Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

„A Festival of Books and Ideas“ – Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto.

I participated recently in Italy™s most important book fair in the 4000 year old Lombardy town of Mantua (Montova in Italian) which has 50,000 inhabitants and where Virgil (70-19 BC), author of the ”Aeneid, came from.

The fair, in its 12th year, gathered 213 authors from all over the world. The representatives from Latin America were Marcia Teofilo from Brazil, Eduardo Galeano from Uruguay, Carlos Fuentes from Mexico, Pedro Lemebel from Chile, Alberto Manguel from Argentina and Leonardo Padua Fuentes from Cuba.The selling of books is the least important activity at this fair. The main objective is to encourage contact amongst the authors themselves and with the public. For five days the whole town, which is surrounded by three lakes and is known for its medieval architecture, is mobilised for this event.It is sponsored by the municipality and its success is assured by 600 inhabitants who work as volunteer drivers, one of whom picked me up at the airport and dropped me off there when I left.

Italian sociologist Domenico de Masi who is known in Brazil for his book ”O Ocio Creativo (Creative Leisure) (Sextante) and I exchanged ideas before a crowd of approximately 700 people under a marquee in a garden on Sunday morning. Our dialogue was inspired by ”Diálogos Criativos (Creative Dialogues) which in Italian is entitled ”Desenvolvimento e Felicidade (Development and Happiness), a book we wrote together which was published by the above mentioned publishers

Apart from the friendship which binds us, De Masi and I share our love for Brazil which he has visited dozens of times. He will be in Belo Horizonte shortly at the invitation of the Fundaçáo Dom Cabral. Oscar Niemeyer developed the project for the cultural centre he has in Ravello whose new buildings will be inaugurated in June 2009.

We both agree regarding the dehumanising brought about by a work philosophy based on competition and on the excessive production of superfluous goods. Life is meant to be enjoyed by cultivating friendships, a taste for art, communion with nature, the perfecting of our talents and the deepening of subjective values.

De Masi believes that the two countries of the future are Brazil, due to the joie de vivre of our people and our country™s exuberant nature and China, because of its creativity and self determination. I pointed out that happiness is without exception the greatest gift we all pursue and fortunately the logic of the market is not capable of transforming it into a consumer product.

Because this is not possible, it tries to convince us that happiness is acquired by way of the pleasures of consumerism! Thus happiness is separated from spiritual fulfillment – love, mystique, ethical values – reducing it to the possession of products which, covered with fetish, give worth to those who possess them in a harsh inversion of values turning the object into subject and the subject into object.

For De Masi, there is no happiness without an understanding of the senses, of meaning, of the existence of things. However neo liberal postmodernity seeks to rob us of philosophy, of a historical horizon, of world vision in order to enclose us miserably in the petty game of our selfish (all for me, damn the rest, as one can observe in immediate reactions in traffic), egocentric (I must have power, fame and beauty in order to become the centre of attention) and self worshipping (I must be revered by others, never criticized) tendencies.
The Mantua book fair does not award prizes and does not charge an entrance fee to their conferences, debates and exhibitions. The priorities there are culture, aesthetics, ideas and literary diversity which bring together writers from the new geography of Central Europe and from the Arab world, China and Africa, all of whom are prepared to socialise their creative methods and their ideas.Only one question was asked of me and of each of those invited for the fair™s official catalogue: ”When and how do you write? ”Isolated I responded, ”far from everyone and buried in my work. I rise early and, stopping for lunch, I write until sunset. At night, I rest my mind by reading or watching a film. I have one superstition: I never speak of what I am writing about, until I am finished.
*Frei Betto is a writer and author of ”Cartas da Prisáo (Letters from Prison) (Agir).


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).

In 2003-2004, he was Special Adviser to President Lula and Coordinator of Social Mobilisation for the Brazilian Government™s Zero Hunger programme.

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Sonntag, 12. Oktober 2008 um 19:55 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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