The president Jair Messias Bolsonaro has accustomed us, in his half year of Government, all the surprises and follies. The last, however, in a live broadcast by Facebook this Thursday, has created some astonishment, to defend the child with these words: “The work dignifies to the man and woman at any age”. His statements evoke the tragic memory of the nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz, a place of hell where children were sacrificed in the ovens of the crematoria. At the entrance to the death camp, is written, in German, “work dignifies man”.
The president does not hide his desire to decriminalize the law of today in Brazil that does not allow child labour. Not going to do, ” he explains, “because I was going to be slaughtered”. The arguments of Bolsonaro to defend your desire is for a superficiality which is striking: “When a child of nine or 10 years it’s going to work in a place full of people, it is called slave labour, or I don’t know what, labour. But when you’re smoking a crack pipe, no one says anything”.
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Bolsonaro absolves the child labour, that is, without a doubt, drop out of school, with a memory of his childhood. At nine and 10 years old was to work at a farm in Sao Paulo to pick corn. “That I do not hurt in anything,” he said implying that he does for the children of today would be no drama if they were allowed to go to work, something that goes against all the teaching and practice of the civilized countries of the world. Today the child labor, it robs children the time to study, it is considered a crime against the rights of the child.
The temptation of the president Bolsonaro of decriminalize child labour, something that harks back to the days of slavery, has made me remember one of my first interviews that I did here in Brazil when I was a correspondent of THE COUNTRY. As the son of two elementary teachers, one of my concerns when arriving to this country was to know the situation of teaching.
So, I went to Brasilia to talk with the then minister of Education, Paolo Renato de Souza, which by the way I consider as one of the main architects of the new educational cycle of the country. The minister, he spoke perfectly English and more than one interview, that meeting ended up being a reflection on what had been in the past and what was still in the present issue of the brazilian schools. “For you to understand the problem with which we are fighting has to know that makes it even 40 years, no one put in discussion that the school was only for the children of the rich. The poor, who would be the majority should work as their parents.” And he added: “as it always was.”
hence, the first revolution of the education of this country was to break the taboo that the school and know they were a right for the privileged few. And if anything with a historical debt to the children of the poor condemned to perpetuate the tragedy of the illiteracy of their parents and work from children. So one of the first efforts, the minister said, is to “bring all the children” to the school. As in many cases, the parents of those poor children needed to work to help survive the family. Thus was born the “Bag school”, created by the who would be the first Education minister of the Lula Government, and Cristovam Buarque. It consisted of a financial aid to the families that commit to bringing the children to school.
As I said then, the minister Souza, the second step was to provide them with a quality school that excited and motivated the children to surpass their parents rather than tempt them to abandon it either due to lack of interest or motivation.
Today, nearly 20 years later, that dream of the pioneers of the education of ending the remnants of slavery, so that not a single child reached maturity semianalfabeto encounters with what the chair has said Bolsonaro to defend child labor in detriment of study and of knowledge. It is hard and frustrating, not to use an adjective stronger.
A child in need of work in the XXI century in order to help their parents illiterate, supposes not only an embarrassment to a wealthy, modern country like Brazil, but a blasphemy. By a president who says he is called by God to “move the bearings of this nation shattered” by that ghost from the left that he and his followers have been invented.