brazil '07

What’s going on in Brazil? #07

As of 03.11.2016

Elections

We’ve had elections for mayors and you could say we screwed up pretty bad. Three of our main capitals, São Paulo, Rio and Florianópolis, ended up with, respectively, literally-miniature-Trump (I mean it, the guy was even the host of The Apprentice here), religious-ultraconservative-leader (who did imply once gays come from failed abortions and that women’s role is to be submissive), aaand man who said, and I quote, “I have vomited after smelling The Poor”. And tbh I can’t remember any of the other capitals having got much better people either, but what’s really striking is that there were better options in most of them. Also, a HUGE number of people didn’t vote, even though it’s mandatory, which might have had influence on those results (when I say huge number I mean some of the winning candidates were outnumbered by the blank, annulled and absent votes. Yeah.)

Schools & Government violence

Over a thousand schools and universities were occupied by students these past weeks, in protest against the new government’s projects (austerity measures that seek to freeze spending in health and education and wages for up to 20 years and changing schools curriculum - I might explain this in more detail later if anybody’s interested). They have no support from the media, that is portraying them as invaders and vandals, and therefore low support from the population. Here’s where it gets dirty: after students decided not to follow a court order of repossession in a school last week, a judge ordered police to stop food, water, power and any other family or friends of these students from reaching the school and to use sleep deprivation techniques - yes, that is, by law, a torture method and was commonly used during the dictatorship. I also need to remind everybody: these are students. Most of which aren’t even off-age yet. The most famous of them all is sixteen. The situation is beyond fucked up and that hardly even shows in the paper. Some students in another school were handcuffed and taken to a station the other day, also minors. In other potentially scary related news, a few actors were arrested in São Paulo last week in the middle of a performance that was considered “disrespectful to the State and the Police”. Actors were later released and government is saying they’ll investigate the officers responsible, but, really, the fact that people were pretty violently handcuffed and arrested for making a mock-play of the government scares me to death. 

There’s plenty more happening here, especially regarding laws and politicians, but I feel like these are the most important points now and the easiest to explain. I might write later again about the government projects, but you can hit me up with questions about in the meantime too. Please keep Brazil in your thoughts, again. We’re not having an easy year.

Title: Jogar Capoëra, ou danse de la guerre.

Description: Lithograph of Afro-Brazilians performing capoeira dance*. From the Schomburg Photographs and Prints Division (Print Collection - South America - Brazil).

Reference: SCPR 07.23.067

Source: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library

Note: danse de la guerre literally translates (from French) as “war dance”.




* This is incorrect. Capoeira is not a dance. It is a martial art that was carefully developed and designed specifically to look like a dance because it was illegal for slaves to learn how to fight. 

In true embodiment of the Brazilian spirit, slaves (as I’ve explained before) crafted a fighting style that uses music and in which students do not make contact with each other (except for advanced acrobatic moves that require using another person as a springboard or something of the sort) in order to learn how to fight without getting in trouble.