5 years with GV

Where is Juan?

Where is Wally? Global Voices Summit 2012 – Internal meetings day 2. Photo: Asteris

5 years!! wow!! I have just had a look up on my profile !!! I thus have been around for half of GV's age… My first translation, Des blogueurs échangent sur le racisme dans leur pays (in October 2009) was a post by Diego Casaes, on racism in Brazil.

That appeared right to me : speaking about this world cancer from a Brazilian point of view. Let us specify first of all, and for good comprehension of what will follow, that I have a long and passionate relationship with that country, a passion which has lasted for 40 (40?) long years. My first steps on GV were thus purely moved by this interest: To stay in touch, to follow the news closely and to practice my Portuguese (ah, yes completely incidentally and much to my regret, I am French, so if you had not noticed it yet, I need to practice my english too !!).

I started to exchange emails with Claire and later with Suzanne, the Co-editors of the French team, with a categorical “my interventions would only relate to Brazil, exclusively, with the exception of other Portuguese-speaking countries”. She answered me with a disarming smile (Yes ! I remember to have seen it on your e-mail, Claire) that “but of course” and that “You do what you want”.

I then felt much more at ease to take part in GV following my own rhythm and according to my aspirations: Fight against racism, for LGBT rights, for a more participative policy, and a more “up to date” perception of Brazil by Europe. To leave (finally!!) behind the stereotype according to which in Brazil, everyone dances, it is carnival every day, and between two samba rounds they play football on the beach, before going to remake their buttocks at Pitanguy!!! I wanted my compatriots to have another perspective!!

Gradually, I then also made my way into the GV Lusophone group (I am multicarte!!) which enabled me to translate the posts that interested me directly from Portuguese and ahead of other volunteers. Compatriot translators appeared claiming “my” posts, then disappeared (some with grudge, which I besides never really understood!!)…

But I never wrote a post for GV. Initially because I am not living in Brazil any more and because, after all, the people best placed to speak about the country are the Brazilians themselves which, let's see if you're following me, I am not. But who knows if one day I will?? (ihh, is this about “never wrote a post” or “not to be a brazilian”???)

However, I would just like to say, all my admiration for the work carried out by all these nice people all around the world, GV collaborators and others, who idealize projects that are constantly flowering within the community and that, behind my small spyglass, I can see growing so quickly. I am a contemplative, nobody will remake me. Too late.

Nevertheless, you, GV members, got all my support and affection !!

I just would like to thank everyone for the opportunity to be a (small) part of it, and, by the way, ask you to forgive this broken english I've used to injure your eyes.

This is Sagres, south of Portugal but turn right and it is Fortaleza – you just need to swim!

This is Sagres, south of Portugal but just keep straight and it is Fortaleza , Brazil – you just need to swim!


  • That’s a beautiful post Jean :) I really enjoyed reading it! Maybe write a post about reflections of a Frenchman about Brazil? ;)

    • juan

      Thank you so much Mohamed !!! and on the “reflections of a frenchman about brazil”, that’s funny, Paula ask me for the same … but I wonder…. it would be “off-topic” in that violent and “loco” world… more relevant issues would be most interesting for the people around, don’t think ??

      • Au contraire :) It is actually refreshing and interesting to see non-political posts. I’m always interested in travel literature, which is basically what is meant by reflections of a Frenchman about Brazil. With all the violence and craziness around us, it is harmful to get used to it, because then we lose touch with all the beauty of the details of daily life. Violence and braziness turns life to numbers, and although numbers sometimes have their own beauty, but in our case here it removes all the beauty off life.

  • I’ve said this to you in private, but I can’t resist saying it again – I loved your post, Juan! Love your sense of humour too. I am looking forward to a post here saying how you ended up in Brazil – that story is incredible! We should provide you with a Brazilian passport any time soon!

  • Thanks for your sweet post. I can hear Claire in your words just like you heard her in that email :)

    • juan

      thank YOU so much, Jeremy, I’m glad you enjoyed it !!

  • Sahar Habib Ghazi

    Juan, thank you for the lovely reflection – it made me smile and laugh. Echoing Paula and Gohary, I can see a Bridge piece about a Frenchman’s love affair with Brazil, bursting from the seams of this post!

  • claire in paris

    Jean!you are our one and only Brazilian ‘Juan’ at GV FR, forever, thank you for this post, you were the one who really got us hooked on Brazil with your stories about Fortalezza, opening a hotel there and how Brazil “saved your soul” somehow. And your kindness and your dedication to long hard posts. Bref, meravilioso. Beijo-bisou

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