Mrs. Europe freed herself centuries ago from submission to the Feudal Lord who had dominated her for a thousand years. Influenced by Copernicus, Galileo and Descartes, she married Mr. Modern Liberal and set up house in the Democracy neighbourhood.
Mrs. Europe withdrew her support from the nobility and from the pope and elected constitutional governments which exchanged barter for currency, avoided making use of slave labour and transformed former rural workers into wage deserving labourers.
Mrs. Europe began to have immeasurable ambitions. She envied the huge world map which hung on the wall in her living room. How many riches in those lands inhabited by ignorant natives! How many arable areas covered by the exuberance of its paradisiacal nature!
Frei Betto beim Website-Interview im Dominikaner-Konvent von Sao Paulo.
“Ich befürchte, daß wie im Falle von Bin Laden ein solches Kommando in Libyen eindringt, um Gaddafi zu töten.” http://www.hart-brasilientexte.de/2011/05/12/das-system-libyens-die-dortige-regierung-ist-popular-hat-im-lande-die-mehrheit-hinter-sich-ich-befurchte-das-wie-im-falle-von-bin-laden-ein-solches-kommando-in-libyen-eindringt-um-gaddafi-zu-to/
Mrs. Europe launched her fleet on the ocean in search of rich prizes in foreign lands. Navigators invaded territories, sacked villages, spread epidemics, extracted precious minerals, placed fences where everything, until then, had been held in common.
Mrs. Europe practised, with other peoples, what she refused to do at home: she imposed empires, kingdoms and dictators, inhibited access to learned culture, implanted slave labour, prohibited industrialisation and internationalised economic rules which favoured her to the detriment of peoples elsewhere.
One of the peoples overseas dominated by Mrs. Europe dared to rebel in 1776, becoming free from tutelage and more powerful than she was – Uncle Sam.
Professor Machiavelli taught Mrs. Europe that when you cannot conquer the enemy, it is best to join him. Thus she became associated with Uncle Sam to exercise dominion over the world.
Mrs. Europe and Uncle Sam accumulated such extraordinary wealth, they succumbed to the illusion that the luxury and ostentation they lived in would be eternal. Everything in their homes was marvellous. And their currencies sparkled above all others.
Now, no house is without a foundation, no tree is rootless, no wealth lacks ballast. In order to maintain the life style to which they became accustomed, Mrs. Europe and Uncle Sam spent more than they should. And suddenly, they found they were burdened with astronomical debts. What to do?
The first measure was what is adopted in air travel turbulence: tighten belts. Not their own, of course. But the belts of their employees: they fired some, reduced the salaries of others and stopped consuming imported products. Thus, the couple’s crisis spread everywhere.
Mrs. Europe and Uncle Sam are not stupid. They know where the money lies: in the banks. Uncle Sam, on seeing the hole in his economy, tried making the Mint machine roll and rescued the banks with at least US$ 18 trillion.
Mrs. Europe has several daughters. According to her, some were not capable of administering their fortunes properly. Beautiful Greece seems to have lost its wisdom. It spent much more than it could. The same happened with seductive Italy, enchanting Spain and timid Ireland.
As the family kitty is shared by all, Mrs. Europe became very concerned. She punished the spendthrift daughters and appealed to the richest of them, severe Germany, to help her rescue the ones in debt.
Germany is clever. She says she will only rescue her sisters if she can control their expenses. Which means clipping their wings – which in politics is the same as cancelling their freedom.
The only one who is free today in Mrs. Europe’s house is chaste Germany. The rest of the family are dependent and are being punished. The sweetest of the daughters, France, is being rebellious. After having held hands with Germany, now that she has found a new boyfriend she looks on her sister with mistrust.
We in the southern world, who have not yet cut the umbilical chord with Uncle Sam and Mrs. Europe, run the risk of catching the flu if Mrs. Europe continues to sneeze so much from allergy regarding the spectre of a troubled future: the agony and death of the god of the Market, whose faithful devotees have plunged into a deep crisis of lack of confidence.
*Frei Betto is a writer, author of “Calendário do Poder” (Calendar of Power) (Rocco). www.freibetto.org <http://www.freibetto.org/> twitter: @freibetto.
ABOUT FREI BETTO
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 São Paulo’s industrial belt, to the Church base communities, and to the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (MST).
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