By Augusto Boal
The very day he
was proclaimed President Elect, Lula announced his priority economic
programme: to end the slow starvation facing 50 million Brazilians;
and his first international initiative: to hold out a hand to the
What he announced were not minor micro-economic or diplomatic options,
but radical transformations in ways of governing, an inversion of
priorities and a new clear-cut ethic with no grey areas. He was
announcing that a new Brazil was about to be invented. Now it has
to be imagined the better to build it.
Lula did not promise little reforms, sticking plaster, but a Copernican
revolution that would resituate Brazil, at home and abroad. To be
consistent, what goes for international politics and for the economy
must go for culture.
We have to give up the idea that there exists a celestial, soaring
Culture and resolutely take up the idea that culture is living people
in all their activities. Everyone’s got it. We should not
be talking about “access to Culture”, as if it were
produced by gods in unattainable Olympuses, as if each Brazilian
man and woman were a blank page awaiting the stamp of Culture, which
would fall from the sky.
We have to assert that, when they breathe, when they work, when
they love, people produce Culture, even when it is crushed by other
cultures (those that own the means of communication) and even when
it does not turn out objects of trade.
Lula’s election was unique: never have the street celebrations
been more sincere, the hopes more enthusiastic. They were the product
not of paralyzing expectation, but of a passionate will to create:
wishes starting to come true, eager hope.
President Lula’s investiture cannot be reduced to the routine
rituals or just break numerical records: one, two, three, or fifty-three
million people in the Square of the Three Powers! It’s not
just quantity but quality.
Lula will not be a sequential president: he will be the start of
the Re-Discovery. His assumption cannot be reduced to an obedient
ceremony by Brasilia’s protocols, but must give the measure,
millimetre by millimetre, of eight and a half million square kilometres
in length and breadth, by one hundred and seventy-five millions
On the day of the investiture, we must decree an uninterrupted,
four-year extension to Spring. In all the towns and in every village,
each one of us must make their own Image of the Dream come to life.
The Lula government’s culture plan must shine out from the
very first day, from the investiture!
Lula spoke out against hunger and in favour of the solidarity of
the oppressed: we must turn his words into art. We must aestheticize
them. Aestheticizing means transmitting them by the senses and not
just by reason. Lula spoke words: now we must show them in solid,
tangible and pinchable form. We must theatricalize them, paint them,
sculpt them, sing them, make them concrete, photographable, filmable.
How? That’s quite simple!
First: in all the squares of all the towns throughout
the country, let’s put on Culture Fairs with which –
from early in the morning, before the night seeps away – from
first light – we can wake the sun with orchestras, bands and
troupes; painters and sculptors; circus and theatre artistes, embroideresses,
poets and improvisers, choirs and soloists, in the open air, in
alleyways and clearings, all synchonized, in the towns and countryside,
all of us, everywhere, let’s show our art. Let’s greet
Second: in squares and streets, people should put
up improvised tables, with pretty, clean tablecloths – even
if only of wrapping paper, bordered with scissors and coloured pencil
– to which we should bring bread and food, and share both
Third: and this is most important – everyone
must be eating at the moment President Lula takes office! As he
is being sworn in, when he says - “I do so swear!” –
each one of us, all across the country, all at the same time, must
put food in our mouths and chew it with courage, because he is swearing
to put an end to hunger. So let’s all swear together, eating,
let’s take the same oath! The toast to his government should
be chewed with a will and with truth. We must be companions and
eat the same collective bread. And with an open hand, offer food
to whoever is near us.
Fourth: people should all give anything from their
homes they can do without and may be useful to others: shoes, clothes,
mirrors, pots and pans, books, paintings, guitars and rasps, anything
that can be put to use, let them out of their cupboards and into
the light of day. Give and exchange!
Fifth: Foreign communities that live in Brazil
should be invited to these fairs, so that they can bring their dance,
music, and food. Let’s talk.
Sixth: after the swearing in, in streets and squares,
we should practise all sorts of sports; table tennis, quoits and
shuttlecock, marbles, skipping and leap-frog, volleyball, basketball,
Roman and Greek wrestling, races, gymnastics, trapeze... It’s
Seventh: in a visible tribute, citizens will have
three minutes each to make proposals to the government, which should
be taken seriously, taken to the legislatures, studied and voted
on. And seriously, because the Law is no laughing matter!
While the celebrations last in Brasilia, let happiness reign in
Brazil. Afterwards, let’s go to bed earlier than usual: Investiture
Day will foreshadow and be a sample of the People’s Mandate
– it will be proclaimed Culture Day.
We are dreaming, it’s true, and our dream is a dream. But,
if we dream today, it is because now we have the right to dream
the true dream: today it is not forbidden to dream: it is possible
to dream. To dream... is not to dream.