Note from BW of Brazil: Several years ago, Brazilians celebrated after the country’s rise onto the world stage was rewarded with the hosting of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, scheduled to take place in Rio de Janeiro starting in August. But as the date to the Games gets closer, the concern for public security is getting more intense with a strong assistance from the nation’s top TV network, Rede Globo. Globo, far and away the number TV channel in the country, has long demonized the black and poor population in not only its news reports but also in its novela (soap opera) and series productions. Which brings to mind a comment we received here on the blog sometime within the past few years.
Someone sent a message that basically stated that our perspective of how the police deal with criminals would be different if we were the victims of the crimes. To which we say the following. No one is condoning any sort of crime, loss of material items or even worse, human life, in any of the posts here. We simply question the people that citizens point the finger at and the differences in how people are perceived when there is a difference in social position, class and skin color. We also question the reason that people are so quick to judge certain parcels of the population as guilty and having a lack of morals and thus sanction harsh judgments/punishments but totally change their tune depending on who the accused are. We’ve seen these reactions in relation to singing groups, we’ve seen it when persons are accused of crimes, and we’ve seen it when people wind up homeless or addicted to drugs. We’ve seen it when the question is petty crime and vigilante reactions.
No, when don’t offer an apology to crime at all here. We simply say that if you judge one group for crime (actual or perceived), why don’t people judge all people in the same manner instead of convicting one group in public opinion while turning the blind eye to another? If Brazilians are honest about these facts, they would admit that the country has a long reputation for corruption and often lawlessness. And if this is this case, who would be more responsible for the current state of fear and lawlessness: the powerless who are victims of the system or those who have the power to create such a system and even avoid punishment when they commit much bigger crimes themselves? The piece below sort of follows along the lines of a similar post in which we presented this argument back in July. Just some food for thought as all eyes will soon be on Brazil once again in the coming months.
Globo TV and governments: what to do with the black bodies in the Olympic city?
“How do you ask for calm, patience and peace from those who historically suffer from violence, torture and death?”
By Douglas Belchior
The white businessman denounces.
The television news journal with the country’s largest audience reports.
White Lieutenant Colonel of the Military comments: “Over the past three months, 69 minors were seized; 120 were sent to relevant sectors.”
The chief of the Civil Police, white, reaffirms: “In 2015, there were 80 operations in which 120 minors were apprehended.”
The government official, also white, says: “The Municipal Secretary of Social Development carries out actions with the police in downtown Rio.”
And to close with a flourish, as a technical endorsement to give credibility to the article, an expert does a expert lip-reading of the black that, according to the newspaper, trains the flock: “With violence, with no mercy.”
This was the plot of a story aired on January 5th, 2016, by Jornal Nacional (JN) of TV Globo. The same content was aired repeatedly on local news program broadcasts during the day and re-run throughout the week.
The criminalizing narrative combined with the power of images makes of journalistic piece a true apology to hate against those who are actually the main victims of social and economic contradictions in which we live: the homeless and favelados (slum dwellers), young and mostly black, and not only men, women also.
Nothing new, since such content has a permanent place in the police programs of dubious quality, in the afternoons of the lower rated broadcasters.
But what matters here is the promotion of the theme to the level of “Globo standard of quality,” elevation to prime time, on the news journal of the largest audience of the main TV network in the country. This, of course, is no accident.
Brazilian society has no moral authority to condemn teenagers snatching wallets, stealing cell phones, watches or chains in the corners of Rio de Janeiro or any other city in the country. Brazil has no morals.
The Rio de Janeiro will host, in a few months, the biggest sporting event on the planet, the 2016 Olympics. The streets need to be free and clean. Black, undisciplined, uneducated, dirty and dangerous bodies need to be swept away. And the public must comply.
I cite the Olímpidas (Olympics), with no doubt, as the current priority of municipal and state governments of Rio and the Federal Government. But the truth is that the hygienist, racist and genocidal logic of state action is present in the history and daily life of Rio de Janeiro. Its public security policy is, with absolute certainty, the main proof of this statement.
Child offenders who steal in broad daylight, attack any unsuspecting, including the elderly and women, ladies of leisure and workers, there is no objective criterion. “Violent bandits”, “vandals”, “monsters”. All almost always, black.
But who are they? Why do they live on the streets or always come down from the hills? Why don’t they have a job? Why don’t they go to school? Why do they hate?
Are they vagabonds? Do they steal because they want to? Couldn’t they be reading? Traveling? Pedaling? Working out …but they are there, stealing?
If I didn’t know and didn’t understand the history of Brazil, maybe I would condemn them. But I know. So I don’t condemn them. And I say more: Brazilian society has no moral authority to condemn teenagers snatching wallets, stealing cell phones, watches or chains in the corners of Rio de Janeiro or any other city in the country. We don’t have – we as a society – any moral to even condemn those who stab or swell the ranks of organized crime. Moreover, as already described by journalist Mariana Albanese’s text published on this Blog, “Next to those who really rule, these boys are as dangerous as the Patati and Patatá” (1). Brazil has no moral.
