Note from BW of Brazil: Savage. That’s all I can really say at this point. Savage. Sometimes one just has to wonder what’s going in Brazil in regards to the black population. Why do I ask this question in a land that long regarded itself as a “racial democracy”? Well, young black men are consistently found stretched out in the street after being murdered by police or death squads. There are black women being dragged on the concrete roads hanging from police cars. There are black boys being tied naked to poles. Then you have black teens being chased and interrogated on the beach and in the shopping malls. I won’t make another long comment on my position on this once again but will simply say again, even if there is petty crime in the country and “people are tired of it” as so many have commented here and on other blogs and sites, why aim your frustration at the poor victims of a racially/socially unequal society while those who have the power to change the system do nothing and rob you far more than any young kid on the street can? This case is simply sad, revolting and more proof of the lack of value of human life, but unfortunately it is only the latest of many in a society that really needs to discuss this idea of vigilante violence.
Young black man is beaten and killed by crowd in Espírito Santo
By Douglas Belchior
The bloodied black body and frightened look that you see in the photo is Alailton Ferreira, 17, who was surrounded by a group armed with rocks, iron bars and wooden sticks. Moments later, he was the target of a collective beating. Unconscious, he was taken to hospital but didn’t survive and died late on Tuesday (April 8) night.
To screams of “kill him now” and various insults, the beating happened on the margins of BR 101, last Sunday afternoon (April 6), in the neighborhood of Vista da Serra II, in the city of Serra, which is about 30km (19 miles) from the capital city of Vitória, in the southeastern state of Espírito Santo. Only after two hours of intense violence did the Military Police (MP) arrive on the scene, put the young man in the car and take him to the Emergency Room. “The MP described in the police report that it was necessary to use pepper spray to contain the crowd,” said the deputy chief of the DPJ, Ludogério Ralff.
The reason for the lynching was caused by controversial allegations. Some said that the young man had attempted to rape a woman. Others said that he was suspected of trying to steal a bike and abusing a 10 year old. Everything happened on Sunday (6), but until this Wednesday, the day Alailton was buried, there was no complaint or report of witnesses, according to the Civil Police.
His brother contests the accusations and says the teenager suffered from mental problems: “He called the girl, she got scared and ran to call her family. Relatives and neighbors ran after him. So people said that he was a rapist. If he wanted to steal a motorbike, he would have done it in his own neighborhood, but he didn’t know how to ride (a motorbike).” According to the young man’s uncle, it was an act of cowardice. “He had some health problems and was often scared.”
The resident Uelder Santos, 29, in a newspaper interview put the accusations under suspicion: “Nobody saw this rape or even news of the alleged victim.”
“Ask God for forgiveness for what they did,” says victim’s mother
In a newspaper interview, Alailton’s mother, the domestic Diva Suterio Ferreira, 46, said her son had been the victim of an injustice: “He’s been arrested for shoplifting, using drugs, but he didn’t rape anyone, he would never do that.” A Christian, she said that she clings to God to help her through this difficult time: “My son was loved, dreamed of giving me a home. He would say he wanted a room for him, one for me and one for his sister. My daughter, age 11, just cries, afraid to go outside after what happened. I believe in divine justice. I ask that these people ask God’s forgiveness for what they did to my son.”
Subjective endemic violence and the racial element
The office of the United Nations presented on Thursday (10) a survey on homicide rates which concludes that the Americas are the most violent regions of the planet. Brazil is among the most violent countries. Of the 30 most violent cities in the world, 11 are Brazilian. According to the publication, Maceió (capital of northeastern state of Alagoas) is the city with the fifth highest rate of homicides per 100 thousand inhabitants in the world. The city of Vitória, Espírito Santo, near where Alailton was murdered by the crowd, is 14th on the world list.
I don’t like assumptions, so I ask the questions: what would be the result of a sampling with the racial perspective of the victims of these homicides across the Americas? Would it have a similar proportion to the Brazilian average that points to 70% of victims being black?
I don’t know if Alailton raped someone. Was it a grown woman or a 10-year old child? Both are very serious crimes. Even if it had been “just” an attempt or that the young man had mental problems undoubtedly some punishment would be fitting. And the law provides this. But never a lynching. Never!
