O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org. Para a maior parte de meus textos, ver minha página na plataforma Academia.edu, link: https://itamaraty.academia.edu/PauloRobertodeAlmeida

Mostrando postagens com marcador Larry Rohter. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Larry Rohter. Mostrar todas as postagens

terça-feira, 8 de outubro de 2019

The Brazilian Amazon, at CUNY - Larry Rohter, Anthony Cak

The Brazilian Amazon:
Exploration, Exploitation, Sustainability

Friday, October 25, 4 PM
Segal Theatre
The Graduate Center, CUNY

Cândido Rondon, a Brazilian military officer and explorer, is considered one of the foremost Brazilian heroes and patriots known for his lifelong support for the indigenous Brazilians. He was the first director of Brazil’s Indian Protection Services (later known at FUNAI) and supported the creation of the Xingu National Park. He spent his life exploring Brazil, including mapping the state of Mata Grosso, advocating for the indigenous peoples, and leading Theodore Roosevelt’s expedition into the Amazon. The Explorers Club of New York nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. 

Larry Rohter's new book trackes Rondon's paths in the Amazon and discusses how and who will arise to safeguard the Brazilian Amazon's future. 
Larry Rohter (M.A., Columbia University) served as a correspondent in Rio de Janeiro for fourteen years for Newsweek and later as The New York Times bureau chief. He is widely considered a top expert on Brazil. He is the author of three books about Brazil, the most recent of which is a biography of the explorer, scientist and statesman Cândido Rondon, Rondon : Uma Biografia(Objetiva, 2019).

Anthony D. Cak (Ph.D., Indiana University) is the Associate Director of the Environmental Sciences Initiative at the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center. His dissertation focused on the impacts of deforestation and urban development on the water chemistry of small streams in the Brazilian Amazon, in and near the city of Altamira in the state of Pará. Dr. Cak's research interests include ecosystem ecology, stream and river ecology, geospatial technology, data visualizations, and science policy and communication.

quinta-feira, 29 de maio de 2014

Stefan Zweig, Austrian Novelist, Rises Again - (The New York Times)



The New York Times, MAY 28, 2014

Zweig, who committed suicide in Brazil in 1942, is an object of current fascination and the subject of a new biographical study. 

Photo
Stefan Zweig (1881-1942).CreditHulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

In the decades between the two world wars, no writer was more widely translated or read than the Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig, and in the years after, few writers fell more precipitously into obscurity, at least in the English-speaking world. But now Zweig, prolific storyteller and embodiment of a vanished Mitteleuropa, seems to be back, and in a big way.
New editions of his fiction, including his collected stories, are being published, with some appearing in English for the first time. Movies are being adapted from his writing; a new selection of his letters is in the works; plans to reissue his many biographies and essays are in motion; and his complicated life has provided inspiration for new biographies and a best-selling French novel.
“Seven years ago, when I told friends who are writers what I was going to be doing, they looked at me with silence and incomprehension,” said George Prochnik, the author of “The Impossible Exile,” a biographical study of Zweig’s final years, published this month by Other Press. “But Zweig has become an object of fascination again.”
Photo

