Brazil was the last country in Latin America to proclaim its independence. On September 7, 1822, it broke with Portugal, ending the colonial rule that had lasted for centuries. Half of the population began to be considered “Brazilian”, since the other half were foreigners in the condition of slaves, and were therefore not recognized as citizens.
Evidently, like any historical fact, there is a narrative dispute to be had around the date, which must be observed critically. If the event cannot be identified with historical coherence based on the painting made by the artist Pedro Américo 50 years after the events, allegorically imposing a heroic Dom Pedro on the white horse in the cry “independence or death”, it is also not coherent to disregard the date as if it were not important to break ties with the colonizing country.
:: Cry of the Excluded and Excluded 2023 is expected to take place in 25 states; see locations and times ::
Understanding the historical construction that brought us to the 7th of September implies seeking to understand what the situation of Brazil and Portugal was at the beginning of the 19th century, diving into the reading of the political effervescence and the various interests present, including the Brazilian elite interested in independence, with strong European influences from different currents.
The fact, in itself, of the continuity of the monarchy with a Portuguese emperor on the throne is discrediting a libertarian history. As well as the maintenance of slavery and landowner privileges.
However, it will not be by questioning the calendar holiday that we will take a step forward in redefining the date, especially in current times.
Bolsonarism led to an appropriation of national symbols such as the football team’s shirt, the flag and dates, in the rhetoric of love for the Homeland. Which, by the way, is very typical of extreme right-wing radical regimes worldwide, which use symbols as if they represented their ideologies, while carrying out criminal attacks on democratic institutions, of which the 8th of January 2023.
With the theme of Democracy, Sovereignty and Union, the federal government launched a campaign to celebrate Independence Day, using national colors and symbols, which has an important meaning in breaking the logic of association with the former president’s supporters.
Political polarization forged in distorted patriotism can and must be unmasked with concrete demonstrations that national identity has no owners and cannot have partisan or political guises. True patriotism is effective in defending democratic institutions and the federal Constitution.
*Tânia Maria de Oliveira is a lawyer, historian and researcher. Member of the Candango Criminology Group at UnB (GCcrim/UnB). Member of the Executive Coordination of the Brazilian Association of Jurists for Democracy (ABJD). Deputy executive secretary of the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Republic.
** This is an opinion text. The author’s vision does not necessarily express the editorial line of the Brasil de Fato newspaper.
Editing: Rodrigo Chagas