Molly Ivins said “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.”
In this excellent video, The Juice Media aptly summarize what is happening in Brazil with mega-event related human rights abuses: forced evictions, diverted public monies, police violence, and increased surveillance, all reported in Juice Media’s traditional style – a hip hop news report! This is truly exceptional, so do yourself a favour and check it out!
Juice Rap News – delivering a bulletin to restore your faith in the fourth estate, make you nod your head to the beat even as you shake it in disbelief.
Written & created by Giordano Nanni and Hugo Farrant in a suburban backyard studio in Melbourne, Australia.
p.s. please check out our Indigogo campaign to raise post-production funds for State of Exception.
JUST 11 days left for our State of Exception Indiegogo Campaign
We are entering the home-stretch of our campaign, just 1.5 weeks left!
Today, we are announcing some new campaign perks and launching a video update. Please share this video far and wide, and encourage others to donate so we can reach our goal! As most of you know, this is a grassroots project that is being funded completely outside of the corporate broadcast model – funded by YOU and others who want to take a stand against human rights injustices and the tyranny of corporate interests.
We have had tremendous success so far and we have less than $10,000 to raise! We’re asking everyone to please dig your heels in and do some personal outreach within your networks to help give our campaign a final push.
Please continue to SHARE THE CAMPAIGN on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media, as well as directly emailing anyone who would connect with this story. The statistics demonstrate that direct email is the best for inspiring people to take action, so if there’s anyone you know would be interested in joining our growing community, please send them a message today.
Please stay posted to our Twitter feed and blog at stateofexception.com for regular content posts.
As always, THANK YOU!
P.S. A huge shout out to one of our favorite NGOs: Witness.org for producing the animation in our video
The fastest growing sector of the international arms industry is what are referred to as “Riot Control and Public Order Weaponry.” One of the world’s largest international suppliers of these weapons – Condor – is based in Rio de Janeiro, and has expanded its business by 30% in the last 5 years. Condor supplied many of the weapons deployed in uprisings in Egypt, Turkey and Bahrain, where the products were repeatedly used against protocol and to systematically torture people.
Condor secured itself an exclusive $22 million contract as part of the security budget for the World Cup and provides Brazilian security forces with 27 different categories of “non-lethal” weapons of repression including rubber bullets, tear gas, tasers, light and sound grenades. Condor has an exclusive deal with Brazilian Defense and Security Industries Association: “That means all public defense and security public institutions, such as the Brazilian police, may purchase without a government procurement process,” says investigative reporter Bruno Fonseca.
Condor categorizes its products as “non-lethal” despite a growing number of deaths of both protestors and bystanders as reported by the UN. The categorization is important because it allows Condor to circumvent the Chemical Weapons Convention restricting the uses of toxic gases. Often classified as policing equipment, these weapons fall outside of arms sales restrictions and are mostly unregulated, with hundreds of thousands of such weapons being funnelled directly to Brazilian security forces without oversight. It seems that repression is good for business in Brazil.
When FIFA gets embroiled in a corruption scandal, it’s no longer a scandal – it’s just business as usual. Scandal is what we’ve come to expect from the International governing body of football. This week the UK Telegraph is reporting new allegations that former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner accepted bribes of $2 million from a Qatari firm linked to the country’s successful bid for the 2022 Games. Being ranked 26 of the 175 nations on Transparency International’s Perceived Corruption Index, Qatar and FIFA make for comfortable bedfellows.
While there were a number of human rights violations in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, including my own beating by military police there, they pale in comparison to what we are already seeing in Qatar, a country where flogging and stoning are legal under their Sharia law. The new stadiums are being constructed by an indentured labour force of South Asian migrant workers. These workers face serious exploitation and abuse, live in squalid accommodations, and and are suffering exceedingly high levels of fatal workplace accidents. Over 1,200 migrant workers have already died in Qatar since the World Cup was announced.
These labour abuses are described in this article by Slate.com
In 2010, FIFA and Coca-Cola selected Somali-Canadian artist Knaan´s popular song Wavin´ Flag as the promotional anthem of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Originally a freedom song written for the oppressed classes of Somalia, K´naan was required to change the lyrics, depoliticizing them for the purposes of commercial advertising. The original freedom song has been revived by Anonymous in Brazil, calling on all Brazilians to take to the streets and protest the looting of the country by the international mafia at FIFA, who has imposed a ´state of exception´ in the country, creating militarized and exclusive spaces, squelching civil liberties and violating a number of citizen´s constitutional rights. While the extraordinary cost of hosting the World Cup is paid for with Brazilian public monies, FIFA is exempt from all taxes, and will take all of the profits, leaving a legacy of debt in a country that lacks many basic public services. Join us in the streets to protest against this heist perpetrated by FIFA upon the Brazilian people. The people united will never be defeated.
