Note from BW of Brazil: It is a topic that unfortunately I’ve had to cover too much on this blog: The senseless murders of young, black Brazilians. The story is nothing new. In fact, if you’ve been a follower of this blog for any amount of time for the past five years, you know that Brazil has a serious problem with homicide. You need reminding of how dire the situation is? Let’s take a look at a few headlines and quotes.
GQ magazine tells us that “More than 53,000 Brazilians were killed in 2013: one every ten minutes. More people have been killed in Brazil over the past four years than in Syria’s civil war. The overwhelming majority of Brazil’s victims are young, male, black and poor.”
According to Forbes magazine, “Brazil Is Murder Capital Of The World” as it is home to 22 of the 50 most murderous cities in the world. Or how about The Conversation website that tells us that “10% of all people killed globally each year are Brazilians“. How about this one from one of the nation’s top media outlets, O Globo, which reveals that “more than 318 thousand young people were murdered in Brazil between 2005 and 2015”? Want to put this figure in perspective? In that 10-year period, the number of young Brazilians murdered was 67,000 more than the population of the American city of Durham, North Carolina!
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, what’s going on in Brazil is not just ordinary, everyday violence; I suspect that it is a coordinated plan of action to take out the nation’s “undesirables”. What conclusion would you come to when you read about hooded shooters, off-duty cops and death squads?
Stop killing us!
Terror in Belem: hooded militiamen closed the street that gave access to the bar and fired on the population, including two children.
By Flávia Ribeiro
Something happens in Pará…There’s blood of poor and black people being spilled in gallons and who cares? Every week we know of one or more massacres, but what do we not know? Black and silver cars take terror to the outskirts of Belém. It’s already gone beyond the question of popular imagery or the sense of insecurity. It’s turning into a cruel routine of fear! To live with the uncomfortable feeling that there is a weapon pointed in our direction. In January, after the death of a Military Police officer, in April again, in May and now in June. This is the fourth bloodbath recorded this year in the capital. There have been more than 40 deaths.
We know that historically black people are the main victims of violence in Brazil, but something is happening so that the killings are coming out of that trivialization that doesn’t cause any social unrest. That trivialization of “burning of archives”, of “settlement of accounts” … Something is happening so that the deaths get so out of that control and start to shock, to terrify … What’s happening?
Hooded men descend with the certainty of impunity, shoot and kill. There’s a genocide going on here in this town. We shout it out every day. Who hears us? We’ve mourned the death of our friends, neighbors, and we fell silent in the face of fear and impunity.
In the head
In the latest slaughter in Belem, two trucks closed down a bar and fired. It left 3 dead in the hour, two in the hospital, more than 10 injured, among them two children, one shot in the head. Those who survived said there was no target. They just shot. More than the certainty of impunity, the hooded ones only wanted to kill and follow with the genocidal project of the Brazilian State. It is there, far from downtown and the walls of the condominiums that the lost bullets find their targets. Men, women, children, teenagers … We don’t know. What we know is the class and race of the victim. Slaughterhouses only happen in the periferia (periphery/outskirts), to pessoas pretas e pobres (black and poor people)!
According to data from the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), in 2017, of every 100 people murdered in Brazil, 71 people are black in. More people are killed in Brazil than in civil wars declared by the world. Of the 30 most violent cities in the country, 22 are in the North and Northeast. Altamira, here in Pará, is the leader of this ranking.
The study by the NGO Conselho Cidadão para Segurança Pública e Justiça Penal (Citizen Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice), based in Mexico City, showed Belém as the 11th most violent city in the world in 2016, the 2nd most violent city in Brazil. There are 67.41 deaths per group of 100 thousand inhabitants. The report is based on data released by the press in the largest cities in the world and gives a description of the methodology.
In the countryside, the situation is no different. In the state of the massacre of (the city of) Eldorado do Carajás, the death field is routine. Punishment is not! A few weeks ago, a “confrontation” between farmers and Military Police left 10 people dead. A “confrontation” leaving 10 farmers dead. No policemen were injured. According to the Comissão Pastoral da Terra (Pastoral Commission of Land), Pará led the ranking of murders in the field in the last ten years (2007-2016). There were 103 deaths in the state. Then came Rondônia, with 66 murders.
When we launched the 75-day campaign of Ativismo Contra o Racismo (Activism Against Racism) here in Pará on May 12th, someone asked for the reason for the campaign. It’s because we’re dying. It is because racism is so planted in Brazilian society that it is trivialized. It is because every living black person is a challenge to the statistics. The Brazilian State does not care about how we live or how we die. It’s because we are still fighting to have a dimension of humanity that has been historically denied us. To live is not a privilege. It is a right. We want to live without a gun pointed at us! We want to live! Parem de nos matar (stop killing us)!
* Flávia Ribeiro is a journalist, a black feminist, a militant from Cedenpa (Center for the Study and Defense of the Black of Pará, the Rede de Mulheres Negras (Black Women’s Network) and the Rede de Ciberativistas Negras (Black Women’s Cyber Activist Network).
Source: Jornalistas Livres