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!
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.