On the Road - II
BORN BECAUSE THEY LOVED ME
DIED BECAUSE THEY KILLED ME...
Rest In Peace
This simple writing on the wall is the most recent welcoming message to all those who enter the main street of the Morro de Samba (Samba Hill), where Hummingbird spread its wings for another successful day during our Beija-Flor na Comunidade week.
Infamous for its heavy drug trafficking and violence, the Morro de Samba is renowned as one of the most dangerous communities in our region.
Nevertheless, it is just like any other underprivileged community, where thousands of families are joined together by their common plight for survival. But sometimes that survival game can get so tough that it can cost you your life!
As did happen on the night of our last Social Communication Programme, Urban Outcries, which ironically presented Small Firearms (and their consequences on society) as the main topic.
Renan, Gabriel, Felipe, Marcelão and Thiago were not present at our event, instead they were too busy trying to escape the ruthless clutches of some crazed policemen who decided they were going to get some “results” that day.
Each name in red painted on that wall represents an unreasonable reason for dying, their unreasonable reason, like all the other unreasonable reasons for dying as described in a symbolic installation mounted by our kids in connection with Urban Outcries.
Our kids are just too familiar with the consequences of small firearms in their own communities, most of them having already lost a member of their own family, but the tragedy that unfolded, represented by these simple words on the wall above, symbolizes the state of human degeneration we have reached in Brazil.
These five innocent kids, between the age of 14 and 18 were shot dead by the police! 14-year old Thiago was the brother of one of our capoeira kids, the son of one of our mothers!
Today, the guys who really “run” the joint showed me around “their” community. They took me to the house where one of the kids had lived; the same house where they were cornered and killed only three weeks earlier, shot dead hiding under a bed whilst trying to escape the crazy police hunt for drug traffickers in the favela. It was now abandoned by the mother, who could not bare to live with the scene of such a tragic crime.
The guys who showed me around told me quite frankly that they were only innocent kids and had nothing to do with their business in the drug trade. During the police raid they had simply run for safety but were followed to the house by the police, who ordered them to leave. The kids, frightened of coming out, decided to stay put (our police force are not exactly known for their good deeds as most kids will tell you!), at which moment the police decided to attack with everything they had.
Needless to say the end result was a disgrace! The kids didn’t even have a chance, they were unarmed and had nothing to do with the guys who the police were after, the very same guys who showed me around their community.