Monthly Archives: January 2015

A FANTASTIC ‘STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS’ – ( JeSuisBarack) congrats President Obama

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This was certainly one of the BEST speeches I have witnessed – if not THE best – in my lifetime. Am in tears, here in Europe, middle of the night, feeling SO PROUD to have a visionary of a man fighting for the UNITED states – and not a divided country of Blue and Red states – GOP and Democrats. The most progressive man ever and I am so proud. God bless you, Barack Obama! Thank GOD for your existence !!!Obama is BACK !!!

Gerald

JeSuisBarack

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January 21, 2015 · 2:45 am

“There’s the respect that makes Calamity of so long life”

My humble ‘homage’ to those who departed at the precise time, the times in their minds seemed precise and so perfect. It would have been the time when they could stand it, endure it, no longer felt let down, misunderstood, betrayed by the ones they trusted or, simply, because “They understood that this constant repetition of the chores of life had become too much of a burden.”
Helio Oiticica died at age 42. Glauber Rocha at age 42. Hendrix, Joplin, all those, at age 27. All geniuses, unlike me. MLK went too early, too soon, late in the day and soon in our lives…. and so did Ghandi.

“When the last time came, when the ruins proved them right, were they really all there where you played as a child?”

Stefan Zweig
– Walter Benjamin
– Arthur Koestler
– Kurt Cobain
– Robin Williams
– Gilles Deleuze
– Spalding Gray
– Hemingway
– Abbie Hoffman
– Violeta Parra
– Mark Rothko
– Van Gogh
– Hunter Thompson
– Socrates
– And my uncle, whom I never knew (age 17, Berlin, by hanging just before Hitler came to power)

“To be, or not to be, that is the question—
Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep—

No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
and by a sleep, to say we end
and by a sleep, to say we end
and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub
To die, to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream; Aye, there’s the rub
To die, to sleep,To sleep, perchance to Dream;
To die, to sleep,To sleep, perchance to Dream;

For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life

For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life”

“Hamlet” (Shakespeare)

I thank you all for a great 60 years on this planet.
I came to do what I had to do and did it. And did it well.
“There’s the respect
That makes Calamity of so long life”

Gerald Thomas
Wengen, Jan 18, 2015

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Folha de São Paulo (printed version) Versão impressa de “Quem Ri Por Ultimo, Ri Melhor”

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January 17, 2015 · 3:10 pm

Folha de S. Paulo – Gerald Thomas (Opinião: “Tendencias E Debates”

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3 million copies of “Charlie Hebdo” hit the stands! 2 more million to be printed!!!! Have we won?

The current edition of the magazine

The current edition of the magazine

Sweet taste of victory over tragedy: 3 MILLION (rather than the usual 60 thousand) issues of Charlie Hebdo are on sale in France (and all over) in more than 20 languages! YES !!!!

Doce gosto de vitoria sobre a tragedia: 3 MILHOES (ao inves dos 60 mil) de exemplares do Charlie Hebdo estão nas bancas na França (e no mundo), e em 20 ou mais idiomas. YES!!!!

Victory – albeit partial – WE WON !!!!!

Gerald Thomas

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“He who laughs last, laughs longest”: VIVE LA FRANCE !

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“He who laughs last, laughs longest”

(in)Tolerance X Tolerance

– The very LAST thing I need in this world is a lesson in human rights! During years I worked as a volunteer at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International in London, in the 1970s. Yes, it was a 24-hour deal, working on behalf of prisoners of conscience (in my case, mostly Brazilians political prisoners, either in exile, tortured or disappeared.) After Amnesty, I worked for the “International League of People”, chaired by the Italian Senator, Lelio Basso. And, finally, I worked on behalf of the Russell Tribunal. I know what the hell I’m talking about!

And it wasn’t only on behalf of high profile political figures as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Fernando Gabeira, Vladimir Herzog, Miguel Arraes or Stuart Edgar Angel. I actually paid an unannounced visit to the Brazilian prisons in 1978. I was 24 years of age at the time, and entry to Brazil was difficult. Yet I did manage to go around the country, talking to families of prisoners, visiting their living quarters, listening to the testimony of how they’d been tortured, beaten and held incommunicado. The (then) illegally military and paramilitary organizations set up purely in order to torture and kill people (i.e. Doi-Codi, Oban (Operação Bandeirantes) and DOPS) were acting shamelessly and in full strength. After all, the “Institutional Act # 5” , implemented by General Costa e Silva in 1968, gave those dungeons full authority. I worked madly and swiftly to pass along information and urging heads of European States to act on behalf of illegally arrested students.

