For those of you who are only familiar with the history of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade bringing Africans to what would become the United States in the 17th century, a brief history lesson. The US only received 4% of the estimated 12 million slaves shipped to the New World. The other 96% were sent to Latin America and the Caribbean. Of all Africans, Brazil received around 40% sent to the Americas, almost 10 times more than the US. Slavery started in Brazil nearly 100 years before it began in the US and lasted 25 more years after it was abolished in the US. According to various scholarly reports, slavery in Brazil was more brutal than its US version with slaves suffering all sorts of heinous acts of torture and cruelty.
It is against this backdrop that one must refer to when reading the following story….
When Crato went back to being a slave house
posted by the Casca de Banana blog
On February 6, 2013, at 3pm in the afternoon on, Bárbara de Alencar street, in downtown Crato (state of Ceará), Francisco do Nascimento was tied to a pole and remained so for two hours. The reason: in an outburst, he broke some store windows.
Francisco do Nascimento, a resident of the city’s São Miguel neighborhood has a history of other outbursts, such as setting his neighbor’s car on fire. He also has several entries in the Hospital Psiquiátrico Santa Tereza (Santa Tereza Psychiatric Hospital). According to his niece, the family did not know what else to do with Francisco do Nascimento: there were no vacancies at the hospital and he was becoming increasingly violent.
The town of Crato is located in the northeastern state of Ceará (in red)
During the two hours that was tied up, some people tried to free him, an act in which the two men who arrested him violently intervened. At most, the dazed crowd stupidly admired the spectacle of the man shouting, screaming and asking for help. Several authorities were in on location, like the soldiers of Ronda (1), that fearlessly watched, leaving Francisco as he was with the claim that they wouldn’t transport a crazy man.
But there is another history that bore down on Francisco do Nascimento: being born black and poor. And worse: needing psychiatric care. Thus, being black, poor and crazy, Francisco do Nascimento could be tied up, exposed to public ridicule and stripped of his human dignity, just like his ancestors.
For my part, I just could not believe that after so many centuries, I could still witness a black man being sacrificed in a public square.
1. Ronda do Quarteirão (often shortened as “Ronda”) is a public safety program implemented in the state of Ceará in 2007 in five pilot areas, and then expanded. Source: Wiki
Source: Casca de Banana