Klaus Hart Brasilientexte

Aktuelle Berichte aus Brasilien – Politik, Kultur und Naturschutz

Brasilien: „Beherrscht von Furcht.“ Befreiungstheologe Frei Betto über die Gewaltkultur-Situation in Lateinamerikas führender Wirtschaftsmetropole Sao Paulo unter neoliberalen Bedingungen, der Rousseff-Regierung. Mensalao-Demokratieprojekt und Resultate. Die Macht des organisierten Verbrechens. Deutschlandjahr 2013 in Brasilien.


Frei Betto*

The city of São Paulo (capital of São Paulo state) is under the dominion of violence and fear. Mass killings and murders are repeated daily. And worse: the population feels insecure with regard to the police. A citizen, even a thief, can be arrested alive and immediately appear dead, as proved recently by a picture of a suspect being shot by the Military Police after being held.


The number of homicides in the city grew 34% in 2012 (12.02 murders per 100,000 inhabitants). 547 people were killed in supposed confrontations with the Military Police. Cases of rape increased 24%, vehicle theft 10%, armed robbery 8%. Bank robberies were reduced by 12%. The data is from the Public Security Secretariat issued on January 25th 2013.

São Paulo is divided into 96 districts. Most have more than 100,000 inhabitants which means that population-wise each district is larger than 95% of Brazilian municipalities.

Why so much violence in the big city? Put ten rats into a box. They will soon start  attacking each other. This also happens with humans when confined to oppressive urban space where children have no squares or parks, young people have no sports or cultural centres and adults have nowhere to meet except the corner bar.

According to the Nossa Sao Paulo network (Our Sao Paulo), of the 96 districts, 60 have no cultural centre (theatre, cinema, hall for gatherings etc.), 56 have no public sports equipment, 44 have no public library, 38 have no park and 20 lack  police stations.

The richest city in the country has 11 million inhabitants of whom 1.3 million live in shanty towns (favelas). 250,000 young people between 15 and 19 years don’t attend school, 181,000 young people between 15 and 24 are unemployed and 98,000 children still await placement in public crèches.

What sort of future can young people who neither work nor study look forward to? What do they live on? How do they obtain money? How do they satisfy their desires for consumption? A crystal ball is not necessary to see that many of these young people resort to crime as a means of survival.

São Paulo is a congested metropolis. To move around, the “Paulistanos” spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes in traffic every day (which equals one month a year!) and public transport is precarious. During the rush hour, buses and subways cannot handle the number of passengers and access must be controlled by the police.

What happens when someone gets ill in a megalopolis such as this? The average wait for a consultation in a clinic is 52 days, laboratory tests take 65 days and surgery and more complex procedures take 146 days – when the patient survives that long.

How to avoid impatience, stress, anger and crime with all of this? As the Our Sao Paulo network points out: “the perfect scenario for criminality and violence to prosper is: extreme need, huge inequality generating frustration and anger due  to injustice, the absence of public administration and the lack of opportunities for employment, education, culture and leisure for young low income persons as well as the low quality of public services in education, health and transport (people with higher paying power and even those responsible for public policy pay for private services).”

Profound changes in our institutions are needed in order to combat violence. It demands a well prepared and well paid police force with resources in high technology for investigations directed at prevention rather than repression. Our prison system needs to stop being a depository of the dregs of humanity and be transformed into centres of recovery and re-education through study, sport, art and professional training.

Those who govern should assume targets towards attacking the causes of criminality and violence such as substantially reducing social and economic inequality and providing each city district with all the public equipment and services necessary for offering the quality of life its inhabitants deserve.

It is necessary to improve inquiries into the responsibility of public agents accused of practising acts of violence and of violating human rights, strengthen the autonomy of the Public Defender (i.e. ombudsman) and stimulate the creation of community spaces which favour ties of solidarity between members of the community.

It is up to the public authorities to dismantle networks of corruption and criminality, identify the leaders of those networks and fight them, as well as eradicating extermination groups within the police force. These are short term measures which should be taken considering the situation of civil war which exists in São Paulo and penalizes principally the poorer more vulnerable population of the periphery.

*Frei Betto is a writer, author of “Hotel Brasil – o mistério das cabeças degoladas” (Hotel Brazil – the mystery of the decapitated heads) (Rocco).



Brasilianische Medienfotos zur Gewaltkultur:  http://www.hart-brasilientexte.de/2010/09/05/brasiliens-zeitungen-eine-fundgrube-fur-medieninteressierte-kommunikations-und-kulturenforscher/


“Während die Regierenden untätig bleiben, mordet PCC weiter Polizeibeamte” – Spruchband. (PCC – Brasiliens führende, mächtigste Verbrecherorganisation)

“PCC tötet Polizeibeamte rasch – die Regierung nach und nach.”

