We may have different names for the sport, but in reality, football only speaks one language, and that is on the pitch.
The World Cup and the world’s protest in Brazil
“Everything in Brazil is a mess. There is no education, health care — no security. The government doesn’t care. We’re a rich country with a lot of potential but the money doesn’t go to those who need it most.” - 26 year old Brazilian photographer Manoela Chiabai, speaking to the AP.
The pre-match pleasantries exchanged before each Confederations Cup match belie a dark reality: the people of Brazil are boiling over, and soccer fans and social media mavens worldwide are facilitating their distress.
Over $13 billion has been spent by the Brazilian government on stadium infrastructure and investments related to the World Cup; $13 billion in a country where the income of the average Brazilian hovers around $400 per month. Add in the destruction of historic favelas to make way for a safer Brazil, a dubious stadium bid process and misused government grants, and you have a World Cup more accurately defined by corruption, gentrification and a suppression of the real issues plaguing Brazil, than any sort of sporting spirit.
Brazilian scholar Fabio Malini told the New York Times that “The largest protests are happening in cities which will host World Cup games. Brazilians are mixing soccer and politics in a way that is new, and minority voices are making themselves heard.”
Of course, this isn’t to say that the nearing World Cup is at the root of the ongoing social and political concerns which have led to friction amongst the Brazilian population. Inflation and unemployment are high, the disparity between social classes is expanding, and the poor are bearing the brunt of a new-found focus on globalization and international image; the World Cup is just a spark to long-brewing frustrations. People are suffering, and nothing could seem further from resolving their ills than oppressive concrete stadiums and soon-to-be abandoned hotels.
Something has to change.