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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 Argentineans.

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 in... self-esteem.

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 the day!

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 with love.

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 all Culture.

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.
Let’s dream!



© 2003 21C Magazine