Ralph Fiennes in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” set in Europe between the wars, the milieu of much of Stefan Zweig’s work. CreditFox Searchlight Pictures
Born in Vienna in 1881, into a prosperous Jewish family, Zweig grew up in what he would later describe as a “golden age of security.” Success and acclaim came to him early and never left, but the rise of Nazism forced him into a painful and enervating exile, first in Britain, then the United States and, finally Brazil, where he and his wife, Lotte, committed suicide in February 1942.
The reasons for Zweig’s resurgence at this particular moment are not necessarily obvious, and that has provoked much speculation in literary circles. Zweig was, in many ways, an old-fashioned writer: His fiction relies heavily on plot, with some developments telegraphed long before they occur, and the tales he tells are often melodramatic, their language sometimes florid.
But that conventionality of structure and tone is accompanied by insights into character, emotion and motivation that were unusual, even revelatory, for their time and continue to resonate today. Not surprisingly, Zweig and Sigmund Freud were friends and mutual admirers — Zweig even delivered a eulogy at Freud’s funeral — and one of his eternal themes was the workings of the human mind.
At an event at the McNally Jackson bookstore in SoHo last week, the authors André Aciman, Katie Kitamura and Anka Muhlstein joined Mr. Prochnik in a discussion of what made Zweig relevant and appealing to modern readers. They immediately zeroed in on that perspicacity.
“The man is an absolutely brilliant psychologist,” Mr. Aciman said, placing Zweig at the head of a group of writers who “are very pointed in their ability to understand what makes human beings tick.” Ms. Kitamura added that Zweig was particularly astute in “the way he handles women” and their yearnings and frustrations.
There also appears to be an element of nostalgic curiosity in the renewed interest in Zweig, especially as the centennial of the outbreak of World War I approaches. He called his memoir, published in 1942 and reissued in paperback last year, “The World of Yesterday,” and some of his best-known works take place in elegant, long-vanished settings, like ocean liners, spas in the Alps or a cavalry regiment serving on the frontier of the Hapsburg Empire, a world evoked by Wes Anderson in his recent film “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
“I think it partly can be attributed to a larger ongoing interest in the disaster of the 20th century and taking its pulse,” said Edwin Frank, editorial director of New York Review Books Classics, which has published Zweig’s novel “Beware of Pity” and four of his novellas in recent years. “Zweig was both a chronicler of that world and a victim of the disaster, which makes him an intriguing figure.”
Some of the most recent interest obviously stems from Mr. Anderson’s film. He acknowledges Zweig’s work as inspiration, and the film, whose main character, played by Ralph Fiennes, even looks like Zweig, addresses some of the questions that preoccupied the writer, like the emergence of borders, passports and other impediments to mobility and freedom.
“The interest was already there, but it has accelerated hugely” since Mr. Anderson’s film opened at the Berlin Film Festival in February, said Adam Freudenheim, managing director of Pushkin Books, which has published more than a score of Zweig titles. “It’s not just about the film being seen. It’s also the fact that people are hearing and talking about Zweig on social media in a way that wasn’t true six months ago, and that has a direct impact on our sales.”
In “The Society of the Crossed Keys,” a sort of companion book to his film that is available in Britain but not yet in the United States, Mr. Anderson selects some of his favorite passages from Zweig’s work and, in a conversation with Mr. Prochnik, explains what about them appeals to him. Zweig provides “details of a universe most of us have no experience of, and that’s great to discover,” he says in their conversation.
In his lifetime, Zweig’s easily digestible style and penchant for short works made him an author whose writing was frequently adapted to film. More than 70 movies have been made from his stories. “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” a disturbing account of obsession and what today would be considered stalking, was filmed four times and also made into an opera.
Even before Mr. Anderson’s film, that seemed to be happening again: “A Promise,” an adaptation of “Journey Into the Past,” directed by Patrice Leconte, was released last month, and another French director, Bernard Attal, has made “The Invisible Collection,” in which Zweig’s story of the same name is adapted to modern-day Brazil.
In continental Europe, where Zweig never quite disappeared the way he did in the English-speaking world, there are other signs of revived interest. Laurent Seksik’s novel“The Last Days,” a French-language account of Zweig’s final six months, recently published in the United States by the Pushkin Press, has been a best seller there, and Volker Weidermann’s “Ostend: 1936, Summer of Friendship,” a German-language study of Zweig’s relationship with his fellow Austrian novelist Joseph Roth, has just been published to strongly positive reviews.
The enthusiasm about Zweig is by no means universal, as evidenced by a notorious takedown in The London Review of Books in 2010, in which the poet, critic and translator Michael Hofmann described Zweig’s work as “putrid” and dismissed him as “the Pepsi of Austrian writers.” But even Mr. Hofmann’s outpouring ended up contributing to Zweig’s greater visibility.
Zweig may also be benefiting from Anthea Bell’s sparkling new translations. Ms. Bell, who previously translated the Asterix comic books and the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, has been praised for bringing a crisper, more contemporary tone to Zweig.
The Brazilian writer Alberto Dines, who met Zweig as a child and is the author of the biography “Death in Paradise: The Tragedy of Stefan Zweig,” notes that this is not the first Zweig revival. There was also a flicker of interest after World War II, with the posthumous publication of Zweig’s late work, and again around 1981, at the centennial of his birth.
The difference this time, Mr. Dines argues, is that the current round of what he calls Zweigmania runs the risk of “creating a mythology that subtly transforms him into a character in one of his own stories,” with fiction and reality confused.
It is perhaps best to think of Zweig, he continued, as an apostle of “pacifism, tolerance and fellowship” who, in the end, was overwhelmed by the ascent of obscurantism. “Every generation has its own Zweig,” he said, “and this is ours, the fruit of an imprecise nostalgia and yearning.”
A version of this article appears in print on May 29, 2014, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: Austrian Novelist Rises Anew.

