tropical hell

Dora Longo Bahia, The police come, the police go, 2018 Acrylic on cracked laminated glass 50 x 80 cm
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By DIEGO DOS SANTOS REIS*

Considerations on the murder of Moïse Mugenyi Kabagambe

“In what language to describe the recurrent carnage, the lives of individuals who are crushed daily?” (Achille Mbembe, Brutalism).

If Moïse had been a young white man, his murder would have brought the country to a standstill. Indignant reactions from the middle class, public condemnations of political authorities, exhaustive coverage by the mainstream press, notes of repudiation and solidarity would be issued in droves, demanding a swift investigation and justice. Were it not for the denunciation that circulated on the margins of the official press, initially, and the pressure from organized social movements, whose cry was quickly disseminated through social networks, the brutal homicide would probably be one more accounted for in the funeral list of the Brazilian State, which continues at full steam with the black genocide project, widely denounced by activists, intellectuals and family members of people victimized by state terrorism.

In the Brazilian “tropical paradise” and, especially, in Rio de Janeiro, the friendliness and welcome that give the city the title of “wonderful” have well-marked limits. Or, perhaps, very nuanced limits, according to the colorimetry that, in an instant, can result in 30 sticks, 111 shots or hands and legs tied to any pole, so that the good population can “teach” how many sticks the law is made with. national. “The bar is heavy”, already pointed out Lélia González. Mainly, in territories dominated by the law of the militia and the police, besieged by groups armed to the teeth, which grant themselves the right to judge and summarily execute those who do not strictly follow their booklet.

Moïse Mugenyi Kabagambe was 24 years old. Young Congolese, a refugee in Brazil since he was 14, Moïse could not have imagined that he would be violently attacked by a bloodthirsty pack, when demanding the remuneration, by right, for the days worked at the kiosk. Nor would he lose his life on a summer night, in “tropicalia”. It's not just 200 reais, no doubt, in times when the flexibility of labor laws seeks precisely to consolidate the type of abusive relationship that mischaracterizes employment bonds; extinguishes historically conquered labor rights; subjects employees to the excesses of ambitious bosses, entrepreneurs, who get rich at the expense of slave labor, hunger and torture.

It is not surprising that such an ideology has spread rapidly throughout the national territory. The slave-colonial heritage and the legacy of exploitation, Made in brazil, offered important subsidies for asymmetrical relationships that are characterized much more by the subjugation of those who obey in relation to those who command than by the regulated service provision, which guarantees legal obligations and protections to contractors and contractors. Moïse's body, black and a refugee, brings together the racial hatred of the lords of the big house and the puny nationalism that, behind the scoundrel yellowish green, reveals xenophobia, racism and hands stained with blood splattered on the Portuguese cobblestone sidewalks. Blood that seeps through the gaps in prisons; that flows down the stairs of alleys, ravines and Brazilian slums, spilled over swamps, forests and sertões.

 

Beloved homeland, Brazil?

As if the official silence about racial crimes in the country and the absence of effective public policies that stop the advance of racial hatred were not enough, in a scenario in which the pathetic argument of the existence of “reverse racism” against whites, defended by part of the intelligentsia Brazilian, the national immigration policy for refugees remains incipient, not to say it is criminal. Now, granting visas to refugees and stateless persons is not enough without the guarantee of a protection network and social rights that are mandatory for a country that ratified the Geneva Convention. Not to mention the cases of non-granting of visas, concealed by propaganda, “export type”, of the alleged Brazilian hospitality to foreigners.

It would be necessary to gather: white foreigners, Europeans and North Americans. The revolt and repudiation of such crimes, however, remains selective. No mention is made of “human consciousness” or the “humanity shared by all”, whose appeal rages in the reflections produced by whiteness on November 20th. There now reigns, on the part of this group, the most absolute silence. Indifferent like the passers-by who, in the face of barbarism, keep drinking coconut water and chewing gum.

“I lived to tell: they killed my son here as they kill in my country”, said his mother, Lotsove Lolo Lavy Ivone, one of the 1.050 Congolese refugees currently living in Brazil, according to the records of the General Coordination of the National Committee for Refugees. (Conare), from the Ministry of Justice. What Lotsove could not suspect is that, in the family diaspora to escape the armed conflicts that divide Congolese territory, his son's destiny would be crossed by tropical, secular violence, beaten for about fifteen minutes and tied by ropes, already unconscious.

The rope, by the way, that passes through the young man's hands, feet and neck is quite emblematic. With no chance of defence, symbolically, it ensnares the tamed, hunted body, tying it to the same fate as hundreds of thousands of people enslaved in the country, publicly tortured and murdered with the endorsement of the Brazilian State. Any resemblance to the current time is not coincidental.

Moïse is still stretched out on the floor. The red sea of ​​blood spilled from his black body trickles down the kiosk stairs. His people are still persecuted. And the commandment that announces “thou shalt not kill” goes blank – erased by the summary order of “killing” that, in any street corner, with baseball bats, firearms or bare hands, threatens to liquidate black lives.

They will not pass.

*Diego dos Santos Reis He is a professor at the Federal University of Paraíba and at the Humanities, Rights and Other Legitimacies postgraduate program at the University of São Paulo.

 

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