Note from BW of Brazil: Although it’s been covered in numerous previous posts, it can never be considered a worn out topic. That is unless you’re a person who isn’t concerned about the alarming rates of homicides in Brazil that seem target the young, black and poor more than any other group. Does the issue sound as if it’s blown out of proportion to you? Consider this, in 2015, more than 58,000 murders were registered in Brazil, a total that is higher than the 55,000 plus confirmed in Syria. So what’s the big deal? Well, there is a civil war going on in that country, what’s the excuse in Brazil? I’ve said it before, and I stand by it: something more than just random everyday violence is going on in Brazil and it’s no coincidence that the principal victims of this violence are the very people that Brazil’s elites hoped to eliminate by widespread miscegenation at the turn of the 19th century. So, let’s do the math. The black population in Brazil has less education, less access to health care, may have been the target of a forced sterilization campaign, is the majority of the prison population and is the main target of homicide. This can only be mere coincidence, right?
Violence: War on young people, blacks and poor people from peripheries
The result of the Atlas of Violence 2017 released on Monday (5) is a cruel and bloody version of a commonplace: the chronicle of an announced tragedy.
The study was conducted by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea), with the Fórum Brasileiro de Segurança Pública (FBSP or Brazilian Forum of Public Security), and reveals the undeclared civil war. The numbers are vehement. Among every 100 people murdered in Brazil, 71 are poor, black and young people from the peripheries.
Although there is no declared war, it can be identified between the lines of a 1989 Escola Superior de Guerra (ESG or Higher School of War) document entitled “Estrutura para o poder nacional para o ano 2001 – 1900-2000, a década vital para um Brasil democrático” (Structure for national power for the year 2001 – 1900-2000, the vital decade for a democratic Brazil). The document warns against the belts of poverty on the outskirts of big cities, such as Rio de Janeiro, and suggests the militarization of action against the poor and the “abandoned children”, seen as socially dangerous. This logic of “containment” of the poor prevailed in the following years, carried out by the Military Police.
The numbers released today depict this deadly reality reiterated year after year. They show that, between 2005 and 2015, despite the social inclusion measures adopted by the Lula and Dilma governments, there were 318 thousand violent deaths of young people in this social stratum that is at the base of Brazilian society. There was a 17.2% increase in the homicide rate in the 15-29 age group. The risk of a young black being murdered in Brazil is 2.5 times higher than other citizens.
This dantesque scenario worsens from the rise of the right to the Brazilian government, with the coup of 2016, as evidenced by the mere reading of the newspapers and the increase of headlines that announce massacres against poor people across the country.
There is a genocide of black youth in Brazil. And it is not the accusation often made by the Movimento Negro (black movement). But by the reports of two congressional committees of inquiry (CPIs) of the National Congress that dealt with the subject in 2015 and whose conclusion is the bitter realization that Brazil is a violent and racist nation.
In addition to the pain caused by the loss of lives, this violence has a paradoxical cost. It is equivalent to 1.5% of the Brazilian GDP, a value similar to that applied to security measures that are adopted; in total, this means 3% of the Brazilian PIB (GDP).
It is an atrocious reality, which worsens whenever the right advances in the country. The numbers from the Map of Violence outnumber international scenarios where there is open and declared conflict. They are shocking numbers. In the 34 years between 1980 and 2014 almost one million Brazilians were murdered, revealed the CPI of the Chamber of Deputies. It results from the omission of public power, which allows the existence of extermination groups, militias (often formed by police) and organized groups of traffickers. To them is added the lethality of the Military Police, which functions as a real anti-people shock troop, especially against these black and poor young people.
It is the shocking reality of citizenship dealt with by the bullet. Against it, it is urgent to break the silence of society, especially that of the upper-income strata and greater social prestige, who seem to witness these murders as if they were normal, or the cost of fighting crime.
Brazil owes this civilizing advance to the citizens of the lower strata of society, especially to the black and poor youth of the peripheries. The alternative is to maintain the cruel and illegal framework driven by racism. This is a situation which, given the worsening of the social crisis resulting from the real decay of the economy promoted by the President Michel Temer/Finance Minister Henrique Meirelles duo, could worsen even more.
It is imperative to treat Brazilians, all, with the same equality that the law demands. This treatment entails the deposition of arms in this civil war against the poorest and most excluded, who are seen as dangerous and thus enemies that are treated with the point of the whip and arms.