Monday, June 24, 2013

Occupy Brazil

The last week saw a wave of sometimes violent protests rock Brazil. What started as a small movement in Sao Paulo demonstrating disapproval with a twenty centavo hike in bus fares, became a nationwide movement expressing a wide array of grievances which swept up one million Brazilians in over one hundred cities.

It is one thing to turn on the news and see violent protests taking place in China, Turkey, Egypt and Syria. It is quite another to see the same thing in Brazil, a place so near and dear to our hearts, a country that is as close to a home as we have right now.

Ironically, it makes both Elise and I incredibly homesick for Brazil. We talked to Brazilians. They told us their problems. In their own words, our gardener, our empregada, the people I worked with in the federal government shared their worries and told us what they would do differently. Now, a whole nation is telling its leaders what they would do differently.

It hits very close to home, and we are anxious for news from Brazil. On Brazilian Independence Day, Sam, Pete and I took to the Esplanade in front of the Congress building and watched the military parade and the air show. We stood shoulder to shoulder with the Brazilians and celebrated their nation. On the same Esplanade that we drove many times, that we ran through on a number of 5k and 10ks, a crowd 60,000 strong protested government corruption and were met by a row of police in riot gear, a line of thick, plexiglass shields, and tear gas.

Elise and I are both cheering for Brazil. I won't delve into Brazilian politics, but we both want the best for such an incredible country, a country that we would be happy and honored to call home again.

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