The World Cup: An Opiate for the Brazilian People?

By | October 30, 2013

Sometime yesterday Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo was asked about the possible continuation of the protests that have been wide-spread throughout Brazil, especially since last summers Confederations Cup. He stated,

“I don’t believe we will see demonstrations during the World Cup, I think the World Cup will be protected by the will of the people to be supportive of a great event. The mood will be for partying, not for protesting, when the national teams and the tourists start arriving in Brazil.”

While this may be a probable statement, we should ask ourselves what this would say about the Brazilian people and the effect of soccer to distract people from their problems in general. Is a sporting event, even the biggest one known to the planet, worth abandoning a cause as important as fighting against government corruption and almost zero transparency in use of taxpayer dollars? Even if the protests stop for only a month while the World Cup is actually taking place, I feel as if it would greatly weaken their efforts at reform. Such an important issue cannot simply be dropped for a time and picked back up whenever it is convenient. As Eduardo Galeano acknowledges, some people have had the opinion that soccer “castrates the masses and derails their revolutionary ardor”, which would be precisely the case with the World Cup in Brazil, especially when the very thing the masses are so upset about is the billions of dollars that have been spent on the stadiums Rebelo hopes they will soon pay to enter!

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We all know that Brazilians love their soccer, and that it can truly serve as an expression of national pride here more than almost anywhere else. However, when the nation isn’t carrying out its duties as ruling body, it is the responsibility of the people to act and demand a change even if this action requires standing outside stadiums chanting and shouting, instead of joyously doing so within.



One thought on “The World Cup: An Opiate for the Brazilian People?

  1. Bryan Silverman

    To me, the demonstrations won’t necessarily stop, and perhaps they can even become more effective. We have read about how in Iran, people tried to pursue their protests and how supporting the soccer team wasn’t support of the government. I think that we will see a lot of manifestations of protest throughout the world cup due to the fact that we know the Brazilians aren’t happy about the way taxpayers’ dollars are being spent, among other things. The World Cup serves as a global stage to help protesters get their point across to the rest of the world while simultaneously enjoying the sport they love.


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