Brazil What is your definition of hell?: Brazil

By Spider on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 09:18 am:

    My father told me about this situation in Brazil. He's a professor of Latin American history and culture, and he lived in Venezuela for 7 years, so I trust he knows what he's talking about.

    In Brazil, the idea of machismo (male dominance, virility, etc.) is very strong. A lot of men have casual affairs and mistresses all over the place. These women have children, and because the kids are illegitimate or because the women can't afford to take care of them or whatever reason, they abandon them. The kids grow up on the streets and form gangs, and they steal and mug people in order to eat and survive.

    It's a big problem -- there are hundreds of thousands of these feral children living in the cities. (Rio de Janeiro has a population of over 12 million people, to give you some perspective.)

    The government's solution is ... no, not contraceptive education, easily accessible abortions, funding for single mothers, or more orphanages. Death squads gather the children up and shoot them.

    Is that not one of the most insane things imaginable? My head explodes.

    And it's worse -- the establishment of the death squads has created a lot of jobs, so there is added incentive to keep this program alive. Oh, and they call it "the rehabilitation program," (ha ha wink wink) or something like that. (I know the word "rehabilitation" is used.)

    My dad has an interview with a man who works for this program, and he has a wife and kids that he supports with this job, and he says he feels no sympathy for the street children because they're like rats. He figures he's personally killed about 200 so far.

    At this point in my conversation with my dad, I splutter out, "What the -? That's like Nazi-. How can the government-?" and he says that the Brazilian government is so disorganized and incompetent that reform is a pipe-dream.

    At the same time, the government stresses the importance of foreign tourism, and you have things like big hotels and resorts in the middle of impoverished or resource-starved areas, sucking up all the water and other resources in the area, making life even worse for the local residents.

    *FRUSTRATION* I can't even verbalize it.

    (My dad also told me this funny thing -- some of his students are older adults, and one is a pastor who likes the class so much that he types up summaries of his class notes and gives them out to his friends. One of the friends told the pastor that he thought my dad must be an anti-American communist, since he teaches about the horrible things the US government has done in Central and South supporting "democratically" elected leaders who rape their people and imposing strange tariffs on imports so that other countries can only afford to trade with huge, corrupt US-supported companies [like the Chiquita, Delmonte, and Dole banana farms] instead of the smaller family businesses that pay their workers fairly.)

By Spider on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 09:20 am:

    PS. I know Venezuela != Brazil, but I wanted to illustrate that my dad knows something about life in South America first-hand. Venezuela is another sad case.

By agatha on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 11:48 am:

    that's hideous. that happens in ireland a lot too, but as far as i know they don't shoot the kids, they just leave them to starve or freeze to death.

    they eat guinea pigs in brazil, too.

By Spider on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 01:45 pm:

    Where is God's cleansing fire when you need it?

    One of the street children interviewed said that it's not "when am I going to die?" it's "how." Starvation or firing squad. What a horrible situation.

By patrick on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 02:05 pm:

    my bathrooms could use a cleansing fire.

    where's your god when i need em spider?

By Spider on Tuesday, November 19, 2002 - 02:13 pm:

    I don't know, but my first thought was that Waterboys' lyric: "I found God where he always was." Make of this what you will.

By semillama on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 09:16 am:

    YOu know what would help? A good ol' fashioned bombing campaign. That would help. There's some of God's cleansing fire for you. Of course, not that the US would waste any bombs on Brazil right now, we need those for the Mideast.

    Say what you want about Clinton, at least he bombed some countries that DIDN'T have any oil. Hooray for Variety!

By Czarina on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 09:47 am:

    Brazil has harbored Nazi war criminals for years.

    That speaks of their morality.

    That is ludicrous.Why aren't there orphan/intervention groups helping out these kids?

    I know that in India,it is quite common,if one gives birth to a female child,to kill it,some stuff dry rice down their throats,to choke them,and others just take them out and leave them in the jungle to die of starvation and the elements.

    There are orphan orginazitions there now,that have set up cribs in the jungle,and the mothers just place their female babies in them at night,and the orphan tenders,go and pick them up in the morning,and care for them.Thank goodness.

    Something else odd about India,is their "wife burning" practice.

    Marriages are arrainged there,and a dowry sum is decided upon. When the couple is married,and if the wifes family doesn't finish paying her dowry,as promised,they burn the wife to death.

By kazoo on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 10:27 am:

    There could very well be internal intervention groups trying to help these kids, as there are organizations in India that are dealing with wife burning. Part of the problem is that they have few, if any, resources.

By patrick on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 11:50 am:

    if we saved every child on the planet what would that do to the planet? if we saved every elderly person from dying at 60 and let them live to 80 what would that do to the planet and the living conditions for all of us?

    not making any judgement, just tossing a question out there. its an idea that passed through my mind this am listening to an NPR story about Measles vaccination in Tanzania and how Measles is the most prominent killer amongst infants and toddlers.

By Spider on Wednesday, November 20, 2002 - 12:44 pm:

    I just think it's, like, totally insane to try to fix a 5-step process by eliminating the final step. Literally!

    It hurts my brain to think of a (contemporary, non-totalitarian, considered enlightened) government promoting mass slaughter of its own people.

By jack on Sunday, June 11, 2006 - 03:20 pm:

    d i s c o n n e c t e d

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