Brazil, the world…and us

As everyone knows by now, Brazil, “the sleeping giant,” is in a state of popular revolt. Surely this revolt has been simmering for a long time, and like a faulty pressure cooker, has finally exploded.

It seemed to have started with an increase in public transportation fares, but really that was just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Once public frustration about the fares started to push the escape valve, the whole thing blew up quickly and powerfully.

Downtown Rio

Downtown Rio

The streets of many of Brazil’s major cities are packed with demonstrators—most of them orderly, with the exception of a few vandals. The word on the street is that some of these vandals are being paid in order to shed a bad light on the protestors. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but what I do know is that the Brazilian population overall has had it up to “here” with political corruption, poor health care, faulty education, and now the excessive spending to host the World Cup—for which Brazil is ill-prepared. Many people feel that since the country is in a state of transition, it just isn’t ready to tackle an event of this size.

Facebook is loaded with photos of huge crowds filling the downtown areas of major cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Recife. Everyone has an opinion, but overall there seems to be a strong sense of solidarity—the time has come, we’re ready, this is IT.

Well, I’ve been watching all of this activity in the news and the social media, and I think what’s going on in Brazil reveals to a great extent what’s going on in the rest of the world. There’s nothing unique about it. After all, what is the source of global problems? When you get right down to it, it’s human selfishness, lack of compassion, egotism, greed, fanaticism, fear, and so on. These are the same traits responsible for global warming, famine, and everything else that’s wrong in the world. Where do these things start? With individual human beings, in their thinking. And thinking leads to actions.

So in all fairness, I can’t help but ask myself: Am I contributing to any of these problems with my own thinking and/or behavior? Am I? Are we?

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7 Comments

Filed under Rio de Janeiro, social media, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Brazil, the world…and us

  1. I think we, Brazilians, are really fed up with all that, but I also think it is the time for a change in the society. We’ll see…for sure we’ll see.

  2. Elisa

    As a Brazilian I make your comments mine, up until your final remark. It’s true that individual qualities: human selfishness, greed, lack of compassion, and fanaticism are manifested in the corruption that has shamefully disabled Brasil. However, I’m weary of delineating social problems in individual terms, and tracing it back to individuals as it often conceals the macro structure that undergirds and sustains it. Yes, we must kick dirty politicians out and hold their personal qualities accountable for the role they play in the monumental disgrace it has inflicted on Brasil. We must concomitantly address and legitimately and fundamentally change the superstructure that purports this sick-individualistic mentality/ psychology to foment in Brazil. The Giant (and by that I mean the hundreds of thousands of people we are seeing on the streets) must crush the structure that for too long has kept it imprisoned in its own house.
    With this caveat, I resound your words: This is IT!!!, and I must say I’ve never been prouder of being Brazilian.

  3. I have to respectfully disagree…the macro structure would not exist if it were not for the thoughts and behavior of individuals. To place responsibility on social or political structures is, to me, a cop-out. Each one of is responsible for our own behavior, and this affects the whole. To start with the superstructure and try to manipulate it may bring temporary results, but will never solve the underlying problem. Crushing the structure is only the beginning. If people don’t change their individual behavior/thoughts, another structure just as bad or worse will emerge.

  4. I view the times in which we live and all that goes with it…as you have mentioned…as the uncovering of error, the revealing of the evils we must be changing. It is high time we are about our Father’s business and I agree it starts with each and every individual citizen of the world. We are the constituents without which there would be no collective. New occasions, new ways of thinking, new challenges, brave new world!!!!

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