world cup

Brazil Horror – Luis Suarez And The Bite


Luis Suarez and biting is like British Royalty.  Neither goes away.  Suarez leaves England rehabilitated and holding various awards only to sink his teeth into a handsome Italian. The cannibal is now a gourmet.  Swastika adorned Prince Harry once gave Republicans hope, an arrogant idiot who would fatally undermine the institution.  But idiots have advisors. Prince Harry has planted a tree in the rainforest outside Sao Paulo.  ‘Plant trees is what we do,’ said Prince Harry.  No mention of the other occupation, the collection of millions in rent and Government subsidies.  He made a trip to a social project in a non-typhus threatened favela. Prince Harry met the orphans of drug fatalities.

This is a World Cup that could be defined by blindness.  We watch Royalty plant symbolic trees or smile at innocent child victims and assume it is a step towards social justice when, of course, it is the opposite.  The smiles of the powerful help the exploitation continue.

The window of the suite that houses the ITV World Cup commentary team from the UK has been damaged by a bullet.  Somebody took a pot shot without killing anyone. The commentary team remains.  Only the best glass for the media, so everyone is safe.  The bullet indentation is visible but rarely mentioned.  Football is the circus that obscures everything, which is the intention.  I am a football fan but it is depressing to read about the superior intellectual life of the British Working Class* that existed before football arrived.

Much more has been written about the bite of Luis Suarez than the demonstrations that continue in Brazil. Political protests have featured balloons that say ‘FIFA go home’ and English fans were attacked by Brazilians, not demonstrators, who used explosives.  Little of this has been mentioned on British TV.  Instead, we have disease immune favelas and residents with impeccable teeth blessed by the latest camera filters.  And English football fans confirm in interviews that Brazilians are so friendly.  Somebody should mention the £500,000 damage inflicted on a single Mercedes dealership.   As once was nearly said, ‘The cries of the victims are not always just but we will never understand justice until we listen to them.’

Not much listening at the moment, unless you are Prince Harry planting a tree.   The dealership is worth thinking about.  10% of Brazilians have to survive on less than $2 a day, half a pint of terrible lager in England.  And yet a single shop will sit on the corner of a Brazilian street with over a $1m worth of stock.  Meanwhile, doubt free neoconservatives proclaim we live in the best of possible worlds.  Our Royalty speak to the poor, favelas look inspiring in Coca Cola adverts and nobody can deny the lucky people their Mercedes.  Football is a narrative that only has two outcomes.  One side beats the other or the two sides draw.   Dull perhaps but it contains the only victories left to those who are without power and wealth.  Come on, Brazil.


Howard Jackson has travelled extensively in Brazil.  If you would like to read about his 11,000 mile journey around Brazil click here.   


*The Intellectual Life Of The British Working Classes – Jonathan Rose Yale University Press 


Brazil Horror – The Favelas


Right wing intellectuals on the make will say anything.  Some claim the favela should be the model for the future.  Innovative and flexible, it suits fast changing modern capitalism.

‘I don’t believe it,’ said the man from BBC Panorama.  He meant what he saw.

There is much to shock – the living quarters in the breeze block shanty towns, the age of the crack addicts, the constant smell of excrement and sewage and the police ignoring the open child prostitution. Welcome to innovation and flexibility.

The entrepreneur must not be undermined.  We are told this constantly.  The entrepreneurial ideas that shaped history are not remembered with the same enthusiasm.  The abolition of slavery was resisted for so long because the powerful were reluctant to sacrifice a good idea, a clever wheeze.  Capitalism means change, and the future, because it is always different, will redeem.

Tell it to the pubescent teenagers who will be killed by their pimps if they refuse to continue with prostitution.

Sao Paulo has 20 million people.  5 million live in favelas.  Many of the other 15 million will welcome the FIFA World Cup, and most have survived by not thinking about the 5 million.  Riots and protests have anticipated the arrival of the football extravaganza. Not all the protesters have been concerned with dealing with a favela existence that they would find unendurable.  Instead, many have complained about the inadequate public sector and how it affects, no prizes for guessing, the 15 million.

In the 5 million the exceptionally strong will survive the experience.  Some will eventually join the middle class.  Most of the exceptionally strong, though, become drug dealers and control the favelas.  Welcome to innovation and flexibility.  This is why the rich believe in public schools and inherited wealth.  Lines have to be drawn between the rich and poor.   Not every policeman wants to oppress the poor but maintaining demarcation is a priority for the police strategists.  No one can deny the job is difficult for those on the street.  It is why brutes are useful.  As the gap between rich and poor widens, the brutality becomes important.  We give the police bigger guns.

Slums are the symbols of the grass topped slag heap societies that modern capitalism produces.   The human race escaped the caves by working together.  Then the brigands took over, and here we are today.  The sensitive rich of Brazil use helicopters, a great invention that makes sure your feet will never get dirty.  The rich fly by the mess they created.   Meanwhile, the British press are concerned that football millionaires in air conditioned luxury hotels will stare through windows at the slums that contain so many broken lives.  Residents of favelas are not described as human beings but as an infection.  What is ignored is the ideological infection that produces absurdities like favelas.  The belief that all that matters is making money and only that will produce well-being and prosperity. It produces chaos, and we call it innovation and flexibility.


If you want to read more about Brazil click here.