weeks ensue one another, but are not alike. we cannot get used to the daily bombing of fake news, provocations, threats, and take-downs. Casa do Povo is a non-partisan cultural center, yet, it is not apolitical. it was built by an antifascist front of the Jewish community upon the ruins of the second world war. to witness, 74 years after its foundation, the proposal of framing the simple hashtag #antifa as terrorist (as if there were a centralized organization behind it), at times reports the very person who made this proposition as a fascist, and at others it just sounds grotesque – perhaps both.
In the previous years, our action has been taking place in a micropolitical sphere, however, over the past few weeks, the macropolitics has drilled our epidermis.
it is necessary to say stop to the appropriation of Jewish symbols by official representatives of the country that, at the same time, use and abuse of them, make nazi salutations, plagiarize fascist speeches, pay homage to torturers, and question the rights of minorities. to hide behind this purposive ambiguity and some suspicious partnerships with Israel – a country that is actually so diverse – does not make them friends of the Jewish community. Casa do Povo, created in memory of the six million of Jews murdered by the nazi, manifested its indignation with the trivialization and distortion of this martyrdom observed in the recent posts of the Ministry of Education, thus joining the CONIB, the American Jewish Committee, the general consul of Israel in São Paulo, the Museum of Holocaust in Curitiba, the Cultural Association Moshe Sharett, the Brazil-Israel Institute, the Jews for Democracy, the Jewish Human Rights Watch, the Democratic Jewish Resistance, and to so many other movements.
the singularity of the history of Casa do Povo has never been a barrier to its solidarity with the struggle of other peoples. quite the opposite, just as the genocide perpetrated against the Jewish community by the German government in the 1930s and 40s was a crime against humanity, the genocides of indigenous peoples and that of black, peripheral youth in Brazil and worldwide concern us all. as if this ongoing slaughter for more than 500 years wasn’t enough, these peoples have recently had the constitutional recognition of their existence questioned, just as their ancestralities and utmost symbols have been disrespected – as it has been, for instance, with the memory of Zumbi dos Palmares by the president of the… Palmares Foundation.
coming back to our drilled epidermis and to micropolitics, in this very frail moment, Casa do Povo would like to reinforce the need of weaving crossed alliances, of recognizing our plural becomings, of speaking out loud against all kinds of intolerance, discrimination, and prejudice against minority groups, of taking care of other people just as one does to oneself, of defending the fight against fascism and racism in all our daily gestures, of rising up for the black people, for the indigenous people, and for the LGBTQI+ communities against the violence of the state. when hearing biased, racist speeches or homages to torturers, one needs to react. otherwise, we render such speeches amenable to be heard and, therefore, to be said. they have to become unpronounceable. we cannot be indifferent.
it was not only the lack of air that killed Pedro Henrique Gonzaga last year, asphyxiated by a supermarket security guard. it was not only the lack of air that took the life of Gorge Floyd last week, asphyxiated by a police officer. The lack of air is not merely punctual. in addition to the responsible individuals, there is a collective responsibility inscribed in structural racism that permeates our subjectivity. for this reason, to remain silent means to authorize and become an accomplice of these events. for this reason, a Jewish institution that proposes to place its speech from a reflection on its institutional whiteness will not allow the systematic murder of black people to pass “blank.” for this reason, this plain letter is a contribution amid this ocean of indifference.
the death of George Floyd by lack of air takes place simultaneously to a pandemics at full steam that kills, precisely, by lack of air and, of course, by the thrashing of public health. our activities suspended on air were thought as a room to breathe in this very delicate moment. however, such activities can only work when in contact with all the action fronts we accomplish offline in the neighborhood of Bom Retiro, acting along thousands of people. if we lack air as a society, we must act as citizens. this text does not finish here.