It was a huge cause, possibly more visible today – after our 9/11 horror or the Paris attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, last Wednesday.

About one month ago, I was marching in the streets of New York (where I live), protesting the horrible outcome of the horrendous verdicts of the Grand Juries proving their impotence and indifference in indicting anyone after the terrible deaths of Eric Garner in Staten Island (NY) and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. I also marched two or so years ago, after the brutal murder of Trayvon Martin in Florida. But I refuse violence of any kind. And that is why I also laid flowers at the makeshift memorial in Brooklyn where two NYPD cops had been killed in the most cowardly of manners, weeks ago. They were Wenjian Liu (Chinese, 12 years in the USA) and officer Rafael Ramos. I’m quite eclectic in my homages.

I would love to be at the one million march of solidarity in Paris today, pledging again and again my ideological support for a free society and freedom of speech. That is what I stand for. But, unfortunately I’m not in Paris. Yet, I’m relieved to learn that 40 heads of state will be there, side by side next to President Hollande of France, the country / birth nation of “Freedom, Equality and Fraternity”. Ironically, Netanyahu and Mahmud Abbas will also be there, shoulder to shoulder.

My last “large march” was in London in early 2003 – to try and prevent Tony Blair from joining Bush in the useless, banal and stupid ‘invasion’ of Iraq.

Yes, I am for freedom of expression, whatever the media, whatever the means. Even more so, after this tragic event which left the cartoonists of “Charlie Hebdo” and Jewish shoppers at a Kosher supermarket dead.

I know what racism is. I know its face. As a kid, I spent a year in Erwin, Tennessee and, arguably, I saw horrendous segregation, busing, disgusting outbursts against blacks or African Americans. I was 12 and I was stunned then as I am now, at 60.
Tennessee and Alabama were precisely the two states chosen by the greatest of all political and religious leaders ever: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – tragically assassinated in TN, in 1968.

I know what xenophobia is. I know its face. More than half of my family died in the gas chambers of the Nazi regime. Yet, that does not prevent me from being a fan (and even the stage director) for most Richard Wagner operas.

I know what it’s like to ‘have to have an enemy’. I’ve looked many in the eye. I grew up with the holocaust in my head and a Lutheran father who taught me the ample, ephemeral vision of the world. He fought the Nazis from inside his own Germany, passing info to the Resistance. And I knew Samuel Beckett, my master and mentor, who sat by the window and “watched the world go by “– in this same Paris we see today – from his flat in Boulevard St Jacques, having fought the Nazis – just as my father had.

Although half of my family was exterminated at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, I AM FOR any form of cartoon, satire, joke (be it in whatever format) about this Jewish culture I’m a part of and which, I must confess, I know little about. I’m not good at remembering dates, lighting candles or holding dear to me the sacred cows of religion.

Religion to me, as a whole, has become a bipolar disorder.

I don’t actually believe many people ‘celebrate’ Ramadan, Yon Kippur or Christmas. I think that people ‘follow their rituals’. Celebration is something different. Yet, this ‘following’ has become somewhat of an Olympic competition between credos and what ends up being commemorated are the DIFFERENCES!!!! It’s almost an abominable war of egos and gang war between ghettos.

I HATE Golden Calves and Holy Cows! Hate them. It’s all but a silly joke and disingenuous disrespect to our origins and sheer blindness. Not a blink more, none less. Blindness !!! One ghetto confirming its superiority over another and holding its stoic and heroic fasting over the other ! Please!

But, even so, I don’t mind any satire or caricature of my culture or the caricature of the cadavers of my dead family members (and there have been many!) when I see a German depiction of a ash tray – full to the rim – with the sardonic saying “Gerald Thomas and his family have arrived in full clothing”. Yes, ash trays! Imagine that! I’m a child of the 1960’s – I did step into the marvelous mud of Woodstock and still firmly believe in the values of “Freedom, Freedom….is a motherless child” and / or Hendrix’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, its distortion of the meaning of a proud anthem, its electrifying truth of the sounds of bombs falling over Vietnam.

