Note from BW of Brazil: The question remains: How many more young black people must die before the national and international community decides that enough is enough? The killing fields in have, in reality, existed since the first African bodies were shipped to the land that would become known as Brazil since the early part of the 16th century. Black bodies to this day still care less value in the eyes of society than other bodies wrapped in lighter/whiter skin. The Elza Soares song “The cheapest meat on the market is the black/dark meat” still applies and every knows it, whether they admit it or not. The piece below is simply a poignant plea for the state to stop its genocidal campaign against black bodies. In a way, it seems that it is all that the black Brazilian can do in such conditions. But black folks around the world, pay attention, because if it happens in Brazil, it can happen elsewhere, and usually does.
I don’t wanna talk about pain anymore, I just want them to stop killing us
By Midiã Noelle
At this week’s Dia Internacional da Juventude (International Youth Day), I would like to ask you, which youth do we celebrate in this country that kills so many young black men? In Brazil, it is certainly not the ‘bigoduin fininho‘ and ‘cabelinho na régua‘* that live in the favelas, those who live in Cajazeiras, Calabar, Bairro da Paz, Beiru, Nordeste de Amaralina, Plataforma, among many other communities. Does August 12th mark the history and importance of the victims in Costa Barros, Cabula, Carandiru, among so many other bloodbaths? More than 130 years have passed since the unfinished abolition and the black population is still being murdered without our bodies being worth anything in this country.
I, Midiã Noelle, born and raised in Salvador’s Liberdade district, one of the blackest places in the world outside of the African continent, write this text with tears and a mixture of anger and revolt. And really, in the mood for revolution! Enough of attacking police wanting to score. Every day before bed, mothers, girlfriends, sisters, need to know if their fathers, brothers, sons, companions are well, safe. And it’s not control. It’s fear! Fear because we live in a country where killing black bodies is the norm. And we’ll never know if whoever leaves, will come back.
And these bodies are largely killed by police, also black, also known as the “new generation capitães do mato“, forged as killing machines, disguised as heroes. And the deaths and losses are so many. From the police itself who makes this exterminator unconscious with his damaged mental health to the lives full of potentiality that are taken – like the young people killed with eighty shots in a car after the commemoration of the first day of employment of one of them -, and from the families that remain torn apart with depressed mothers and parents with a sense of powerlessness.
Dear reader, I don’t want to talk about pain anymore. Seriously. I just want them to Parem de Nos Matar (Stop Killing Us)!, as the campaign by the Rede de Mulheres Negras da Bahia (Black Women of Bahia Network) brings us and the eponymous title of the book by writer Cidinha da Silva. Not walking with ID is not justification for arresting anyone. The use of any kind of drug does not make a person a drug dealer, and even if he was, it doesn’t give permission to destroy lives. The war here is not against drugs. The war in Brazil is against black men and black women. Within 80 hours, five young black men were murdered by police in Rio de Janeiro: Henrico Júnior, 19; Tiago Freitas, 21; Lucas Costa, 21; Gabriel Alves, 18; Dyogo Xavier, 16. At Dyogo’s funeral, seven-year-old sister Sofia prayed and requested to God “that no one should lose anyone like this” and that “all are of goodness.” So young the little one already dealing with such a pain. Our loss begins from childhood.
We have been massively imprisoned in prisons, now wanting to forcibly arrest us through involuntary internment of homeless people and/or drug users who need shelter, care and respect. They humiliate us when we ask for medical help in public hospitals – I appreciate the existence of the Sistema Único de Saúde (Unified Health System of SUS), but it has to improve. And within this perverse logic of Cidade dos Muros (City of Walls), as the writer Tereza Caldeira calls it, and also Michael Foucalt, in Discipline and Punish, the black population continues to be cornered, squeezed, monitored and oppressed so that the non-black population can feel comfortable within its four walls painted in pastel tones and burnt cement and, consequently, also controlled.
It is a perverse cycle that actually massacres us all. Salvador has an almost 85% black population. That is, the non-black population is a minority. The white men, then. But they are the owners of the best posts, whether as owners, or in public and private positions. How can a minority understand the majority who live daily with the racial hatred of a colonial heritage? It can’t. It doesn’t understand. Whoever goes down the elevator of their buildings and goes to the suburbs to put on “Bunda no Paredão” to hear and feel O Poeta Outro Sabor**, returns to his home without fear of being approached. And it’s no use, if you’re white, live in Pituba or Sussuarana, you’re white. And the selective aim of the Brazilian state will not hit or punish you for just existing.
To paraphrase our great Edson Gomes, “The country is guilty, yes!”. But this bill will have to be paid at some point.
*A reference to the song “Bigodinho Fininho, Cabelinho Na Régua” (Vamos Pra Gaiola) by MC Kevin and fans of this type of music, funk, usually, young, poor black people.
** Reference to the song “Bunda No Paredão” by O Poeta