segunda-feira, 17 de junho de 2013
The twenty-cent riot
It really could be that the riot policeman in the cartoon might come across his mother or some other relative in the protests that sweep Brazil's main cities. Because this is actually not a protest against the increase of a mere BRL 0,20 (less than US$0,10) in the price of bus tickets.
Those few cents were just the spark that triggered a longstanding anger, the feeling of being second-class citizens, forced to ride on ramshackle buses and trains; commuters tired of so many delays, of never-ending trips to and back from work.
It's our saying "we're done!", "enough!".
For decades most Brazilians depending on public health service have had to wait months, even years, for a mere health exam, a surgery, or to see a doctor. The people of this beautiful country is tired of seeing abject politicians being elected and re-elected, over and over.
Nothing works in favour of the people, ordinary people, that is to say. Neither justice, nor education, nor human rights — in the broader sense of the word.
It's very likely that these people that crowd the streets can no longer wait to see white-collar criminals jailed, politicians being judges like the commonest citizens — but not just that: to be convicted and imprisoned!
Here, judges, governors, senators, other MPs, mayors, assemblymen, all of them have the "right" to use official cars with drivers. So, these fine people don't know what it's like to ride on crowded, falling-to-pieces buses or trains. Nor have they ever been treated in a public hospital, or have their offspring studied in chaotic public schools.
So, the least we observers can do is praise the braveness of those who are risking their lives so that something, or very much, can finally change in this beloved country of ours.
So, paraphrasing James Carville, it's the case of telling our rulers on their chrome horses: "It's not the twenty cents, stupids!
It is, I dare say, this Orwellian society in which all men are equal, but some of them are more equal than the others.
Journalist and Translator