“We live in such FREE times” said Wolinski (the 80 year old cartoonist, killed last Wednesday), during a trip to a Rio favela in 1993, “that it has become a challenge to provoke”. Little did Wolinski know!

FUCK !!!! I HATE any form of racism! I’m a public figure and have put my face and signature on the map. I am in the theater and “from” the theater. From farce to realism, from satire to tears, I put myself in every one of my plays “pretending to stage myself and my anguishes”, using actors or singers to do it for me in an attempt to invent and reinvent the human (Bloom) and, yes, the desperation to try and write about MY time on earth is enormous, enormously difficult, enormously complex but I know I will leave behind a testimony of my era.

And my era is as divided and divisive as it has ever been. And that is amazing. We’re HUMANS, Goddamn it! HUMANS and nothing else.

I could not care less if people pray or don’t pray, whether or not they attend their mosques, synagogues, churches , evangelical palaces or Bhuddist shrines. It’s all BullShit to me!!! I am, however, intransigently rigid to my principles. And those, unmistakably, can be summed simply by my HATRED for those who are intolerant to humor, humor of any kind and go on killing fields or sprees in the name of Mohammed, of Christ, of Communism, or Fascism, of Nazism, or any other “ism”. To HELL with all this.

I protested in the streets of Nashville and New York in the 60’s and 70’s against the Vietnam War. Right there with us, visible as only a cartoon character could be, was Jules Feiffer – the muse of cartoonists during the counterculture movement and there was Ziraldo, Jaguar and Paulo Francis from the Brazilian Hebdo, O Pasquim. And there was The Private Eye in London and there was Monty Python – this latter, the greatest of them all, no “literal respect’ for anything and any holy cow. In their more than brilliant “Life of Bryan”, the “stoning” and the crucifixion scene could’ve offended billions. Yet it didn’t. And their more than hysterical depiction of the many dissidences of the Palestinian Liberation fronts was…..well…..liberating!!!

Caricaturing is NEVER a crime. Never! Pen or pencil don’t kill. They might even exaggerate, humiliate and tickle our nerves but THEY DON’T KILL !!!!

Yes, I might feel provoked or diminished when I see a cartoon depicting an ash tray full of burned everything – with the balloon saying “our prayers to some ex-Jews”. AND I am profoundly bothered (yes, sure I am), when the audience shouts at me at the end of my staging Tristan und Isolde “Little Jew boy, go back to the camp”. But instead of holding up a machine gun and shooting, I merely moon them. I show them my naked bare white ugly ass!!!!

A caricature can, in principle, erase another, with the same rubber eraser at the opposite end of a pencil. That’s how easy it is, physically and metaphorically.

I was taken away in handcuffs but, after a year of paying hefty lawyers, I was eventually acquitted by Brasilia’s Supreme Court (http://www.geraldthomas.com/press/0311-nytimes.htm) (http://www.geraldthomas.com/images/pdf/0311-londontimes.pdf)

AND I would do it all over again. I’d do it in the name of freedom of speech, democracy and freedom of civility!

I would do the ENTIRE thing again, even the work at Amnesty International when, in London, I was notified via an article in the Guardian, that all of the cartoonists and journalists of Pasquim had been arrested.

Traditions generate prejudice. FUCK them!
I hate traditions and I hate prejudices!
Nobody will ever shut me up, ever! They can, on occasion, oppress us, repress us, torture us and water board us and they might try to massacre Free Speech in whatever way they see fit.
Yes, they’ve tried.

But “He who laughs last, laughs longest”. Or vice versa. Whichever way.

Gerald Thomas
Jan 11, 2015


The march in Paris has just ended or….reached its destination (from Republique to La Nacion) and I am in tears, of course !!!!

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QUEM RI POR ULTIMO, RI MELHOR !!!

(IN) Tolerância X Tolerância.

A ULTIMA coisa nesse mundo que preciso é lição em direitos humanos. Durante SEIS anos trabalhei na Amnesty International (a sede da organização: International Secretariat – década de 70) em Londres trabalhando pelos presos políticos brasileiros, exilados, desaparecidos e torturados. Depois fui pra “Liga de Liberação dos Povos” do Senador Italiano, Lélio Basso. E depois disso, fui pro Russell Tribunal. Sei do que estou falando.

