“Great tragedies reveal people’s true character”: Lula speaks on Covid-19

On May 1, Lula released a video message to the Brazilian people which viralized on social media platforms. The following transcript of his speech was translated by Brian Mier. 

My friends, workers of Brazil and the World. I would like to start by expressing my solidarity to the families of all of the victims of coronavirus and to all of the workers around the World who are fighting to save lives. An unknown virus has managed to close borders, lock over 3 billion people in their homes, and dramatically change all of our lives. Three months in, we are in a long tunnel with no end in sight. Every day the news gets worse. Every day humanity wakes up, hoping that the number of deaths will be lower than that of the day before.

We are living in the most tenebrous days or our lives. The virus, which attacks everyone, indiscriminately shows that the human race is not immortal and that it could even disappear. History teaches us, however, that great tragedies can give birth to great transformations. What we hope, what I hope, is that the World that comes after coronavirus will be a universal community, in which men and women will be the center of everything, in harmony with nature. Where the economy and technology work at their service, not the contrary, like it has been until now. In the World I hope for, after the coronavirus tragedy the collective will triumph over the individual. Solidarity and generosity will triumph over profit in a World in which nobody exploits anyone’s labor. A World where people respect each other’s differences. A World in which everyone, absolutely everyone, has the tools to emancipate themselves from all forms of domination or control.

Great tragedies can also reveal the true character of people and things. I’m not just talking about the disrespect that the Brazilian President showed to the memory of the over 5000 Brazilians who died from Covid-19. 

The pandemic has left capitalism naked. 300,000 cadavers were needed for humanity to see a truth that we workers have known since the day we were born.  The tragedy of Coronavirus has exposed an unquestionable truth to the light of day – that it is not capital that sustains capitalism.  It is us workers. This old and well known truth of ours is now causing the World’s main economic newspapers – the bibles of the world’s Elite – to announce that the days of capitalism are numbered.  It’s true – it’s moribund. The task of building this new world that is coming is in our hands, – the hands of the workers.

Brazil has always been a land of hope. Despite the extreme hardships, we who were born and live here know how to face them and know how to reinvent ourselves and grow. Hatred and ignorance feed off of each other and are the opposite of what lives in the Brazilian soul.As a Brazilian I know that we will get out of this tragedy and into a better World and a better Brazil.It’s now, in the middle of the storm, that the Brazilian people will reveal who we are: generous, and tolerant, with solidarity. It’s with this spirit, happiness, and creativity, that we’re all fighting to leave the shadows as quickly as possible to reach a dawn of social justice, of equality and freedom. I hope that the tragedy of Coronavirus gives birth to the real new World that we dream of.

Viva the working people! Viva May Day!