Video com Alberto Dines sobre a Casa Stefan Zweig em Petropolis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Dc_ZSEl_Uw

domingo, 21 de julho de 2013

Deu no New York Times: o papa no Brasil, em tempos de protestos

Pope, in an Angered Brazil, to Focus on Social Justice


RIO DE JANEIRO — A month ago, hundreds of thousands of young people took to the streets of Brazil to protest corruption, wasteful government spending, bad schools and hospitals, police brutality, and other abuses of power. On Monday, Pope Francis, in his first venture abroad, will dive into the middle of that ferment when he begins a weeklong visit to the world’s largest Roman Catholic country.
“This is a crucial moment for the church, the nation, society and the people, heightened by the fact this is Francis’ first trip,” said Fernando Altemeyer Jr., a theologian and philosopher at the Pontifical Catholic University in São Paulo. “Brazil has changed and things are bubbling, but there is no clarity. Everything is new and unknown, in the country and the church, even for the bishops.”
Francis has endorsed the protests in general terms, and, according to European news reports, will do so again more emphatically and specifically this week. Church officials here declined to confirm those reports, but they said that two Brazilian cardinals, Cláudio Hummes and Raymundo Damasceno Assis, have been working closely with the Vatican to assure that Francis’ declarations on social justice here will convey sympathy both for the protest demands and those involved in the movement.
“The pope will certainly have words about the issues the young people have raised, their dissatisfaction or searches but also their great desire to participate in change,” Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, the archbishop of São Paulo, said last week. “They can expect from Pope Francis words that will orient and aid them.”
The trip, whose nominal purpose is to have the pope meet with and speak to participants at the World Youth Day, a conference of Catholic youth here, was originally planned for Benedict XVI, Francis’ predecessor. Initially there was speculation that the new pope might cancel because of the scandals he is confronting at the Vatican. But the Argentine-born Francis seems to see a visit here as a way to direct attention on the gospel of social justice that he has said he wants to make the focus of his papacy.
“If he is to do what he wants to do, he needs to keep media attention focused on what he is doing and saying,” said John Thavis, author of “The Vatican Diaries” and a former Rome bureau chief for the Catholic News Service. “This puts him back in the world spotlight, and I suspect we are going to hear a lot not just about the Brazilian situation, but the world situation, the divide between the rich and poor and the church’s social teaching.”
Previous papal visits, by Pope John Paul II and Benedict, were marked by doctrinal disputes and veiled verbal skirmishes between advocates of the theology of liberation, which mixes the gospel and political activism on behalf of the poor and persecuted, and the Vatican hierarchy, which sees the movement as tainted by Marxism. As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis never showed much sympathy for liberation theology, but since he assumed the papacy, signs abound that a truce is now in effect, at least temporarily.
“These are different times, times that are not as obstinate or intransigent,” said the Rev. José Oscar Beozzo, a historian of the Catholic church in Latin America and a supporter of liberation theology. “The era of military dictatorships, of the pope wagging a finger at a priest in Nicaragua, those are over. We live now in times that permit one to see things with less ideological distortion.”
Barely a month after becoming pope, Francis took a symbolically important step that liberation theologians here and elsewhere in Latin America interpreted as a peace offering. The beatification of Bishop Óscar Romero, a Salvadoran who was killed by a right-wing death squad in 1980 and is considered a martyr by many disciples of liberation theology, had been frozen since 2005, the year Benedict assumed the papacy, but Francis almost immediately ordered it reopened.
Liberation theologians often critical of Vatican policies have responded in kind, led by Leonardo Boff, a former Franciscan priest who in 1985 was ordered not to write or speak publicly for a year because of his positions by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed at the time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Benedict. Now an emeritus professor of the philosophy of religion at the state university here in Rio, Mr. Boff just last week published a laudatory biography of the pope.
“It doesn’t matter that Pope Francis doesn’t use the expression ‘theology of liberation,’ ” Mr. Boff said recently. “What is important is that he speak and act on behalf of the liberation of the poor, the oppressed and those who have suffered injustice. And that is what he has done, with indubitable clarity.”
One of the principal complaints of the protests that have swept Brazil is excessive official spending in the face of pressing social needs, mainly the billions being spent on sporting events — but the $52 million the government is contributing to the youth conference and papal visit has also been sucked into the fray. Cardinal Scherer defended the expenditure, which accounts for about a third of the visit’s total cost, as good for Brazil.
“This money is being spent in Brazil, and as such it is welcome,” he said at a news conference in São Paulo. “These are not expenses paid to someone who is going to leave with the money. It’s generating taxes, jobs and so on. It is, without a doubt, an injection of blood in the economy.”
At Francis’ request, the original itinerary prepared for Benedict has been expanded to include a visit to Aparecida, site of Brazil’s biggest shrine to the Virgin Mary. It was also there, during a visit by Benedict in 2007, that Francis, then Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, scored a personal triumph by presiding over the writing of an important policy document that was presented to the pope on behalf of the Latin American Episcopal Conference.
The document emphasized social justice and evangelization, an issue that remains critical to the Brazilian church, even more than in the rest of Latin America. When John Paul made the first visit by a pope to Brazil, in 1980, nearly 90 percent of the population considered itself Catholic; by the 2010 census, that had fallen to under two-thirds, with the number of Brazilians calling themselves Protestants rising to 22 percent from 6 percent during the same period.
The situation here in Rio underscores the growing challenge to the Catholic church. According to census data, the growth of evangelical Protestantism, secularism and African-Brazilian faiths like candomblé has been so pronounced that Catholics no longer constitute a majority of the population in Rio de Janeiro State.
“No one in the Catholic leadership is going to say there is competition with the evangelicals, but that’s clearly a motivation for this event,” said Clemir Fernandes, a researcher at the Institute for the Study of Religion here. “The evangelicals have a lot of TV and radio exposure in Brazil, but a pope’s visit gets a lot of positive media coverage. That’s good for the church and, by strengthening belief among those already belonging to the faith, can perhaps help stem the erosion.”

