I shut down the reader comments function of this blog back in October because it was being swamped with hate mail from Brazil in an obviously orchestrated campaign among what I know to be a small, activist group of people who were determined to deflect blame for the Sept. 29 air disaster from the government and the military, which runs air traffic control.
Frankly, some of the comments from Brazil back then, some of them explicitly violent, were scaring my family. Even professional colleagues urged me to shut it off.
I recently added an e-mail link, which doesn't post to the blog. I have to say, the tone has definitely changed as incontrovertible evidence accumulates to show how this accident occurred. Here's an e-mail from today, though it's anonymous. In the "message" line, incidentally, it said: "Not a death threat."
At first I was very suspicious about you, disliking you a lot, felt humiliated about the ever present disrespectful comments and disrespectful ironies about my country, albeit I agree you were very firm and exact on following the data, the investigations and perceiving quickly what the Brazilian authorities were trying to do. The truth is I've been following your blog since it started and I am impressed by your correctness and that the facts and comments that you reported were never dismissed as incorrect. The general behaviour of the media was regretable, I agree. I think there is a good portion of trully investigations, but the other part is frankly misleading and counterproductive. Also, in this process the brazilian people got aware with what is at stake and what the incompetent air traffic authority is trying to do.
Anyway, I appreciate your work. Maybe you should write a book about the case. This way you will probably help us to solve this flight security problem.
A brazilian passenger.
And my reply:
Thanks for the amusing message line and the nice note.
I have been reading the works of Jorge Amado for months, and recently began Riordan Roett's " Brazil ." Once this awful, awful event has come to a conclusion, I hope to be able to write about Brazil with deeper understanding, and I assure you that even given the circumstances of my brief "visit," with a degree of genuine affection. Except for Wonderful Waldir, of course. But even there, he denounced me as an "ignorant young journalist" on what happened to be my 60th birthday, so maybe I owe the old boy one.
Maybe a dialog can resume?