Hello, my good friends,
Today I went to a protest here in Berlin to support my fellow brazilians who are changing the world back home. So, I believe it would be nice to talk to you about what is happening in my beloved country, Brazil. In this last week, we have seen several manifestations and protests there. They started because of a 20 cents raise in the tariff for public transportation in São Paulo. But that raise was just the last straw. We are tired. As a nation, we are tired. And now our population goes to the streets demanding for respect.
I am often telling my colleagues here in Germany how Brazil is an amazing country. I love it. I love its nature, its people, its culture. I love the food and the music. I specially love our diversity and I also have an optimistic view for our future. And talking about future, it is often said here that we are finally making it! That our economy is growing and that we are now soon becoming part of the so-called developed world! It is really super exciting! The problem is: it is not true. Or at least not so simple. Let me tell you some facts about my beloved Brazil.
In Brazil, we work for four months only to pay taxes. At least that is what 35% of taxes represent. Besides that, everything there is more expensive. If you live in Rio or São Paulo, your life will be way more expensive than here in Berlin or even New York.
If only we received back all the public services we are entitled to... All Brazilians are entitled to free public education and health care. But no. We have to face everyday how our money is not invested in schools or in hospitals. How a teacher makes not enough money to buy food while our senators are one of the most expensives in the world. We also have to deal with corruption, which steals around 80 billion Reais per year, or 40 billion US dollars.
We struggle with our own safety too. In big Brazilian cities you have a feeling of security that can be broken at any moment. I have never experienced myself any kind of violence. But I know people who have. And we watch the news and we know what to do to keep ourselves safe. So I watch out before walking to my car. I go to malls, not to open spaces. I don’t go out late at night. But even if I pay attention and only walk on the safe part of town, there is always one kind of violence that I cannot run away from. It happens when you are having lunch on a Sunday with your family and an eight-year-old wearing dirty clothes and no shoes comes inside the restaurant to ask for money, because he is hungry. And you loose your appetite. Quickly a waiter will lead the boy out of the restaurant and everything is like it was again. But those few seconds of contact between the two Brazils are enough to make us stop pretending everything is ok. You pay the bill and drive home. Thinking about it in your car.
This is Brazil. You can think about it while you use the air conditioner of you car. Your amazing car that costs three times the ones you see here in Europe. Or in Chile (or in Mexico!). You can think a lot about what happens in the country, because most likely you will be in a traffic jam. You see, we have a super Government that makes us buy more and more cars, but doesn’t build enough infrastructure for that. Having a car in some of the biggest cities of Brazil I extremely expensive! But we keep buying them, because you don't want to (or cannot) rely on the public transport. In Brazil, you have lousy, unpunctual, and also expensive public transportation. If you have a subway, you have only a few lines. If you have buses, they will be old, crowded and they will often break.
But that is not the worst about my country. What really made me ashamed of Brazil were two things:
To begin with, our Police is acting like a dictatorial force. They are repressing democratic peaceful movements. They are putting into jail the student leaders of the protests.Now we have political prisioners, just like we had during our dictatorship!
Besides that, our beloved free media was the worst actor of it. The way our media covered those protests... When we saw a movement of people who are tired of being exploited and wanted to express their own ideas, we had a media that turned its back to us. Almost the entirety of our major TV networks and newspapers quickly portrayed the protestors as outlaws. And maybe a few years ago that would have been a very efficient way to shape reality in a way that appraised them. But now it’s different. We have the internet, with twitter, instagram, facebook and youtube.
Remember of the video you saw in the beginning? It is super cool, right? With the special effects and all that... But these ones are even better. These are the videos of a true giant awakening. Be my guest to watch them:
Rio de Janeiro:
With love and strength!!! Keep changing my country for me! I am proud of you! :)