Não é somente das celebridades presas ou exiladas, como Gabeira, Herzog, Stuart Angel e Arraes que falo. Eu visitei quase todas as prisões brasileiras em 1978 (Barro Branco, Frei Caneca, Itamaracá, etc). A lista era enorme: o Doi Codi, a Oban, etc estavam em plena operação (assim como o Fleury no DOPS) e outros esconderijos da ‘ocupação militar’ brasileira pós Ato Institucional numero 5 mandavam ver. E eu la, na sala de “telex” da Amnesty, em Southampton Street, Covent Garden, defendia os estudantes da Convergência Socialista ou dezenas de presos cujos nomes, infelizmente, hoje me fogem a cabeça. Ah sim, Alex Polari de Alverga, Nelson Rodrigues Filho, Vladimir Pomar, Pedro Pomar, Elza Monerat, Iramaya Queiros Benjamin e assim por diante.

Faz um mês (ou um pouco mais), eu estava marchando nas ruas de NY (onde moro), protestando o horrendo veredicto do “Grand Jury” sobre a horrenda morte de Eric Garner em Staten Island e Michael Brown em Ferguson, Missouri. Fiz o mesmo ha dois anos quando Trayvon Martin foi assassinado na Florida e deixei flores no ‘makeshift memorial” dos dois policiais mortos em Brooklyn, Wenjian Liu (Chines, 12 anos de USA) e Rafael Ramos, hispanico. Como veem, sou ecletico nas minha homenagens.

Gostaria de estar hoje em Paris – nessa marcha de 1 milhão pra ser mais um na multidão, apostando nessa utópica sociedade livre e na mais utópica ainda “liberdade de expressão”. Mas não estarei. Mas fico feliz ao ouvir que QUARENTA chefes de estado estarão: de Netanyahu a Mahmud Abas! Que ironia! A ultima “marcha de 1 milhão” da qual participei foi em Londres, 2003, pra tentar evitar que Tony Blair se juntasse a Bush na inútil, banal e estúpida invasão do Iraq ( e olha a merda que deu!)

Sim, defendo toda e qualquer liberdade de expressão, mesmo depois desse trágico evento de Paris que matou os cartunistas do Charlie Hebdo e mais pessoas num mercado Kosher.

Sei o que é racismo: fui criança em Erwin ,Tennessee e, confesso que vi as piores coisas, presenciei os mais horrendos comentários sobre negros – era o centro da “segregation” (junto com Alabama, etc), justamente quando o maior de todos os lideres, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, estava marchando pra Washington e….bem…

Sei o que é xenofobia: mais da metade da minha família foi exterminada em vários campos de concentração na Alemanha (de Auschwitz até Buchenwald) e nem por isso deixo de ser fã incondicional de Richard Wagner e enceno suas óperas.

Sei o que significa ‘odiar o inimigo”, já que fui educado com o holocausto na cabeça mas com um pai protestante luterano que tinha uma ampla visão de mundo e – depois de ter lutado dentro da Alemanha em plena Segunda guerra (a favor da Resistência pro Forças Aliadas), olhava o mundo pasmo, assim como meu mestre Samuel Beckett, olhava o mundo pasmo, de sua janela no Boulevard St Jacques, nessa mesma Paris depois de ter feito o mesmo: trabalhou na Resistance.

Mesnmo tendo minha família exterminada em Auschwitz, admito qualquer forma de cartoon, sacanagem, piada, etc a respeito dessa cultura (judaica) da qual faço parte.

Nada (ou pouco) sei sobre o Judaísmo. Nem me lembro das “datas sagradas” – pois pra mim essas datas viraram uma espécie de transtorno bipolar.

Não se comemora Ramadan ou Yon Kipur ou Natal pra celebrar nada. Comemoram-se as “diferenças”. Uma espécie de competição olímpica horrenda que confina cada credo ao seu guetto, afirma sua superioridade, e ataca os outros. ODEIO VACAS SAGRADAS. Eu sou a favor do FIM aos tabus e das Vacas Sagradas. Palhaçada tudo isso!

