above photo by Massoud Nayeri
While the World keeps their eyes on the tournaments and players of the World Cup, creating a Social Media frenzy not seen since…oh, the last thing the media decided to bombard us with, there is far less attention being paid to what is happening on the streets of Brazil where the huge sporting event is taking place.
About a month prior to the start date of the FIFA World Cup, thousands of newly- homeless families began to occupy an empty lot near the new Arena Corinthians, built specifically to host the International soccer tournament and they have been in the streets protesting as well. Protesting Brazilians are challenging many things; From [reported 250,000] evictions to make space for arena parking & new freeways, the $14 billion spent by the Brazilian government on hosting the Cup while citizens lack basic services, to the lack of raises for workers to compensate them for the heavy influx of visitors and gentrification to their areas.
There have also been reports of heavy armed aggression for those opposing FIFA in the streets and construction worker deaths associated with Brazil rushing to complete building by June 12th, 2014, day 1 of the World Cup.
Many graffiti artists have been instrumental in bringing attention to the social climate in Brazil with murals adorning city streets:
Hip Hop heads know the power of graffiti and, so, it may come as no surprise that newly appointed legislature official, Romário (a former futbol player), has announced that his next project is to regulate his country’s hip-hop with a new law “that would force rappers, DJs, breakdancers and graffiti artists to obtain government licences before practicing their art.”
Can we get a group ‘HHhmmmmm?!?’
Sports are great for exercise, showcasing impeccable skills of many athletes, and for bringing cultural pride in tournament form like how FIFA is set up.
Yet, in huge tournaments like FIFA and the Oympics, what we find is that oftentimes displacement, a silencing of the lower class and poor in the media, and death are the cost for these big money making events.
I’m not trying to burst your bubble as you travel to the next spot to gather with friends and watch the game. I just think you should be aware that not everyone is pleased with the World Cup, and in this case, they have good reason.