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Roberto Henry Ebelt



ENGLISH SPEAKING NURSE – just graduated from Ulbra— If you need an English-speaking nurse*, perfectly fluent in English, who has lived for about a year in California, send me an e-mail.
I would be very glad to make ends meet.

• *Nurse = enfermeira. Não confundir com auxiliar de enfermagem.

Cuba, Egypt, Iran, North Korea, and several Islamic Kingdoms – Dictatorships are hard to die.

HARD TO DIE – Do you remember the series of films with Bruce Willis with the title HARD TO DIE?

Literalmente falando, HARD significa DURO e TO DIE significa MORRER.
Atenção: TO DIE não significa "matar" (to kill). Eu faço questão de mencionar isso, pois, geralmente as traduções dos nomes de filmes estrangeiros não são nem literais (palavra por palavra, sem levar em conta o contexto em que estão inseridas) nem literárias (ou livres. Livres são aquelas traduções que levam em consideração o contento em que as encontramos).
A pessoa que escolhe o título de um filme estrangeiro, acima de tudo, é uma pessoa que entende muito de marketing. Ela geralmente escolhe um título que apela às preferências do público brasileiro. Tanto isso é verdade que os nomes de seriados apresentados na TV a cabo, pelo menos os que eu conheço, não são traduzidos, pois se dirigem a um público mais elitizado, que consegue entender os títulos em inglês (que, às vezes, não fazem o menor sentido nem para nós, brasileiros que falamos ou entendemos a língua inglesa, pois nós estamos distantes do contexto hollywoodiano).

Isso posto, vamos à frase que descreve as ditaduras acima mencionadas: DICTATORSHIPS ARE HARD TO DIE (as de direita, nem tanto – veja o caso da ditabranda brasileira. Durou insuficientes 21 anos e o número de comunistas, socialistas , anarquistas e demais inimigos da nação exterminados pelos militares não excede o número de soldados e civis brasileiros assassinados pelos nossos "despicable terrorists" . O número de nossos inimigos que tombaram na luta para nos comunizar é inferior a 1% das vitimas dos Mario Brothers, digo, Castro Brothers durante a década de 60 do século passado. E, visto que mencionamos as múmias cubanas, vamos ao texto abaixo, baseado em informações publicadas no Miami Herald.

Detalhes: HERALD significa arauto. MIAMI, no idioma dos índios Seminoles, significa água doce, que, em inglês é fresh water. Favor notar que não se diz "sweet water" a não ser que a água em questão contenha adoçantes ou edulcorantes.

In Havana, Fidel is probably laughing out loud to see that Mubarak has lost his power after 30 years of undisputed leadership. In Castro’s eyes, the octogenarian Mr. Mubarak brought a world of trouble on himself by trying to mollify* Western critics through the creation of a phony** democracy that would give his regime some respectability.

*Mollify = to soften

**Phony – este adjetivo não tem nada a ver com telefonia. É apenas um sinônimo de FAKE = counterfeit, false).

Dictators never learn and this is the reason why it is a mistake to name the period when Brazilian military took control of the mess Brazil had turned into, in the first trimester of 1964.
Our soldiers (the ones who did not avoid confrontation with our enemies) not only PREVENTED communists to take over the power in Brazil, but they also gave up their power, in 1985, without a revolution.

Unfortunately, they returned the power to civilians too soon. Their timing was not correct at all. They should have waited a decade or two more to accomplish such dangerous task, because the enemy leaders, the ones who wanted to transform Brazil into a branch of the defunct Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics were still alive (many of them have been ruling our country for almost a decade).

If the Brazilian Military had stayed in power at least until the beginning of fall of the Soviet Empire, four years later, Brazil certainly would have already achieved the position of 5th economy in the world.

The Russians, on the other hand, also made many mistakes when they turned a socialist dictatorship into a capitalist democracy, but not the mistake to return the power to civilians while the socialist dinosaurs were still alive. The timing of Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev was correct.

Back to Egypt:

Mr. Mubarak, though, was never a softie, says the Miami Herald. Egypt’s intelligence service, the Mukhabarat, is justly feared throughout the Middle East for its inhumane treatment of anyone perceived as an enemy of the state and his behavior and timing were completely wrong.

The American Left (the Democrats) represented by Mr. Barack Osama or Obama Hussein, or Barack Hussein Obama II, whatever his name is, is likely to repeat the same mistake that Jimmy Carter (another leftist democrat) made during his term, allowing the ousting of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, Shah of Iran – (26 October 1919 – 27 July 1980), who ruled Iran from 16 September 1941 until his defeat by the Iranian Revolution on 11 February 1979. He was the second and last monarch of the House of Pahlavi of the Iranian monarchy. Pahlavi came to power during World War II after an Anglo-Soviet invasion forced the abdication of his father Reza Shah. During the Shah's reign, Iran marked the anniversary of 2,500 years of continuous monarchy since the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great. His White Revolution – a series of economic and social reforms intended to transform Iran into a global power – succeeded in modernizing the nation, nationalizing many natural resources, and extending suffrage to women. (Compare with Iran's present mess).

A Secular Muslim himself, the Shah gradually lost support from the Shi'a clergy of Iran, particularly due to his strong policy of modernization, secularization and conflict with the traditional class of merchants known as bazaari, and recognition of Israel. Clashes with the Islamists, increased communist activity and a 1953 period of political disagreements with Mohammad Mosaddeq – eventually leading to Mosaddeq's ousting – caused the Shah's opponents to disagree and overthrow his rule.

