Friday, November 21, 2008

Loneliness (2)

Rafael woke up in his bed. It was still dark outside what he thought was a good thing. He have been waking up too late for the past weeks and that took his energy out. The thought of how late it was to do anything relevant kept him from executing the most simple tasks. Today was different, it was early. At least early enough for taking a good breakfast and finally clean the apartment and do the laundry.

He stood up, stretching for a minute or two. He felt good, ready. Went to the toilet to wash his face and he looked at his computer. "I'll just check something before I start...". Poor Rafael. He knew that in truth that was weakness. The great escape he always had from doing his chores and thinking about the reality he had placed himself in. He sat by the notebook at the corner of his room and started checking e-mail, virtual communities, forums, cartoons, tv-series, news. Anything was a reason for him to stay a few more minutes on that chair.

He knew about that but... there is always one more small thing to check, to answer, to watch. You don't need a lot of effort to find your dreams coming true on the web. And that dragged him away from anything he actually had to do. At some point his hunger eventually led him to the fridge just to find it empty. One week without buying anything. Maybe more? He didn't know. He didn't care. Went back to the computer to let himself be dragged again.

Another hour or so until he finally took a shower. It was late in the afternoon already when he finally felt like going out to buy food. His stomach hurt. He dressed up and looked on the mirror.
- How long don't you shave? Is it really me? I don't know you anymore... - He said to himself while looking at his image. - What's going with you? How long don't you see someone else? You have been in your room for days now! You gotta do something. I have to do something! That's it! Now it starts a new phase! - He smiled. Not for real but to convince himself of that fragile selfconfidence. He had to hold on to whatever he could.
And with that he set off to the supermarket, into the cold, harsh windy weather that sucked the warmth even from his soul, nullifying all his effort. From the minute he stepped outside, only thing on his mind was to finish the shopping so he could go back into his room.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's wrong?

I received the following text by mail. It said that the source is from a Brazilian advertisement agency called Bullet. The director of the agency wrote it. I decided to translate it and post as we all need some time to think about real problems that sometimes we forget or translate into some distant excuse.


"I'll make you a slide show.
Are you ready? It's common, you have seen these images before.

Perhaps you are even used to them.
It starts with those hungry children in Africa.
Those with the bones visible under their skins.
Those with flies on their eyes.
The slides keep coming.
Exodus of entire populations.
Hungry people.
Poor people.
People with no future.
For decades we've been exposed to these images.
On Discovery Channel, National Geographic, photography contests.
Some turned into art, in books of renown photographers.
It is misery in images that stir.
Images that create government platforms.
They create NGOs.
They create organizations.
The create social movements.
Misery around the world, in Uganda or in Ceará (Brazil), India or Bogotá, stirs.
Year after year it has been discussed what to do.
Years of pressure to bring the attention from a infinity of leaders that succeed in the most powerful nations of the planet.
Some say that US$ 40 billion would be enough to solve the starvation problem worldwide.
To solve, capicce?
There would be not a single little boy terribly skinny and with no future, in no corner of the planet.
I don't know haw they calculate that number.
But let's say it is underestimated.
Let's say it is the double.
Or the triple.
With US$ 120 billion the world would be a fairer place.
If there was no parades, political or philosophical speeches, or pictures to sensitize.
If there was no documentary, NGO, lobby or pressure that would solve.
But in one week, the same leaders, the same powerful nations, took from their sleeves US$ 2.2 trillion (US$ 700 billion from the USA and US$ 1.5 trillion from European nations) to save from starvation those who were already with their stomachs full."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Order of the Red Phoenix (1)

She is a strange figure, that girl. That night she was sitting in the dark corner of the tavern, by herself. Only an almost burnt candle made her company but it was barely enough for the rest of us to see her face. It was a noisy night as you should expect from a tavern in Anthar'Alon. You know, that one right next to the barracks... The usual confusion was taking place. Men shouting, challenging, laughing and bragging out loud about their victories and battles. And of course, ale. I had something to drink as well but I do remember that night.

Yes. She was there, sitting alone in the dark, watching everyone with her usual superiority look. I must say I never liked that girl, Lord. She looks at everyone indifferently, as if we were all pathetic losers, as if we don't know what's going on out there. But I tell you, Lord, we do know what's going on!

Er... I guess you are not interested on that. Ok then, I'll focus on the story about that night.

So it was just another night, nothing special was going on as the hours slipt away. Some of the men got drunk, tried to pick a fight here and there, some were already leaving, others still arriving. And you know it's not common for a girl to stay at a tavern alone so late in the night. Especially one so young and beautiful! I just told you I don't like her but I can't help it if she's stunning! Those green eyes that shines like emeralds and her hair looks like black silk, Lord! I wish I could just... Oh! Ok, Lord. I'm sorry!

So one of the men finally approached Elthyn with ale and sat down next to her. She looked a bit surprised at first but she didn't move. I don't know what they talked about for I was too far to hear them. But for some reason that scene caught my attention. There was something odd there... First is the fact that no one never approaches that girl; and also... there was something there that looked familiar, even though I didn't recognize at first.

They talked for a brief moment, stood up and left together. On their way out I payed more attention to the man. He had just arrived for I don't remember him before his approach to Elthyn. And as he passed by me on their way out, someone opened the door and a cool night breeze blew into the tavern, lifting the man's hooded cloak for an eye blink. For that short period of time I could see the man's pale hand and on his wrist the Red Phoenix! I swear to the gods, Lord! I saw it! I saw it!
- Have you told this to anybody?
Of course I did, Lord! But everyone thought I was drunk, that they were gone forever, and aaaahhhh!!!
- Get rid of his body before someone sees it...