Whilst thinking about a topic for my next blog post, I couldn’t really ignore the protests currently happening throughout Brazil. Even in Belo Horizonte, reportedly 120,000 people marched to the Mineirão stadium on Saturday whilst the Confederations Cup match took place inside. Things turned messy as a minority intent on meaningless (not to mention pointless) violence tarnished the messages which the innocent protesters had gathered to voice. I couldn’t help but gawp at the lack of intelligence of these vandals: who exactly do they think will be footing the bill for all the damage? Do they not realise they are on TV? It reminded me of the London riots last year.
I haven’t written about this topic before now, because I don’t think there is much that I can add which hasn’t already been said again and again in the news. On the one hand, I think it is great that people are speaking up about what they believe is right and wrong, even if there are mixed causes and no clear leadership. The government simply cannot ignore action on this scale, especially at a time when the world is watching Brazil.
On the other hand, I think the people turning this into negative publicity for Brazil with their “don’t come to the World Cup” messages haven’t got all of their facts straight. It is indeed too late to be protesting about the cost of the World Cup, and in fact most Brazilians do (or at least did) want their country to host the event. I am worried about this kind of action occurring again during the World Cup next year and spoiling the event for thousands of sporting fans, rendering all that money spent pointless.
I’m also skeptical about the outcome of all this action. On the question of whether anything significant and lasting will come of it, the brazilians I’ve spoken to are divided in their opinions. Brazilians are a highly optimistic bunch, on the whole, yet still there are people who believe nothing will change.
I, like everyone in Brazil right now, will be watching with interest over the next few weeks to see how the protests evolve and how the government responds. Lets hope that there is real change on the horizon.