I am visiting Brazil after quite a while and it´s been quite an interesting trip. I had a chance to meet some old friends, people I haven´t spoken to in 10, 15 years.
These meetings reminded me of a Borges´ short story called “The Other” where two Borges, one young and other old, meet. They know they are the same but yet can barely communicate. All told in the usual smart and profound Borges way.
When I spoke with these friends I noticed how they are all in this weird state of despair and resignation about Brazil´s situation. Most of them pretty much decided to ignore politics all together. It´s a mix of a “nothing can be done” attitude with a feeling that things at least are improving a little bit at the time (I bet there are many worse places in the world! They would tell me). Every single one of them hates Lula and all he represents, but in the end there is no alternative in the horizon.
It reminds me the way I was when I lived here. It was one of the main reasons why I decided that there was no alternative besides just getting out of here.
I could see how they got annoyed at me when I started to tell them everything I thought needed to be changed and how in the US things are always in flux and alternatives to issues are always being debated. People sometimes (maybe most times) don´t like to be reminded of certain things. Ignorance may not be bliss, but sometimes seems to be a necessary survival tool.
At the end I felt exactly like old Borges in the end of the short story. Our talks felt like a wasted effort in all fronts. My friends will probably forget quickly everything we talked about, and will only remember the fact that an old friend came to visit after so many years with some pretty crazy right wing theories of how to change the world. And I will keep the memory of seeing how things are still the same here, and how all my smart and nice friends continue to live in hopelessness and are ultimately lost when the subject is trying to fix the humongous mess called Brazil.