Brazil Owes Teens an Apology

Brazil was completely torn into pieces last month (Mar. 14, 2018) when the news that Marielle Franco, a 38-year-old black Brazilian sociologist, feminist, militant for human rights and councilwoman,  had been shot dead in her car with her driver, Anderson Gomes who, aged 39, was an Uber driver who had been working for two months for Marielle, replacing the official driver of the parliament.

She was coming back from a debate promoted by her political party when a car started to pair up with hers and fired thirteen shots in their direction. Three of those hit her in the head and one hit her neck; Anderson was shot three times in the back and the rest hit the body of the car. The shooters left the crime scene without stealing anything, which makes the possibility of a planned execution nearly undeniable, adding to the fact that footage from security cameras shows that the suspect’s car had been following Marielle’s for about four kilometers before the actual shooting happened.

This woke Brazil up more than ever, with protests happening all over the country in the name of Marielle and all that she represented to women, black people and the LGBTQ+ community. The shooting left the nation devastated and shaken by what occurred. She was definitely a symbol of resistance in the fight against all stereotypes and prejudices, and her death raises the question among Brazilians of how this tragedy was allowed to occur.

The tragedy only adds to the violent scenario that Brazilians have been living in over the past decade and emphasizes how the country appears to be taking lives for granted.

On top of Marielle’s specific execution, every day unheard and unreported bodies of the youths of Brazil crowd morgues, and though it is saddening, it has become so alarming that people are finally starting to get suspicious about the lack of information that they are receiving with regards to these deaths. The news, from dawn to dusk, is filled with partial reports and one-sided channels, poorly representing what is actually happening in the country and leaving a big blank space where all the answers should be to the alarming rates of crime.

In fact, Brazil’s Homicide rate for young people aged between 15 and 29 has grown 17.2% from 2005 to 2015, and the numbers get even worse when we start talking about black youths with economically underprivileged backgrounds, and that feels tremendously scary. Statistics are definitely not lying and Brazilians have to stop lying to themselves. The time to ignore and overlook what is actually going on passed a long while ago and it is urgent that the country as a whole reevaluates the cause of these events, once and for all standing up together against prejudice and all other kinds of violence. It’s time the country apologizes to all these young people who are dying unnoticed out there and take firm action to prevent these deaths.

What happened with Marielle and Anderson is a tragedy, but little did those shooters know, that now, they are more alive than ever. 

Marielle Presente. Hoje e sempre. (Marielle is here, today and always).

Photo credit: Upslon/Flickr 

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