Edwin Sanchez. Torcido (Photo Laura Imery-IDARTES), Colombia.


The captains of the bush hunt, trample and exterminate slum dwellers in that urban quilombo

Men are many. A platoon. Masked, in uniform, wielding rifles, machine guns and pistols. They descend from camouflaged, armored vehicles. They parade to the sound of an accelerated funeral march. They fire their weapons.

Polished boots knock down the doors of baroque shacks, immortalized in paintings naive. Children in panic, boys on the run, women protecting their babies, taking refuge in the corners of shacks. Helpless men torn apart.

The captains of the bush hunt, trample and exterminate slum dwellers in that urban quilombo. “Everything thug”. Black and almost black. Who did not emancipate themselves. That didn't break free. Where will Princess Isabel go?

Eviscerated try to escape, holding their guts explicit. They slip in the flowing blood of the narrow and poorly traced alleys. Crashes, screams, pain, terror. Fire. Canceled CPFs. “Everything thug”. “Shoot the little head!”.

Funeral wagons lined up, ready for the triumphal parade. Unrecognizable corpses. “Everything thug”. They lack face, they lack identity, they lack dignity, they lack humanity.

The attack continues. More blood to quench the thirst of those who ordered the extermination. More blood! More blood! More blood! Dense smoke leaves the gun barrels. Babies children brats women men undifferentiated – “all thugs”.

Shacks are not houses, they are not homes, slum dwellers are not people. Take down! Set it on fire! Woods! Woods! No clemency, no pity. “Everything thug”. The stench of death does not dissipate.

Sniffer dogs, the captains of the bush search the shacks. They tear down doors and windows and furniture and everything that's standing. Nothing can remain standing. The verticality of the hill gives way to the horizontality of death.

Once the killing is over, the captains of the bush return to the police stations. Bloody boots. Get-togethers. Acclaimed. Revered. Decorated. They carried out orders. With the pleasure of sadists, with the look of madmen.

Those who survived the slaughter seek their dead. No final hug, no final farewell. The tears have all been shed. These people don't really get attached to life. “Everything thug”.

*Renato da Silva Queiroz He is a professor at the Department of Anthropology at USP. Author, among other books, of A very Brazilian myth (Police).

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