Football and The Brazilian People


I was not going to write anymore about the world cup, but since so many people have written me to ask what I think about what happened, and I actually have explained to some here it goes.

I think it was a mystery that Brazil could go as far as it did. Short of mind-boggling. No, not them loosing, but them reaching as far as they did with a team that was not very strong. Even more amazing was to see the population go from apathy to total fury because of the 7-1 yesterday in the game between Germany and Brazil.

Seriously, how could anyone actually  have expected that Brazil would beat Germany?When most of their team play together in Bayern München and have so much experience playing together.  Germany has been a great team for such a long time now.

Today Argentina will play Holland.  And many Brazilians are supporting Argentina. Intriguing isn’t it?  Some rationalise it, that they want the  cup to remain in this continent. Other’s like me really admire Messi. Could Argentina win in one player only? Who knows? Holland should definitely be taken seriously, yet, to be quite honest they have played so violently so many times.. that it is hard to invoke the admiration to the old dutch team in our memories.

The reason I write today about this, is because, in fact I was quite appalled by the reaction Brazilians (who first did not want Brazil to win) had. Flags were burned, bussed were burned, foreigners were harmed. And that is definitely shameful.

I remembered Darcy Ribeiro, the anthropologist and writer who ran away from hospital to write the book called “O Povo Brazileiro” ( the Brazilian people). There he argues that Brazilians were not Africans, nor Indigenous, nor Europeans. He claims that because of the mix ( true love and rape etc) these mixed children were rejected by all. They were Brazilian. I would add that it goes way further than this beginning of interaction. Brazilians learned to accept all that came in their path.

Till very recently our main Cathedral in Sāo Paulo held Jewish, Christian and Islamic events when Mosques and Synagogues did not exist here. Everything else was integrated…. from Asia to middle eastern cultures. Everything was incorporated, in a symbolic system that in Brazil antagonism did not really matter. That is not the same to say that in Brazil there is no violence, no inequality. It is to say that they received Jews and Nazis, Japanese and Chinese, Sirian and Lebanese. And that they have learned to incorporate their beliefs with indigenous and Africans.

That is why, it was so embarrassing to hear people were attacking property and people for something that till a couple weeks ago they did not want.

But today, when the day had risen I went to the buss station to exchange my tickets since I have a cold and as I entered the bus station, after having read so much crap in the internet I saw hundreds of Argentinians in Sao Paulo singing. It was actually quite beautiful. It was even more beautiful to see that Brazilians filmed it. Watched it and did not start a fight. It was the same in the tube, and even close to my house. There were dozens of Argentinians singing.

It made me happy.  At least the usual respect for the outside remained here, even when their arch-rival was singing in our lands.

Who knows… maybe Messi can win alone 🙂 And if they don’t, a game between a non motivated Brazilian team and Argentina should definitely  text how strong is “o povo Brasileiro”.

PS: After the game: I supported Argentina the whole time! And Messi did not win alone. Mascherano was amazing! In fact both teams played really well.  But Romeno is way better keeper than the Dutch guy.  I am happy they won. I am happy that all their joy I had seen yesterday all over Sao Paulo had result. How could one not admire those who came in every single way here,  knowing their economy is collapsed to support their team. It was really beautiful!  Congratulations!

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