Mister Gomes


Written by Nizan Guanaes

“I have heard, to my dismay, that Brazilians of all ages and social sectors are wanting to leave the country. They are young couples planning to study in Canada, artists wanting to live in Lisbon, entrepreneurs thinking about the USA.

Although this column suggests that I am a superman, with very well-ordered feelings and purposes, in the dark of the bedroom I also take off my cloak and look at Miami. But I always come back to Tom Jobim’s anthological and profound phrase: Here it sucks, but it’s good; out there is good, but it sucks.

The root of mass disenchantment is exhaustion from Brazil’s cyclical crises. There is disenchantment with today and a lack of hope for tomorrow. The worst thing is that we are also missing yesterday, those tasty things about the country from when I was a boy.

My city, Salvador, so beautiful and hot, is paralyzed by unbearable traffic. The neighborhood where I live in São Paulo has robberies frequently. The most important Baroque architectural heritage in the world, in Pelourinho, where I grew up, is falling apart.

And what does living out there offer? Unthinkable luxuries here. Walking at any time like in the Salvador of my adolescence, leaving the children free and free on the street, doing long-term planning.

There is no shortage of simple reasons to leave, but there is something deep in my soul that insists on staying. I don’t condemn anyone who wants to leave Brazil. But I don’t go out because I already left Bahia for professional reasons and I know the pain of leaving a story behind.

I am Brazilian. Monteiro Lobato and Machado de Assis made me like that. I’m a copywriter, I love the Brazilian language and culture, where I get my livelihood. And what would my life be without family and friends? We need friends and enemies because they define us.

Without Brazil, in Portugal I would be a fado; in London, “London, London”; and, in New York, Mister Gomes, since my name is Nizan Guanaes Gomes and there they call me by my “last name”.

Mister Gomes is nobody. Here I am someone. I am a son of Bahia and of the Gantois terreiro. I am a devotee of Saint Antônio, Saint Terezinha das Rosas and Saint Rita de Cassia, from whom I ask for impossible things. I support Mangueira, I’m a columnist for this newspaper, which makes me so proud, I made a career, a beautiful family, I built a life.

Brazil is now experiencing a moment of catharsis. As in the French Revolution, when, in order to do justice, they did injustice. But there is no dawn without night. And this winter could be a long one, like in “Game of Thrones”.

When I was an exchange student living on a farm in Iowa, my American family used the harsh winter to fix things and make up for what was missing. We are going to use this winter to fix our companies, reduce costs, gain productivity and see not only crisis in the crisis, but opportunities as well.

Let’s honor the men who stayed here in the past of so many difficulties. Honoring entrepreneurs who have done important things under the highest rates of inflation and all sorts of crisis and economic plans. We will honor men like Abilio Diniz, ex-kidnapped, Roberto Medina, ex-kidnapped, Washington Olivetto, ex-kidnapped, who continued to undertake here when they had every reason to leave.

The moment calls for greatness, dialogue and discernment.

I prefer to live locked at home, but with a loose soul, than to walk freely through the streets being mister Gomes. Because out there, Mister Gomes will be everything, but he won’t be anyone.”

Nizan Guanaes Gomes is a publicist from Bahia and is the owner of the Brazilian advertising group ABC. This article was published in Folha, on July 21, 2015.

Written by Feitosa-Santana

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