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.
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.
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.
As international tourists descended on Rio’s iconic Maracanã Stadium to watch the final match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in July, most Brazilians watched from television screens outside, while others took to the streets to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to protest. It is not mere opportunism that is bringing people to the streets, seeking to capitalize on all the attention garnered by the Cup – their grievances are very much tied to the international spectacle and the social legacy it will leave in this country. When the circus leaves town, it is Brazilians who will bear the brunt of the hangover, sifting through the trash to recover all the discarded beer cans after the party. It is very true that these events bring extraordinary benefits, but to whom are these benefits accrued? The benefits are privatized and profit an international elite – FIFA and the event sponsors – while the costs are socialized. FIFA will pay no taxes in Brazil and commit one of the greatest heists in Brazilian history upon its citizenry. Read more
From the first steps of the samba that were developed by escaped slaves to the hyper-politicized modern-day hip-hop movement, music has always played a fundamental role in liberatory struggles in Brazil.
While initially a form of protest music, samba was in many ways co-opted and commercialized, assisted by Carnaval, becoming a dominant form of mass culture. Unsurprisingly, many in the favelas feel samba no longer has the capacity to express their identity or frustrations. Perhaps inevitably, other musical styles more acutely focused on protest, anti-authoritarianism and anti-oppression have emerged to fill the gaps left by samba’s co-option. By the end of the 20th century, samba had taken a backseat as a powerful counter-narrative emerged in the form of hip-hop, telling stories of racism, violence, poverty and injustice.
Check out this excellent hip hop video made by a collective of young women in Brazil (Construção Coletiva) who poetically sum up the social injustices imposed by the World Cup.
For some, activism is a choice, but for many, it becomes an imperative when life circumstances thrust them against injustice, and the call to action a necessity. Such was the case for Liz Martin, whose nephew Joe was executed by Brazilian police on his 30th birthday when he was living as an expat in Rio de Janeiro. Liz’s personal story is harrowing and caused me to break down in tears when I first heard it. Read more
This past summer during the FIFA World Cup in Brazil, São Paulo graffiti artist Paulo Ito became famous when his graffiti mural depicting a starving child eating a soccer ball went viral online. The fame was long overdue, for Paulo Ito is an exceptionally gifted and prolific artist, this mural is but one of his many exceptional art works that can be seen throughout São Paulo’s urban landscape and beyond. Paulo’s work exemplifies the adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, as he so aptly captures a very deep social and political sub-text in his graffiti art. Read more
Long before I started this project, Witness.org became one of my favourite NGOs after I was introduced to their work by Peter Wintonick & Kat Cizek’s 2002 documentary Seeing is Believing. In fact, it was my early exposure to Witness’s unique methodology – providing human rights activists video equipment and training to document human rights abuses – that led to my own interest in participatory media. Read more
Yes it’s true, most people are surprised to hear this given I’ve spent the last four years of my life investigating how whole communities are being destroyed in Rio for these events. But at the end of the day, who doesn’t enjoy a good game of footie? I certainly do! I have drank the kool-aid (or Coca-Cola), I love FIFA’s “beautiful game”! I am inspired by the Olympic Charter and the values it espouses. And that’s precisely why I was so irate Read more
Here is a thorough article from RioOnWatch the community reporting outlet published by Rio-based NGO Catalytic Communities (Catcomm). CatComm was one of my first allies when I first started this project in 2010, and they have been working tirelessly to publish many of the untold stories in Rio around the same issues I am documenting in the film. The article describes the joint finding of Brazil’s “popular committees”, Read more