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Brazilian Culture secretary resigns after a speech with quotes Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels

Saturday, January 18th 2020 - 08:59 UTC
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“Given the huge discomfort caused by this unfortunate episode, I presented my immediate resignation,” Roberto Alvim wrote on Facebook “Given the huge discomfort caused by this unfortunate episode, I presented my immediate resignation,” Roberto Alvim wrote on Facebook

Brazil's culture secretary Roberto Alvim resigned on Friday over a speech in which he appeared to quote Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

In a video, Alvim, a member of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro's government, announced a new arts funding program to the background of music by Richard Wagner, a composer many associate with Nazism.

“Brazil art over the next decade will be heroic and national,” said Alvim, sitting behind a desk as he stared intensely at the camera, with a picture of Bolsonaro behind him, a Brazilian flag to one side and two-barred cross to the other.

“It will be endowed with a great capacity for emotional involvement and will also be imperative, because it will be profoundly linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, or it will be nothing,” he said, speaking in Portuguese.

The wording was similar to phrases attributed to Goebbels in a biography written by German holocaust expert Peter Longerich and published originally in German in 2010.

“German art over the next decade will be heroic, it will be resolutely romantic, it will be objective and free of sentimentality,” Goebbels was quoted in the book as saying in German. “It will be national with great poignancy and also imperative or it will be nothing.”

Having initially claimed any similarities between the two speeches were a “rhetorical coincidence,” Alvim later stepped down.

“Given the huge discomfort caused by this unfortunate episode, I presented my immediate resignation,” Alvim wrote on Facebook. “I deeply repudiate any totalitarian regime and declare my absolute repugnance of the Nazi regime.”

Earlier Rodrigo Maia, the president of the House of Deputies, called for Alvim to be sacked over the speech, which lasted several minutes.

The Israeli Confederation of Brazil, which represents Jews in the country, described the comments as “unacceptable” and also demanded his removal.

Alvim initially blamed the furor on “the left” and said the similarities were “a fallacy of remote association.”

“The whole speech is based on a nationalist ideal for Brazilian art and there was a coincidence with one phrase from a speech by Goebbels... I didn't quote him and I never would,” he said.

However, Alvim admitted he was a fan of what Goebbels said. “The phrase, in itself, is perfect: heroism and the people's aspirations is what we want to see in national art.”

Bolsonaro described the speech on Twitter as “an unfortunate statement” and said it made Alvim's position “untenable.” The president too expressed “rejection of totalitarian and genocidal ideologies, such as Nazism and communism.”

Alvim had struck an unexpectedly solemn tone in the speech, which announced the creation of an arts prize worth 20 million Reais. When taking on his current role in November, he promised to launch a “cultural war” against progressiveness and vowed to align public policy to conservative values.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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  • DemonTree

    I was going to make a joke, but the similar words Alvim used aren't really the point. He used similar words because he has similar ideas and goals for art in Brazil: using it to push government propaganda of what is 'good and right'. And he has similar ideas of what is good and right, too - similar to the Nazis. That's not funny at all.

    Jan 18th, 2020 - 09:07 am +1
  • Jack Bauer

    I wouldn't go as far as saying “government propaganda”.....just, perhaps his own personal view, presuming he was aware of the origin of what he said - or, just an ignoramus fed the bs by a subordinate (just as stupid, or) who wanted to see him screwed....either way, a bloody fool, who should have realized / suspected that no one normal would use such 'radical and pompous' rhetoric.
    IF it were official goverment propaganda, he would not have been sacked immediately after.
    But I'll agree that B should have been more thorough when checking his CV.

    Jan 25th, 2020 - 07:03 pm 0
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