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„Temple of Desire“ – Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto.


It was like being in paradise. Was I dreaming from the effects of a drug I had inadvertently taken? I slowly walked through what was a replica of the Garden of Eden. There I found neither sin nor any of its effects: poverty, violence, ugliness, filth or fear.

All was absolutely clean: the shining lights, the beauty of every object and the refinement of high technology in the fittings.

Everyone around me appeared to be happy, they looked healthy. No one was barefoot, toothless, lying on pavements or eyeing others with precociously menacing looks. I felt completely safe in that golden pyramid whose tunnels led me to niches of splendour.

The softest shoes for my feet, bright coloured clothes, woollen or leather jackets, well tailored shirts and suits, the latest computers, digital machines, mobile phones with multiple uses were all at my disposal¦ On the upper floor imported fare and deliciously appetizing food, from Pantagruelian sandwiches to sweet crepes, with no trace of cooking odour or beggars or stray cats and dogs waiting for the scraps from the tables. All the venerable objects were served by beautiful priestesses and to contemplate such sophisticated articles delighted the soul.

In the background delicate music played which wasn™t aggressive to the ears and brought spiritual peace. There was neither traffic nor the asphyxiating smell of fumes from motor vehicles. Silently on the avenues alight with fairylike lights the pedestrians slowly walked taking in the marvels which encircled them. They could move from one floor to the next without any effort, they simply had to place their feet on a moving stairway which effortlessly took them to the top.

The atmosphere was filled with a faint odour of perfume; everyone there seemed very happy, free from the harassment of street children, of the spectre of suspicious characters, of the intimidating presence of police cars. There were various talismans capable of giving us self esteem and causing the envy of others. All one had to do was pay for one and consecrate the joy of becoming the owner or such a treasurer as if the genie had come out of Aladdin™s lamp.

The inventiveness of human beings fascinated me. Not that the artifacts were uncommon, on the contrary, they were instruments for writing, sporting equipment, objects of cutlery and optical precision, an infinity of bottles which once opened contained the power of exhaling beauty and fascination. The difference was in the enterprising designers, the attractive esthetics and the sophistication of implements, like a simple bottle opener.

Was I a character in one of Borges™ stories? Was I dreaming or was I the subject of a dream? Being there was as if every day were Sunday with moments of leisure and distraction seduced by that playful place which allowed me to escape reality and believe that I belonged to the select club of those who could enter nirvana.

I didn™t want to wake up; I resisted being expelled from Paradise and, like Lucifer, having to plunge into the infernal routine of hard work, of a mediocre life, of a colourless landscape, of insecurity on the streets and of the polluted atmosphere contaminated by fear. I wanted to remain there forever safe in the acrylic womb of that enormous cathedral inhabited by idols to whom I was devoted, worshipped by immeasurable ambition.

In there I felt close to heaven, to the world of those who were saved from suffering into the sphere of those rewarded by fortune. I was redeemed from that poor humanity which denies us enchantment, magic, the fanciful universe where all pain and anguish are volatised. In there Olympus and all the goods capable of raising a person above his or her equals were available to me.

However, it was time to close the shop windows and lower the doors. I was told by the security guard that the shopping centre would be closing in five minutes.

  • Frei Betto is a writer, author of ”Típicos Tipos “ perfis literários (Typical Types “ literary profiles) (A Girafa).


He is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian.
Within Brazil he is equally famous as a writer, with over 52 books to his name. In 1985 he won Brazil™s most important literary prize, the Jabuti, and was elected Intellectual of the Year by the members of the Brazilian Writers™ Union.

Frei Betto has always been active in Brazilian social movements, and has been an adviser to the Church™s ministry to workers in Sáo Paulo™s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers™ Movement (MST).

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Mittwoch, 06. August 2008 um 23:45 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Kultur, Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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