Worse, nothing leads us to believe that there was indeed a crime. Incidentally, it seems (I’m not an investigator, and would not like to be), he would have been “the victim of an injustice,” as his mother said.
The fact of being a black boy would have been a potential element of the collective hatred and precipitation of an instant judgment – charge, trial, conviction and execution: It was him! Get him! It could only have been him!?
And if it was a white boy, would the story have such refinements of cruelty and end at the cemetery?
The bullet is not blank, here there are no doubles!
The cowardly murder of the black boy Alailton Ferreira reminded me of two very famous American movies. The first is the classic To Kill a Mockingbird (released in Brazil as O sol é para todos meaning “the sun is for everyone” in Portuguese) from 1962, which tells the story of Tom Robinson (Brock Peters), a young black man who was accused of raping Mayella Violet Ewell (Collin Wilcox Paxton), a young white woman. Atticus Finch, a highly principled lawyer, played by Gregory Peck – who would win the Oscar for best actor in this work, agreed to defend him, and although much of the city was against his position, he decided to proceed and do everything to acquit the defendant. In the United States as here, it was always common charges of rape and other crimes fall upon blacks, without major objections.
The other film, the more recent (1996), makes even more sense in the times in which we live, including the title: Tempo de Matar (A Time to Kill), which takes place in Canton, Mississippi, where Carl Lee (Samuel L. Jackson), a black man, that by killing two white men who beat and raped his 10 year old daughter is arrested, and a white lawyer, Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) and Ellen (Sandra Bullock ) an obstinate law student, both turn against prejudice and racism existing in the community of that city to defend the accused.
By the end of the plot, when all seemed lost, after the city wanted condemnation of the accused, in the courtroom Jake asks all present to close their eyes and listen to him and themselves, then he begins to tell the story of a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat.
And when they’re done, after they’ve killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to have children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. They start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk she’s pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don’t find the ground. The hanging branch isn’t strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below.
Jake then stops the story and asks those present if they can you see her? If they could imagine that little girl’s raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her own blood, left to die.
And again he repeats that everyone imagine the image of this little girl, waiting a moment and then saying: “Now imagine that she’s white.”
Carl Lee is acquitted by the jury.
Now, “unpolluted scribe,” I would ask one of my tormentors always present in the comments of this blog: “But it’s not to criticize the idea of vigilante justice? It’s contradictory the example of this film, right?”
And I would respond:
Yes and no.
Yes, and that’s the part I don’t like in the movie. It justifies the idea that in some cases one can accept taking justice into their own hands. And we cannot tolerate it under any circumstances; even less so when the assumption is inexistent, as appears to be the case in Espírito Santo.
Not that it makes sense to imagine that, given the systematic, continuous and explicit violence against the black population, would it not be absurd to imagine that at some point there may be reactions simply by the perception that emerge – on the part of the black population, of yes we live in a state of inequality and racial violence.
But they will say: Madness! Radicalism from this Afro-lunatic racialist blogger! And in front of the democratic Gilberto Freyrean fury present even in the Bolshevik part of the map, would finally say:
It’s always fitting the terrible and necessary application of reflection made by the white lawyer Jake Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) in A Time to Kill:
“Now imagine that this little girl is white!”
Imagine that Alailton is white!
Imagine that Cláudia is white!
Imagine that Amarildo is white!
Imagine that Douglas is white! (1)
Imagine that José Carlos, is white. (2)
Imagine that the boy tortured and tied naked to a pole in Rio de Janeiro is white.
Imagine that, those the police kill 3 times more than blacks, are white. (3)
Imagine a world where people could live in peace.
Can you see it?
Source: Negro Belchior, Black Women of Brazil
1. Douglas Rodrigues, 17, was shot and killed by the Military Police in São Paulo in October 2013. According to the victim’s mother, Douglas asked the shooter, “Why did you shoot me?” He was taken to the hospital where he died.
2. José Carlos Lopes Junior, 19, was executed by Military Police in Rio during a police operation in the region of Morro São João in February. The victim’s father said “They ordered my son on his knees and they killed him.”
3. A report from last month by the Universidade Federal de São Carlos showed that police in São Paulo kill three times more blacks than whites; 79% of police involved are white