Mas, MESMO assim, mesmo assim!!!, admito sátiras aos cadáveres dos meus parentes! Sou filho da contra-cultura, pus meus pés na lama de Woodstock e até hoje acredito naqueles valores “Freedom, Freedom, I’m a motherless child” e acredito (inutilmente) no Star Spangled Banner que Hendix inverteu, distorceu e transformou nas bombas que caiam sobre Vietnam.

“É tanta liberdade que não há mais como provocar”, dizia o Wolinski em 1993, passando pela favela da Rocinha, no Rio.
Wolinski foi morto na quarta feira passada, na redação do Charlie Hebdo.

Merda!. ODEIO qualquer forma de racismo. Sou uma figura publica e eu ja disse a que vim e a que veio (que feio!), faz mais de 4 decadas. Sou de teatro e do teatro! Da farsa ao realismo, da satrira as lagrimas, me coloco no palco “fingindo encenar a mim mesmo”, usando atores ou cantores liricos numa tentative de reinventar o “mundo ideal” – sendo que essa Torre de Babel ja deu!!! E tento escrever (sim é desespero incrivel) , tento depor sobre a minha época, sobre os conflitos do tempo presente em que vivo.

Qualquer coisa DIVISIVA É HORRIVEL. Somos HUMANOS porra! To cagando se é mesquita, sinagoga, igreja católica, templo evangélico, templo bhuddista ou o caralho a quatro. Qualquer pessoa que LEVA A SERIO demais o fato de nos satirizarmos uns aos outros, que vão a merda!!! Ou se enterrem Vivos ou mortos vivos ou (quase mortos)!! Sim, sou intransigente no que diz respeito a liberdade de expressão de cada um: e sou ainda MAIS INTRANSIGENTE quanto MATAM EM NOME DE ALLAH, DE MOHHAMED, de Cristo, de comunismo, de Nazismo, de Fascismo, de qualquer “ismo”.

Protestei nas ruas de Nashville e de New York na dedada de 60 e 70 contra a Guerra do Vietnam. Junto do nosso parco movimento, havia um cartunista de NY (Jules Feiffer) e tinha o Pasquim do Ziraldo e Jaguar e Francis no Brasil e tinha o Private Eye em Londres e tinha o Monty Python – que valia por todos (em especial: “THE LIFE of Bryan” – com sua sátira sobre o apredrejamento (stoning) ou a própria crucificação ou as varias milhares de dissidências entre as frentes de libertação da Palestina.

Caricaturar NUNCA é crime. Caneta e lápis não matam ! Exageram, humilham, nos fazem cócegas, mas não matam.

Aceito QUALQUER caricatura a respeito da minha família contida em cinzas em em cinzeiros (que tanto vi nas minhas épocas da Triligia Kafka em Vienna, no Wiener Festwochen em 1989)!!!. Posso ficar incomodado com desenhos de cinzeiros cheios com a legenda “aqui dentro, uma pilha de ex judeus” – mas não saio por ai metralhando as pessoas. E quando urram da platéia “Judeuzinho volta pro campo”, como berravam na minha platéia em Tristão e Isolda no Municipal do Rio em 2003, eu abaixo as calças e mostro a BUNDA!!!!

Uma caricatura pode apagar a outra, como a borracha, lado oposto do lápis que a desenha. Sim, mostrei a BUNDA e fui processado por evangélicos hipócritas e fanáticos (Rosinha, Garotinho, essa cambada). Mas, um ano depois, e muita grana gasta com advogados, acabei absolvido pelo STF em Brasília.

Eu faria tudo de novo, assim como esta em plena reunião de pauta nesse momento, a equipe que sobrou, do Charlie Hebdo. O próximo numero terá 1 milhão de exemplares. Deja vu? Talvez. Afinal, bati nas portas da Amnesty International na década de 70 porque eu havia recebido a noticia, via The Guardian, de que o Pasquim todo havia sido preso, inclusive meu futuro sogro, o Ziraldo.

Ninguém vai nos calar, jamais. Podem nos oprimir por um tempo, podem matar alguns, podem torturar com choques e waterboarding, podem tentar nos massacrar de todas as formas mas…QUEM RI POR ULTIMO, RI MELHOR !!!

GERALD THOMAS
Jan 11, 2015

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