One of the problems and benefits of living in a non-native place is that there is the temptation to criticize without assuming responsibility. These criticisms tend to flow more fluidly from wealthier to less wealthy places (without wanting to use the word “developed”), consolidating pre-existing power dynamics with the danger of haughty righteousness and colonialist indignation ever present in the commentaries. Most societies have barbarous practices that need to be called out so that they can be changed. Sometimes, heinous acts such as bombing wedding parties with drones, activating a presidential kill list (it`s not called the executive for nothing!), or handing over trillions to bail out banks, reflect a perverse zeitgeist from which we need to fabricate a collective emergence.
On Sunday, three nearly simultaneous incidents may reflect the general state of things in
. I hope
that they are isolated, perverse incidents. They all speak to something terribly
Rio, three adolescents between 11 and 14 were walking
along the sidewalk near the posh Jockey Club. Apparently there had been some
kind of theft inside the club and two or three members of a private security firm
started after the boys. The older boys managed to jump the wall into the Jockey
Club. Alan de Souza, 11, did not. Alan was taken in a van up near the Vista Chinesa
where he had all of his fingernails and toenails pulled out before being shot
twice in the head. One of the suspects in the torture and murder of an eleven
year old boy is a member of the Rio Military Police. The story has disappeared
from the headlines.
In Sao Paulo, a 21 year old was driving home from partying all night and was doing zig zags in his car along Avenida Paulista. As he was playing about, he ran into a 21 year old cyclist on his way to work. The collision severed the cyclist’s arm, which somehow ended up in the car. The driver did not stop to see what had happened, but sped away. Eventually he stopped, found the arm in the car and…threw it into a canal! He later turned himself in. Protesters on bikes filled Avenida Paulista on Sunday.
Rio, there was an exhibition of a Formula One car on the
Aterro do Flamengo. The event drew tens of thousands of people and also had as
part of the exhibition other Ferrari cars zipping about. Eventually, one of the
Ferrari drivers lost control and crashed into the crowd, hospitalizing three
and terrifying many others. A multimillion dollar car taking up leisure space
on the weekend is questionable. Cars doing tricks at 300 km\hr while people
crowd against the road with no protection is begging for tragedy.
I don`t know exactly what these three events say about the value of human life and dignity in
but they will hopefully stimulate some critical self-reflection, prosecutions
and high-profile court cases. Brazil