If anyone knows the artist on this, please let me know so I can give credit.

Yesterday, we watched the game with friends and celebrated when Brazil won the opening. My six-year-old daughter, with her playmates, also watched the game and happily cheered the Brazil team on within the safe and comfortable confines of our sports club, complete with playground where they spent much of their time. All the little ones wore jerseys similar to the one the boy is wearing in this image.  Which is why, in part, my feelings are so conflicted when it comes to the games my home country is hosting.

Obviously, the picture is a powerful one. It depicts the distance, both physical and economic, between the people of the country and the team that represents them. I tried to find out who the artist is, but it seems to be floating around the internet without credit.

When Carnaval time comes, nearly everyone is involved. It’s the futebol clubs and the samba schools from every neighborhoods that together put on the events. But the days that the children of Brazil dream about being a part of is a distant one for the majority.

I know that FIFA is an obvious target for blame, but it’s not like FIFA is secretly an evil organization. Everyone already knew that going in. And if they didn’t, they were just dumb not to do the research.

So what’s to be done? A picture like this makes me feel pretty powerless. I can become a citizen and vote against the PT. Before you PT’ers come after me (you know who I’m talking to, rhymes with Benner), can we all agree that the party either doesn’t understand long-term strategy or doesn’t care? That simply handing out money to the poor instead of investing in education isn’t a sustainable model. That changing the laws to protect employees needs to be done so that it doesn’t make them suddenly unemployable. That these types of tactics are only good for buying votes. That the window of opportunity is gone.

But will there even be a better alternative to put into office? Much like in the U.S., all the really smart and competent people won’t go anywhere near a job like that. Can’t a government hire a company to build a plan? Or does that only open up opportunities for more corruption?

I don’t know the answer. But something has to happen soon.

I want to enjoy the games and cheer on all the teams that represent all the citizenships of my little family (Brazil, US, Germany…) But I’ll be watching with this image always in the background of my mind to remember that not everyone is watching in the same kind of comfort that I am.


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11 Responses to Conflicted…

  1. If anyone knows who the artist is of this image, please let me know so I can give credit.

  2. Annabelle says:

    I feel exactly the same!

  3. Me three! I imagine it’d be even more difficult if I was still in Brasil…so overwhelming that a sport (and its running organization) that unites so cross-culturally is also remarkably destructive.

  4. Saulo de Tarcio says:

    You’re spot on on your comments. I must say and I’m torn primarily because I was born there. I didn’t have much but had enough. I worked selling papers since 7 years old and I can honestly understand the trials and separations of classes in Brasil. I lived there through some of the worst years of hyperinflation and after returning 30 years later, I saw a country that still had ways to go but slowly they were in the right path. I can attest to that because when I lived there hearing someone speaking a different language was a rarity (I’m from the very center of Brasil) nowadays it’s just as if I was in some American big city but with bluer skies and better weather. I still have plans of returning and running for office and frankly I invite each and every expatriate who reads this and lives abroad to do the same and apply what you’ve learned whether it’s the USA, Europe, Australia, Japan or any other country that’s developed and go back and apply your skills in the patria amada. Because at the end of the day one thing that unites Brasilians is not the fact that we can dribble a ball or samba like nobody’s business… it’s the fact that we all bleed green and gold. #amorapatria

    • Wow. Thanks so much for your comment! I agree – bring the knowledge back to Brasil. Let’s us know when you are ready to run!! Hopefully I’ll be a voting citizen by then.

      • Saulo de Tarcio,
        I think that if Brazilian electoral legislation would change so to allow candidates to run as independents then the nation would be better off, affording the people you rightly pointed out na opportunity to participate in the political process. This because Brazilian parties unfortunately are run by regional bosses and they usually have no interest in allowing in new blood, or better yet new ideas deriving from experiences they do not understand. Brazil, for the most part, is still a very parochial country (even among the so called “enlightened” class) and the further down the ladder you go the worse it gets (PT).
        Good luck though, I really do you wish the best.

  5. Andrew Francis says:

    I think you’re confused about the average politician’s goals in life. Handing out money *is* a good long term strategy… if your objective is to keep getting re-elected and remain in power. 🙂 And I’m not just talking about Brazilian politicians, by the way.

    Having said that, while I agree that education needs a lot more investment, I think it’s unrealistic to expect malnourished poor kids to turn up at school every morning fresh like daisies and ready to learn. And that was the original aim of the Bolsa Familia, when it was still called Bolsa Escola: to enable poor families to keep their children in school and allow them to achieve the long term advantages of a decent formal education.

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