Various controversial policies were enacted, including the banning of the communist Tudeh Party and a general suppression of political dissent by Iran's intelligence agency, SAVAK. By 1979, political unrest had transformed into a revolution, which, on 16 January, forced the Shah to leave Iran. Soon thereafter, the revolutionary forces transformed the government into hell (an Islamic republic).

QUESTION: Who was the president of the United States then? A leftist democrat. Jimmy Carter never succeeded to free the hostages of the American Embassy in Teheran. On January 20, 1981, minutes after Carter's term in office ended, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Iran were released, ending the 444-day Iran hostage crisis. Can you see the difference between a leftist Democrat politician and a Rightist Republican President?

Probably History will repeat itself and the world will have a "wonderful and modern Islamic theocracy" ruling Egypt very soon, unless the Egyptian military find a way to expel lunatic Muslim leaders.

The flip side of this officially sanctioned terror was the attempt to create a kind of fictional democracy to give the state the appearance of legitimacy by Hosni Mubarak. Thus, Egypt’s citizens had access to the Internet. Opposition (closely watched and within strict limits) was allowed in the media. The anti-regime Muslim Brotherhood (here lies the danger) was officially banned, but its underground survival tolerated. Rival political parties exist, at least on paper. Until now, foreign reporters have operated freely and with little fear of harassment. Uncensored TV news from sources like Al-Jazeera was widely seen.

In Mr. Mubarak’s Egypt, the illusion of freedom was allowed to flourish. When the upheaval came, the mirage vanished. Internet access was cut off, Al-Jazeera banned, foreign reporters detained and, in some cases, beaten by mobs, opposition was silenced and the regime’s thugs were given free rein.

Cuba is a different place, according to the Miami Herald.

In Cuba, none of the trappings of democracy have existed for half a century. It is not part of the Castros' playbook to permit any activity that would nurture the popular aspiration for liberty.
Access to the Internet for everyone – are you kidding? There is no opposition press, real or make-believe, no opposition parties, foreign reporters are closely monitored, and the average citizen has practically no access to independent sources of information.

Egypt’s business class is reported to be in anguish over the turmoil because it’s hurting the economy. In Cuba, there is no business class – the military runs the economy. Nor is there any civil society to speak of.

In Cuba, moreover, the military is an unconditional appendage of the Castro regime. In Egypt, the armed forces are an institution apart. Officers must support the regime, but the institution’s ultimate loyalty is tied to the state and to the military’s own traditions and customs, not to the political fortunes of one individual.

In Cuba, it’s all about loyalty to Fidel and Raul. Officers are closely scrutinized for signs of disloyalty (and publicly disgraced, even executed, if they fall under a cloud of suspicion).
Fidel Castro has no use for the trappings of democracy because he has no interest in democracy. His is a zipped-up, no-nonsense totalitarian regime, designed to perpetuate one-man rule, brooking no opposition and making no concessions to foreign or domestic critics.
In the place of normal civic organizations, there are the notorious Committees for the Defense of the Revolution – neighbors spying on neighbors. Principled and outspoken critics of the regime are thrown in prison and left to rot. Dissidents honored by foreign human rights groups are rarely allowed to go abroad to accept their honors.

Fidel and Raul Castro have had 50 years to hone* the apparatus of Cuba’s paranoid tyranny. Crushing dissent has been their principal preoccupation.

*To hone = vb. to sharpen the edge of a tool

If the streets of Havana do not burst forth with protest, it is not because Cuba’s people are any less thirsty for liberty than the people in Cairo.

But, unlike Hosni Mubarak – and Sadat and Nasser before that – the Castro brothers have *foreclosed every avenue of rebellion and taken every conceivable step to stifle** the longing for freedom. Like the Sun King, Louis XIV, Fidel Castro has been able to proudly proclaim that he is the state.

* To foreclose = vb. to take away the right of a mortgager to redeem his property; to hinder; to prevent; to shut out, to exclude; to close or settle beforehand.

**To stifle = vb. to hold back, restrain; crush, quell; smother, suffocate, asphyxiate;

Mind my words: I feel a satisfactory rightist trend in our President. The reason?
Ms. Rousseff, besides being well educated, is tough, and she knows the faults of the Left.

To end our meeting today: if you had, let us say 10 years ago, to go to exile either in Cuba or in Egypt, would you be so dumb as to choose the Caribbean penitentiary?

Next week, we will have the opportunity to check whether we have a leftist or rightist trend. The questions are very easy and simple to answer. Have an excellent weekend.

Tags: Roberto Henry Ebelt, ensino, inglês

Roberto Henry Ebelt é professor, escritor, escreveu uma coluna semanal para o Jornal do Comércio de Porto Alegre entre 2001 e 2013, e é diretor do curso HENRY'S BUSINESS ENGLISH desde 1971.

Seu mais recente livro, O QUE VOCÊ DEVE SABER ANTES DE ESTUDAR INGLÊS, pode ser encontrado nas livrarias Disal, Cultura e SBS ou à rua Hoffmann, 728 em Porto Alegre.

E-mail: roberto@henrys.com.br
Fone (51) 3222-3144
Página no Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/henrysbusinessnglish/?pnref=lhc

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