Hello, Americans of tumblr!
I’m sure many of you have seen a post going around telling people to stop reblogging jokes about Brazil’s loss because the players were in danger of being tortured or killed, and as a Brazilian citizen, born and raised, I’d like to tell you this is absolutely NOT TRUE.
Honestly, I have trouble thinking where I could start listing all that is wrong with that post, because believe me, there’s a lot of crap in there.
First, obviously, comes the fact that we do not in fact live in some jungle-barbaric dictatorship who would torture and kill players over a soccer loss - even one as humiliating and important as this! True, the Brazilian people have soccer on our veins, but even so, it does not come to the point where we would condone the violations in human rights of our players. The fact that i even have to explain how ridiculous it is leaves me truly speechless.
Yes, we are very disappointed, and some people are angry - but it’s not any different from the usual sort of disappointed and angry when a team loses, except in the amount of people participating in the collective wank over Facebook. And yes, there are fights and some small focuses of riots and yadda yadda but believe me, it’s not any different from what happens over there. Let’s look in the mirror before we point fingers at other countries, shall we?
Second: The video that accompanies that disgrace that is the post shows images of police violence during the July 2013 riots. Those riots started as pacific protests against the increase in bus fare in the city of São Paulo, governed by the right wing party; They wanted to increase bus fare without proposing any increase in the quality of the services of the public transport network in the biggest city of our country, whose buses and trains serve more than 20 million people daily.
Bus and trains are operated by a private company in contract with municipal and state government, and the protesters were suspicious the increase in fare (bigger than inflation in the period) was just to increase profit. They were pacific marches until the São Paulo government called the Brigada de Polícia Militar (Military Police Brigade, or simply PM) to disperse the crowd. That’s when things got ugly.
The PM is an unit created back when Brazil lived in an extremely violent, extremely right wing, military dictatorship that lasted from 1964 to 1985. It was put in place - with great aid by the United States, I must add - to defend from the communist threat, and employed very violent tactics to do so. The PM were the wardogs and cannon fodder of other military units, responsible - yes - for the torture and murder of people suspicious of communist activity. Communist activity, of course, could be anything from being an actual communist, to being an artist, to going out near the time of curfew and forgetting your id at home, to being black and poor. There are thousands of brazilians that are considered “political missing persons” after being taken prisoner; there are thousands more confirmed deaths. Only now we’re beginning to see the full scope of the violations suffered by the dictatorship, but the few survivors tell tales of months of torture, months of rape in the cells of the military, trying to break them. Several actors and actresses and musicians have been victims of this and several more anonymous people, innocent people, have died and left to rot.
Our president, Dilma, was one of them.
Being heirs to such a cute little legacy, the PM is known to use extreme violence in all cases. After opening fire against the pacific protesters - mostly poor, mostly people of color, and remember, that means communists!! - under orders of the right wing - the opposition to the president’s party - government of são paulo, the protests escalated into vandalism and violence, mostly in self-defense. It was chaos, really, but the video only shows the worst of more than a month of protests in more than 30 cities. Do not believe that it is something other than that. Only much later protests became against the federal government and the world cup, and many believe it was just a distraction tactic so they could put the original complaints under the rug.
Our country has worked very hard in the last thirty years to recover from the devastation that the dictatorship left in our cultural and economic landscape, and soccer does mean a lot to us. And yet, it does not mean we would go back to those atrocious times. It does not mean our president, being a victim of uncountable horrors, would condone such a thing over something as silly as a soccer match, no matter how upset the brazilian population is.
If you care so much, I beg you: please, be pollitically aware and literate. Do your research. Do not believe in everything you read, and please, stop with this idea that everything south of Mexico is a dangerous warzone of terrible dicatorships and poverty. Our politics are a lot more nuanced than that. If you’d like to call yourself anything related to social justice, if you’d like to step in and delight in some wicked sense of self righteousness - fine, I don’t care. But listen to us. Use your brain. Think. Respect us, respect our voice.
Don’t spread misinformation. You’re not helping anybody.