There’s no smoke without fire

EXTRA: BRAZILIAN RIOTS | It’s not about R$ 0.20

"Under Construction"
“Under Construction”
(Para ler este post em Português: EXTRA: Onde há fumaça há fogo)

My purpose on this blog is not talk about politics or social problems of my country but, being on the other side of the Atlantic, my sister asked me to share how the riots against the increase in bus fare are re

verberating internationally…

15 days ago I was in Turkey, exactly when the protests began in Istanbul. Almost immediately friends from different parts of the world sent me messages asking me to be careful, concerned about my safety. Now regarding Brazil…

Until Monday one could hardly see newspapers reporting what was going on there. I exchanged messages with Americans, New Zealanders, Canadians, French, Germans, asking if they knew anything about what was going on … No, no one had heard of protests and police violence in Sao Paulo. On Sunday morning I did a search of the word ‘Brazil‘ in some international newspapers and the only results I found were related to……… SOCCER, of course. For me this is the most scary: to imagine that my country is  stranded on an island of corruption…

From London: on Friday the BBC published a tiny field Brazil: Sao Paulo transport fare protest turns violent which included a quote from the State Governor Geraldo Alckmin classifying the protesters as ‘vandals’ and saying that the police acted with ‘professionalism.’

Really?!?!? Is it professional to use tear gas, pepper spray and fire rubber bullets on peaceful protesters????

Brazilian protest in LondonOn Saturday 15th the only mention of Brazil was about a government’s investment in slums… It was not until Monday that we actually draw media attention, and from everything I’ve read so far it was only on Tuesday (when protests took place all around the world) that the history began to be shown from the point of view of the protesters. The lack of information outside Brazil – and not only outside, local TV stations were also trying to hide the truth –  is so strong that even at the protest that happened here in front of the British Parliament, I was surprised to talk to some people and find that many did not know exactly what was going on back 2013-06-18 19.33.59home, which was the claim, the proportion that the whole thing was taking. Still, it was beautiful to see that crowd of people with their faces painted in green-and-yellow, drumming, carrying posters, and our flag hanging in the window of several buses … Of course, all very organized. After all this is the UK.

(And how did I hear about the protest?? Facebook. And there are people who think it is good for nothing…)

On Thursday Jun 13th was when I became aware that something extraordinary was going on in São Paulo. The first sign of smoke came through the text ‘A gota que faltava‘ (The drop it lacked) by Alexandre Versignassi, editor of an important Brazilian magazine, in which he didactically explains how the World Cup is causing the rise in inflation in Brazil. Still there’s no English version of his text, but in short according to him the government started to print more money to fund new stadiums, causing the devaluing of our currency. When I read his article I was still not knowing what had been his motivation to write, but soon it began popping videos and information about the protest that had happened the night before…

Then I read the story of the blogger Bruno Passos, where he tells in details how it was to take part in a completely peaceful march and, upon arriving back home, to dumbfounded watch the TV news reporting vandalism acts that allegedly happened in that same night / event… 

From the post entitled Não é (só) sobre 20 centavos, estúpido (It’s not (only) about 20 cents, idiot), published by reporter Ana Freitas on her blog ‘Olhômetro’:

“What they want is to make you think that who is on the streets is a half-dozen thugs bums. Teenagers who have nothing to do, dangerous people who need to pay TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to bail out of jail. They very much want you to believe that. You know it: there were all kinds of people there. You know that everybody is as much pissed as you are. You know that, just like you, no one can stand one more second of idle chatter of our rulers, and we are so on edge that even we, the apathetic people, we’re going to the streets cause we are so pissed off.”

Already on Friday, seeing the reports and videos of the event full of police violence, could not restrain myself and started crying. A mixture of agony, to be away, for watching people suffering, being wronged, but at the same time proud that society is finally revolting against government abuses, corruption, lack of education, health, security, transportation public … And boldly facing police repression!

… as reported by jornalist Amanda Previdelli:

“(…) After that, I thought it would end. It was not over. The Paulista ave became a scene of shooting of PMs. They threw gas, went in one direction, turned, threw more gas. Were there clumps of journalists? I do not know, it doesn’t matter. A group of five people were already reason to throw a bomb. It must have been beautiful on TV, the avenue intersections with barricades of fire and bombs. It was not beautiful live…”

With English captions, one of the videos that touched me the most is from the journalist Giuliana Vallone, a reporter from TV Folha, in which she tells from the hospital bed how she was hit in the right eye by a rubber bullet fired by the police during the Thursday’s demonstration:

“They had targeted me at other times. Never thought he would actually shoot.”

And here is the video that best portrays how I feel about the World Cup, No, I’m not going to the World Cup’:

Just to end this post in a Brazilian way…


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