição de significados não-religiosos. Ao mesmo tempo em que os seres humanos evoluíram na organização social e na descoberta da ciência, também criaram seus mitos, que nada mais são que histórias reflexivas.
  Um caminho interessante seria pensar em equivalências entre linguagens religiosas e seculares. Nesta exploração noto, por exemplo, que códigos moralistas de comportamento sexual adotados por religiosos só se vestem de uma linguagem sagrada para dizer, no frigir dos ovos, a mesma coisa que uma grande parcela moralmente conservadora da população brasileira independente de religião. Neste caminho, o desafio está em 1) conversar sobre como conversar e 2) desconstruir estas linguagens e procurar trabalhar com re-significações das linguagens, independentemente de serem "religiosas" ou "seculares" (porque como vimos esta divisão é artificial). Assim, "pecado", sendo um termo "sagrado", seria "dessacralizado" provisoriamente e explorado pelos caminhos dialético e dialógico. Cedo nos daremos conta de que nos encontraremos em uma conversa mais filosófica e menos dogmática.
   Como esse caminho entende que os significados do que é religioso foram fabricados ao longo da História, o ônus de justificativa de finalidade e significados recai sobre a religião. E se a religião morrer nesse caminho? Enterra e faz um funeral.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Carta a um crente

Caro crente,
  Posso pegar um pedacinho da sua Bíblia? Não é nem um versículo inteiro. "estive preso, e vocês me visitaram" Mateus 25:36b. Tenho um pedido nada retórico: depois de pôr isso em prática, me diga como foi. Estou esperando.


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Petição por Ricardo Esquívia, Colômbia




A Asociación Sembrando Semillas de Paz (Sembrandopaz) emite uma AÇÃO URGENTE para a segurança física e jurídica e direito à boa reputação e a um processo justo de Ricardo Esquívia Ballestas, diretor desta organização, assim como de outros líderes do processo comunitário da Zona da Montanha Alta de El Carmen de Bolívar, Colômbia.

Ações recomendadas
§  Manter Ricardo Esquívia, os membros da equipe da Sembrandopaz e os líderes da Zona da Montanha Alta de El Carmen de Bolívar em oração.
§  Espalhar amplamente esta Ação Urgente.
§  Solicitar ao Estado da Colômbia (veja as instruções aqui) para se pronunciar sobre este problema e tomar todas as medidas cabíveis para assegurar o respeito à vida, integridade física, direito a um processo justo e boa reputação de Ricardo Esquívia, dos membros da equipe da Sembrandopaz e dos líderes da Zona da Montanha Alta de El Carmen de Bolívar.
§  Solicitar ao Estado colombiano que se pronuncie sobre esta questão e apoiar a participação social e total implementação da Lei de Restituições de Terras e Vítimas e rejeitar todas as ações contra este processo.
§  À comunidade internacional, comunicar-se com seus representantes públicos e com a embaixada colombiana em seu país para manifestar preocupação e solicitar apoio para esta ação urgente.
§  Solicitar ao Estado colombiano a garantia dos direitos a um processo justo e à integridade física de Jorge Montes no seu local de prisão para que ele não seja sujeitado à tortura e maus tratos.

Leis e antecedentes
Fontes confiáveis confirmaram uma ameaça iminente por autoridades colombianas contra a liberdade de Ricardo Esquívia Ballestas e de membros do comitê de coordenação do Movimento da Zona de Alta Montanha de El Carmen de Bolívar e contra a legitimidade da Asociación Sembrando Semillas de Paz (Sembrandopaz).
A Sembrandopaz foi fundada sob a liderança de Ricardo Esquívia Ballestas em 2005 com o apoio e patrocínio da Igreja Menonita da Colômbia com o objetivo de acompanhar processos comunitários de justiça e de paz no Montes de María e região caribenha da Colômbia.  A Sembrandopaz é uma expressão ativa dos valores da não-violência, da solidariedade e do amor ao próximo, com os quais a Igreja Menonita mundial está comprometida desde seu início do século XVI.  Desde a sua formação inicial na Igreja Menonita, Ricardo Esquívia tem acompanhado os processos de construção da paz, da dignidade humana e da conciliação, ao lado de igrejas e comunidades locais na região dos Montes de María por aproximadamente 40 anos.
Há um ano, a Sembrandopaz iniciou o acompanhamento do movimento da Zona de Alta Montanha de El Carmen de Bolívar, cujas comunidades organizadas pelos seus direitos a indenizações integrais e transformadoras, um retorno digno à sua terra, garantias de não repetição e apoio do estado para a solução das morte das culturas de abacate em mais de 40 comunidades rurais da região de Montes de María.
O movimento comunitário da Zona de Alta Montanha fez uma marcha pela paz de 5 a 8 abril de 2013 para exigir um diálogo com as autoridades locais, estaduais e nacionais, que começou em San Jacinto em 7 de abril e continua até o momento.  O movimento tem contribuído para promover a conciliação entre as comunidades antes divididas e fracionadas da Zona Alta Montanha e para incentivar a participação dos cidadãos no diálogo.
Em 3 de setembro deste ano [2013], apareceram folhetos na Zona de Alta Montanha em toda as comunidades de Macayepo e Lazaro, ameaçando vários líderes do movimento, incluindo o coordenador do movimento, Jorge Luis Montes Hernández.  Esse documento acusa os líderes de roubo, extorsão e associação com as FARC-EP e é assinado por um grupo paramilitar de autodefesa, "Los Urabeños" e BACRIM.
Em 9 de setembro [de 20213], o promotor de El Carmen de Bolívar convocou o líder comunitário, Jorge Montes, para se apresentar em seu escritório e lá o prendeu por meio de um mandado.  Na audiência pré-julgamento, em 11 de setembro, o Sr. Jorge Montes foi acusado dos crimes de pertencer à 35ª Frente das FARC-EP, formação de quadrilha, homicídio, deslocamento forçado, extorsão e outros.
Segundo fontes fidedignas, as ameaças contra Ricardo são semelhantes às ações e processos iniciados contra ele por autoridades colombianas em 1989, 1993 e 2004, com base em falsas acusações que foram posteriormente suspensas por falta de fundamento.
No final do mês de junho deste ano, após o acompanhamento da Sembrandopaz na Marcha pela Paz da Zona de Alta Montanha, dois membros internacionais da equipe da Sembrandopaz com vistos religiosos temporários para apoiar a Igreja Menonita da Colômbia, Anna Vogt do Canadá e Lariza Zehr dos Estados Unidos, foram convocados ao escritório de Relações Exteriores da Colômbia para verificar a validade da sua situação migratória, com a possibilidade de deportação.  Este processo ainda não foi resolvido.
Assine a petição para interromper a perseguição política de Ricardo Esquívia e trabalhadores colombianos de direitos humanos. Pare por um momento para escrever uma carta aos representantes do governo colombiano e membros importantes da comunidade internacional.



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Texto originalmente publicado em Inglês e Espanhol no Blog de Advocacy na América Latina do Comitê Central Canadense Menonita. Ver link aqui.