“Terror-Rap statt Samba”  http://www.tagesspiegel.de/weltspiegel/terror-rap-statt-samba/763272.html

Kulturelle Dekadenz und Gewaltförderung – der populäre Waffen-Rap, Hit in den Discos zur Fußball-WM in Südafrika: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZthNYozVwNM


“Säuberungen” in Slums: 


”Das Leben in Brasilien ist leicht und unbeschwert. Probieren Sie es selbst.” Deutschsprachige Tourismuspropaganda. Was in Kommerz-Reiseführern fehlt…


Ausriß – fortgesetzte Anschlagsserie in Südstaat Santa Catarina. Brasilien – Testlabor des Neoliberalismus. Förderung der Gewaltkultur nun auch in mitteleuropäischen Ländern.

Mann an Copacabana-Strandkiosk erschossen – eine erschossene Frau, neun Verwundete auf Baile Funk von Rio de Janeiro(17.2.2013), laut Landesmedien

Frankfurter Buchmesse 2013 – Gastland Brasilien, Deutschlandjahr 2013:  http://www.hart-brasilientexte.de/2012/10/17/frankfurter-buchmesse-2013-gastland-brasilien-literatur-und-landesrealitaet-keinerlei-veranstalterhinweis-auf-gravierende-menschenrechtslage-auf-daten-und-fakten-von-amnesty-international-und-bras/


Frei Betto* 

It was long ago. As a novice up in the hills of Belo Horizonte, I asked my novice master if I could miss the Ash Wednesday liturgy. Not because of my pride or because I wanted to avoid the ashes on my forehead.

We are dust, and to dust we shall return, as I well know. Today, astrophysics confirms that: we are all made from star dust, ovens where, in various consistencies, the whole periodic table of the atoms which integrate the matter of the Universe is cooked. 

At age 20 the world to me seemed infinite. And my life had no limits. For me the past did not exist and the present was impregnated with faith, the future opened like unlocked doors with all the idealism which consumed my subjectivity.

Near the convent vegetable garden, which was mine to tend, I retreated in the company of T.S. Eliot’s Ash Wednesday verses. Because I too do not expect to return (and this holds even today). Especially now that I belong to the ‘eternal age’ group – we who have gone beyond six decades of existence and are thus closer to the end of all mysteries.

“I no longer strive towards such things”. Eliot’s verse sounded to me like an interrogation. Life has taught me that renunciations demand deep convictions. The Ash Wednesday fast is much more than abstaining from meat. It expects not to know “the infirm glory of the positive hour”.

How challenging are the virtues! “Teach us to sit still”, pleaded the poet echoing Teresa of Avila. I do not venture to be saintly. The Ash Wednesday fast or, as it was formerly required, during the whole of Lent, is the courage to say no to all that shreds, divides, fragments us, as if multiple others torment one another in the hollow of our being, confounding us as to which is the adequate path to follow.

“I rejoice that things are as they are”. To be the size we are. “And pray to God that I may forget these matters that with myself I too much discuss, too much explain”. Would exacerbated rationalism not be the principal enemy of love?

I do not know if Eliot, attracted by the Christian faith, achieved so much grace. I haven’t. The multiple voices continue to resound within me. I merely take shelter in the in-transcendent enigma of faith and the mystical ecstasy of the liturgies.

I think now of the almost 250 young people burned to death in the Kiss night club in Santa Maria. What were all those young people doing? They were searching for what is essential: liturgy.

Life is unbearably harnessed to the reign of need. And it longs for gratuitousness. Nobody goes to a dance hall merely in search of music, dance, drink and flirtation. All of this can be more comfortably enjoyed in intimacy.

What moves hundreds of people to party – in the rural dance hall, the formal dance or during carnival – is the indispensable liturgy which makes us transcend the reign of need to the playful, oneiric, mysterious, gratuitous sphere. The intense, collective, communitarian celebration, the happy social gathering which allows reason to rest (“lady of silences”, Eliot wrote) and the dawning of emotion: “speech without word and word of no speech”.

In that convent garden, in the company of the poet, I sensed the importance of fasting from all that which does not nourish the spirit. And allow it to free itself through the gluttonous impetus of all that which resounds in the splendour of the heart, like the sentiment of belonging to nature, to the human family, to God – the raw material of prayer.

Why then did I ask to be allowed to miss the community liturgy in the chapel, isolating myself in the garden with Eliot? Did Jesus not advise us to avoid excess words when we pray? “If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent, if the unheard, unspoken Word is unspoken, unheard; still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard, the Word without a word (…) the silent Word”.

This is what we must seek in Lent and which the victims of Santa Maria have already attained: silence in the Word. Here is the paradox of faith and the meaning of this liturgical season which precedes Easter.

*Frei Betto is a writer, author of “Um homem chamado Jesus” (A Man called Jesus) (Rocco), he is a Brazilian Dominican with an international reputation as a liberation theologian. 

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Sonntag, 17. Februar 2013 um 12:58 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Kultur, Politik abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen.

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