Video by Anonymous in Brazil
Amongst the community of media activists in Rio, one of our dearest comrades is Vik (pictured above), who we like to call Guerreira (Woman Warrior). Vik embodies what seem at first to be irreconcilable opposites: she is gentle and soft-spoken, yet fearless and uncompromising in her activism.
Born in the UK in 1951, Vik moved to Brazil in 1975. Though she didn’t know it at the time, she is still living there 40 years later. In the 1980s, Vik was actively filming and photographing the Black Resistance movement in the North Eastern state of Bahia, and last year was awarded a prestigious award by the internationally acclaimed Afro-Brazilian cultural group Olodum for this early activism.
Vik is 63 years old, a point that is hardly worth mentioning because she’s so well integrated in the activist community composed of mostly young people, but I mention it only because it is so impressive! As you can see from the above picture, Vik is well and truly a fearless guerreira – she is an inspiration and has become a dear friend. Please check out this excellent article Vik wrote about the forced evictions for roarmag.org, featuring an illustration by Luciano Cunha:
Featured image – “Hackney Looting” by pure evil
The IOC announced sweeping changes to the Olympic Games yesterday, including what they are calling a “more affordable bidding process,” making the system cheaper and more flexible to attract future candidates — including the option of holding events outside the host city or country. The new allowances are most certainly a response to the recent 2022 Winter Games bidding debacle, whereby all of the IOC’s preferred hosts have been removing themselves from consideration one-by-one. By now, Sweden, Poland, Ukraine, Switzerland and Germany have all withdrawn from the bidding process, most citing overwhelming public opposition to hosting the Games. Currently, the IOC has just two candidates interested in hosting the 2022 Games – Almaty, Kazakhstan and Beijing, China.
Kazakhstan is an Oil State which ranks 140th out of 177 countries in the world in corruption, as measured by transparency.org. Human Rights Watch notes that Kazakhstan maintains a poor human rights record, and that “torture remains common in places of detention.” Kazakhstan also finished last in 11 of the 14 categories the IOC uses to score bids. Beijing just hosted the Summer Games six years ago, when they displaced 1.5 million people and spent an estimated $43 billion.
A lot of people have been asking me to comment on recent events in Ferguson and now this week, with the uprisings around the case of Eric Garner in New York. I am all of the sudden supposed to be an authority on police brutality, as I inadvertently became the victim of this kind of violence when I was beaten by a number of military police in July in Rio de Janeiro, after just having completed a documentary focused on the topic of police brutality (rhythmsofresistance.info). When a privileged white foreigner receives a mild beating at the hands of Brazilian police, it makes international headlines, whereas the same police carry out summary executions every day in the favelas with complete impunity. I was also in the streets of Toronto during the now infamous G20, a rare moment where we saw police brutality reach beyond our ghettos and arrive on the main streets of Toronto, so even us privileged white folks could get a taste of the kind of repression long suffered by poor communities the world over.
Of course, the police brutality we saw on the streets of Toronto during the G20 is much the same as what I have been encountering recently in Brazil: rubber bullets, tear gas, water canons… all the types of non-lethal weapons of repression which constitute the fastest growing category of international arms sales. The new weapons are not for fighting foreign enemies, but rather are used to repress and silence one’s own people, the so-called “internal enemy.” This term, borrowed from dictatorial politics, applies equally to silencing political dissent in many modern day “democracies” like Brazil and Canada. It’s difficult to raise one’s voice when you are choking on tear gas.
While these weapons are not without harms, my own experiences with such “police brutality” have been a picnic when compared to the far more egregious police violence perpetrated against mostly black and mostly poor people every day. As far as I can see, the discussion we should be having right now is not about police brutality, it’s about racism – two uncomfortable bedfellows. Read more
As we pointed out in the blog post earlier today, this is the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, when Union Carbide (now Dow Chemical) leaked toxic gases, including methyl isocyanate, into the city of Bhopal, India. Thousands died immediately, and thousands more have died from the ongoing complications from the poisonous gas exposure and the shoddy clean-up job. No responsibility has been taken by Dow, an official sponsor of the 2016 Rio Olympic games, and no compensation given to victims.
If only The Yes Men ran Dow Chemical. Check out the video below for an example of what Dow’s response could have – should have – been.
Featured image from http://www.bhopal.org – Photographed by Colin Toogood