It is not, understand, a defense to evil or evil doers, but to seek to understand, from a historical and sociological point of view, the whys of certain practices. Crimes against life, violence and brutality tend not to serve as a solution to social, economic or political problems. But does a country with violence and violation of rights as usual practice in dealing with a significant portion of the population has some condition to demand a different stance? How do you request calm, patience and peace to those who historically suffer from violence, torture and death? The poets of Racionais MCs, in a few words, would say, “You give cup of poison and wants Suflair?”
It seems unfair to me to impute responsibility only to those living in conditions of serious vulnerability, as if they were the only ones responsible for this condition.
For the rest, it’s always good to remember that violence and criminal activity are not the exclusive patrimony of the rich, the bad politicians, the police or the mainstream media. Why should the black and poor give up this possibility?
(Luiz Fernando) Pezão (governor of Rio) wants to end the Fundação para a Infância e Adolescência (Foundation for Children and Adolescents)
Hypocrisy is such that, while the racist elites want to clean the streets and sweep this black and smelly people away, the Rio government wants to close the foundation that welcomes teenagers as a measure of internment.
The news made headlines of the major communication networks, the day after airing the damning report on JN. The government sent to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro at the end of 2015 a bill proposing the extinction of the FIA (Foundation for Childhood and Adolescence).
The governor claims that there will be a lack of resources to maintain the care services for children and adolescents, as well registered in the note sent by the Palácio Guanabara (Guanabara Palace):
“The bill, which is still under discussion in Alerj (Legislative Assembly of the State of Rio de Janeiro) establishes the extinction of a local authority and six state foundations based on the sudden drop in collection of revenues, aggregate forecasting of its decline for the next fiscal years, mainly driven by uncertainties in the domestic and international economic scenarios.”
How do you understand this? There is, on the one hand, the need to “sanitize” the cidade maravilhosa (“marvelous city” i.e. Rio) (2) to indulge Olympic tourism. On the other, the absurd initiative to end the main public entity of actions for the protection of children and adolescents in the state.
To where, after all, will beings devoid of enough humanity to share urban space be removed? Adults jails? Still can’t do that. (Speaker of the House Eduardo) Cunha couldn’t finish the dirty work of the approval of the reduction of legal age of criminal responsibility in Congress. So, what to do?
What to do with the black bodies outside of the law? Disappear them!
Yes, after all, murder and leaving bodies exposed have drawn a lot of attention. It’s necessary to change the practice, something that the militias have done with primacy. Large-scale disappearances (3). Street cleaning. Bodies to the ditches.
But we’re talking about government agencies, the municipal police of Rio and the Military Police of the state of Rio. They’re different things. Militia practices are something else.
We know that they’re not.
“Violence and criminal activity are not exclusive patrimony of the rich, the bad politicians, the police or the mainstream media”
A study by the sociologist and Professor Ignácio Cano, responsible for the Laboratory of Analysis of Violence at the State University of Rio reveals a dramatic increase in the missing persons index from militia action.
The numbers are dramatic. Since 2008 the quantity of the disappeared has exceeded that of homicides in the state. In 2015, 2,533 disappearances against 995 deaths were registered.
In 2005 the numbers showed disappeared 1,455 disappeared against 2,030 homicides. The data corresponds to measurements in the West, North, South Zones and suburbs of Rio. The increase ranges from 47% to 125%.
Hypothesis of the synthesis: TV Globo and other broadcasters expose the daily violence of the streets of Rio, which strengthens the feeling of insecurity, fear and hatred of black and poor homeless and favela (slum) dwellers. These constitute, therefore, dangerous criminals on the loose.
The economic crisis prevents the imprisonment of many more living bodies. After all, inmates have high cost, they need to eat, dress, sleep and even though overcrowd prisons is ideal for the practice of funding shifts taking place across the country, times are lean. Exterminating and disappearing bodies is cheap, convenient, silent and effective.
Hypothesis or irresponsible ranting? Would it be that the arguments described herein are unrealistic? I don’t believe so.
Nothing new for the city that until yesterday was capital of our slave empire. Nothing new in the country of the racial democracy, futebol, Carnival and now the Olympics.
Nothing absurd for the country that most kills blacks in the world and where the station that commands 80% of the national audience is placed at the service of the formation of public opinion to support the genocide and barbarism.
Black man, black woman, smile. You’re being filmed. And killed.
Source: Negro Belchior/Carta Capital
- Patati and Patatá is a Brazilian clown duo that is is known as the “most beloved clowns in Brazil.”
- An idea is not new in Rio in regards to its black population. See here.
- And let us not forget the ongoing genocidal murders of black youth.