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General News    H4'ed 7/10/14

The World Cup Spilleth Over: As the Soccer Games End, Political Ones Begin

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South Africa's two week mother of all parties soon gave way to a reality sandwich in the form of a debt that may take decades to pay.

They didn't expect to win the cup--the Brazilians did. It would have been their sixth. Thus, the loss had profound psychological repercussions, as Doug Foster reported in The Atlantic:

""the loss had been treated as a national catastrophe akin to defeat in war. The writer Nelson Rodrigues even claimed that it was a kind of psychological cataclysm, creating an inferiority complex, one infused with racial stigma, in the population. Since Uruguay had fielded a largely white team, he noted, while Brazil had been represented by seven Afro-Brazilians, including the goalkeeper, the loss provoked a color-coded experience of shame. He called it "complexo de vira-lata"-- the mongrel complex."

In many ways, reaction there to the Cup became an expression of a deep class tension that annoyed/inconvenienced the tourists, with is as much conflict in the streets, however downplayed by the world media, as competition on the field.

Just as the TV coverage reduced everything to numbers, so did sports writer Dave Zirin of the Nation:

"Here are some other numbers that will have much more bearing on both Brazil's present and future. These are the numbers that animate far more debate and discussion inside of Brazil than the US media, with their view from Copacabana beach, have portrayed.

$11-14 billion. That is how much the World Cup is going to end up costing the country. No one in government, when asked, is actually even sure as to what the final bill is going to be. This is not unique to Brazil by any means. Mega-events produce this kind of economic uncertainty and graft wherever they nest. But in a country where health and education are pressing issues, it stings.

250,000. That is the number of people--overwhelmingly poor--who may be displaced by the time all the confetti has been swept away. Many of those losing their homes live in Brazil's favelas.

These communities, under constant attack by real estate speculators and the military police, have formed the backbone of Brazil's urban culture for over a century. Several of these communities have been under military occupation during the Cup leading to brave, albeit uncovered, protests far from the public eye."

Carl Gibson, a co-founder of US Uncut, a nonviolent grassroots movement, writes : " When Brazilians tried to exercise their right to nonviolently protest the outright corruption behind the World Cup, they were met with riot police and tear gas canisters. On the eve of the World Cup's first round, Brazil's transportation workers went on strike in Sao Paulo, essentially shutting the city down. Unions were hit with a $27,000 fine for each day of the strike, which was called off a day later. City officials marked homes for demolition to make way for tourist accommodations without even contacting homeowners. "

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News Dissector Danny Schechter is blogger in chief at Mediachannel.Org He is the author of PLUNDER: Investigating Our Economic Calamity (Cosimo Books) available at Amazon.com. See Newsdisssector.org/store.htm.
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