Ayatollah

Atualizado: 28 de set.

The pandemic caused people to think about the direction of their lives. Some saw it as an awakening, a time to reflect, and a moment in life to embrace change. Personally, I embraced the jiffy of time to respect the health minister, Mandetta and his concern for saving the Brazilian nation at a time when the disease was relatively new and not enough was known about its contagiousness.

An ayatollah is a leader of the Shiite sect of the Muslim religion, serving as teacher, judge, and administrator. Bolsonaro, the Brazilian President felt that Coronavirus was nothing more than a “little flu”, and that lockdown was unnecessary until today, opting for the population to continue going about life as normal. However, the majority, not wishing for a lockdown realized the need to avoid proximity to others at a critical time when the infection rate was high and not enough was known about the potential implications. (See latest report 2 years on if lockdowns worked).


In comparison a few saw it as an opportunity to go beyond the realm of their status while preaching an almighty power to influence those believers who worshiped him as the chosen one. Without trying to be smarmy towards him, my view is no different to what I believe will be clearly evident after the general election in October. If by the off chance he replays his “ayatollah” role then all hell could break loose, as he will boast dictator style leadership which puts him on the same plain as other fanatical world leadership.


Recently though, opinion polls from Brazilian companies show he is clearly in the lead. Bolsonaro still has backers in Brazilian business (including my students), and many executives still prefer the hard-right former army captain to Lula. This election is going to be tight like his first election when he became president in 2018.


Less than a week before Brazil’s elections, it might appear from the outside that business has deserted President Jair Bolsonaro. Despairing of his attacks on the integrity of Brazil’s voting system and fearing a Trumpian insurrection if he loses, executives seem to have lost patience with the hard-right former army captain.


An open letter in defense of democracy, seen as a rebuke to Bolsonaro, last month united Brazil’s traditionally conservative banking association Febraban, the powerful São Paulo industry lobby Fiesp and a host of unions and NGOs.

Another declaration vowing to defeat attempts to overturn an election gathered more than one million signatures, including those of Pedro Moreira Salles and Roberto Setubal, co-chairs of Brazil’s biggest bank Itaú Unibanco, and Walter Schalka, CEO of pulp and paper giant Suzano.


Yet the reality is different, as Olivera Stuenkel on behalf of a think-tank at Getúlio Vargas Foundation whispered quietly, “Many Brazilian business executives and bankers still prefer Bolsonaro to the frontrunner, leftwing former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Take care!

Prof. Carl Boniface

Vocabulary builder:

Jiffy (n) sec., second, minute, flash, instant, moment, mo., tick

Smarmy (adj) = sycophantic, oily, groveling, unctuous, slimy, ingratiating

Off chance (idiom) = used to talk about something that might happen or be true but that is not likely. “I called his office on the off chance that he would still be there, but he had already left.”

Rebuke (n) = an expression of sharp disapproval or criticism. "He hadn't meant it as a rebuke, but Neil flinched." As a verb: to express sharp disapproval or criticism of (someone) because of their behavior or actions. "She had rebuked him for drinking too much."

Think-tank (n) = a body of experts providing advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems.


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