Celebratory Protest. The Joy in the Irony

by Cibelle Cavalli Bastos

Cibelle presents a view of protest in Brazil through the rhythms of poetry

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Cibelle in her domicile in London
(headquarters of Brazilian resistance abroad), 2013

When one has been going through so much hardship and feels so incredibly impotent
the only thing left to do is laugh.
Samba is not happy, samba is pure melancholy;
It’s the Brazilian blues.
It’s a dance, with a big smile and a teardrop in the corner of the eye,
a melting heart dripping the sadness through the sweat as the body moves to forget.
To transform the fatality of destiny into another sort of matter
of aching hearts in hopelessness choosing to carpe diem –
seize the day.

The protests in Brazil have recently taken a different turn.
The corrupt government smells of an old dictatorship that still lingers in the veins and the subconscious of the military police, fed by the greed of the politicians and the big companies who can only see green.
Not nature green, not life green, but money:
only money.
We have become commodities.
People are treated like inanimate objects that can be moved, placed in areas, regardless of well-being, soul, or history.
The shopping centre is the church, money is the god
bread and circus,
Here comes the Olympics, the World Cup, the whatever else that can keep people with their faces attentively glued to the television whilst buying souvenirs, t-shirts, and mementos of a branded world.

This is an opening.
An unorderly text reflective of the chaos that is everywhere.
Is it the chicken or the egg?
Where did it all begin?

In Brazil, for many years, post the horrors of dictatorship, people were being educated at home. They would hear this saying: politics, soccer, and religion are not supposed to be discussed.
So eat up this TV, talk about your neighbour, talk about the soap opera, and who is fucking who. Talk about who was caught doing what, by all means, but do not question your own life, by all means do not be reflective, by all means, above all, by all means do not question your conditions of living and the government.
So called democracy. It’s a demagogy. Yeah. Google that.

There was one peaceful protest, in the little hundreds. Police came. Rubber bullets came. Tear gas came. Then millions came out onto the streets.
The news said 150,000, and everyone knows, yes, it was millions.

Repression, repression.
Media black out,
police violence,
media hijacking of ideologies,
police violence
police violence
police violence
“blame the black bloc,” the media said.
“the black bloc protecting the teachers,” the internet shouted.
Truth is here, floating through wifi if u can see the patterns.
In the midst of the growing feeling of powerlessness,
the ‘samba’ described in the beginning started to rise up
in the shape of performance.

Now, the protests have these actions popping up everywhere, in post-anger, into humour, in the hope that at least this will work, or not even that aware.
Still we cross our fingers and dance in and amongst flying bullets in the hope that the ridiculousness of this government can be seen through the moments its robotic behaviour is exposed.

Cops have arrested a cartoon.
Batman has come to save us but can’t afford to do so.
Perhaps a hula hoop dance is more effective than screaming,
or maybe I can protest in my living room, but the real one, the LIVING room of the street.
As the sea turns red, we swim in it and lay our bodies on the words that we hope will penetrate all.
Pink bloc, black block –
love one another.

Unlock the strength inside and whatever may be tying you down in your conformity.
We can’t be beat.
We’ve been through so much that even if we die or get caught
we get caught laughing at this ridiculousness in the hope it gets exposed,

and millions may become billions.

This is not an exclusive Brazilian problem. Just have a look around.


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