sexta-feira, 20 de agosto de 2010

Brazil on the Rise - Larry Rohter

Brazil: The view from Rio
The Economist, August 18, 2010

Brazil on the Rise: The Story of a Country Transformed
By Larry Rohter
Palgrave Macmillan; 304 pages; $27 and £18.99.

Political strategists sometimes say that voters can hold only three things in their minds about a candidate. So candidates spend quite a bit of time determining what those three will be; once they have become known as a technophobe, an arugula muncher or a flip-flopper, the perception is hard to shift. The same might be true of countries. For Brazil, the three are forests, sex and football.

That the world's fifth-largest country (by population) and eighth-largest economy (in real terms) is often perceived by foreigners as a giant Club Med resort is partly thanks to foreign correspondents reporting on Brazil, who often feel they have to start with what readers back home know about the place and go from there. Larry Rohter, the New York Times correspondent from 1999 to 2007, used to be an exponent of this approach. The only trouble with it is that it explains only part of the country, part of the time.

"Brazil on the Rise" is an attempt to go deeper, putting the country as it is now in the context of Brazil's recent history, with anecdotes from Mr Rohter's notebooks sprinkled on top. These are the best thing in the book. "I have found soccer fields even in the poorest and most remote places, including tribal reservations in the Xingu where Indians wear nothing but a penis sheath and a T-shirt with the colours of a popular team, such as Flamengo or Palmeiras," writes Mr Rohter. This is worth far more than the surrounding passages of cod sociology on why football is like sex.

The book begins by posing three questions about Brazil that interest both foreigners and Brazilians. Why is the place so tolerant? Why is there so much inequality? And is there racism in Brazil?

To answer the first two it is necessary to peel away layers accumulated over 510 years since a band of Portuguese explorers landed in what is now Bahia state. But "Brazil on the Rise" is not a history book. Mr Rohter does, however, make a determined attempt to answer the third, arguing that Brazil has the same sort of racism that America suffered from. People who say otherwise, he suggests, are making the problem worse by burying it.

In support of his view, he cites the horrible case of Luciano Ribeiro, a cyclist who was run over and killed by a white driver in 1996. The motorist later told witnesses that he had run over "a black guy on a stolen bicycle". This might be evidence of racism, or it might be evidence of a sneering attitude made more common by extreme income inequality. Without recourse to some data it is hard to know. Some Brazilian employers may discriminate against people with darker skin. But the kind of hard racism that blighted America is foreign to Brazil.

Mr Rohter's other judgments on the causes of Brazil's current good fortune are hard to argue with. He rightly castigates President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for the shortcomings of his foreign policy (which include a bizarre wish to acquire a nuclear-powered submarine to defend the country's oil rigs), while praising him for keeping in place the reforms of his predecessor, Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

One topic where Mr Rohter leaves the consensus behind (and rightly so) is in his assessment of Fernando Collor, president from 1990 until he was impeached in 1992. Mr Collor tends to be remembered for his good looks, loopy economic policies and the giant scams run by his bagman, Paulo César Farias, that brought him down. Yet in his brief time in office Mr Collor began the opening up of Brazil's economy, ran an enlightened environmental policy and thwarted the army's plans to develop a nuclear weapon.

For some time there has been a gap in the market for a good English book on Brazil. "Brazil on the Rise" tells the reader a lot while managing to reinforce many clichés. The author is great on popular culture and beaches, less inspired on the nuts and bolts of economics and politics. The best bits are where he dusts off his old notebooks and finds stories that bring Brazil alive. But his book does not quite plug that gap.