Oxygen is in the streets

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By RODRIGO DE FARIA*

The streets cannot let the world be dominated by the violence and hatred of those who suffocated George Floyd, who pleaded for his life. All he could do was say "I can't breathe" while we looked at him, thrown into the gutter by the hands of the "State"

The world stopped breathing. Urban pollution does not allow us (anymore) to breathe, suffocating everyone, those who live in the world's great metropolises and those who live in medium and small cities. Contamination of the air, rivers, seas and springs, resulting from extensive industrial and agro-export production, is suffocating the planet.

The world stopped breathing. Consumerism does not allow us (anymore) to breathe, taking together our domestic savings with what is unnecessary to live. Violence does not let us (anymore) breathe, whether in the city or in the countryside, human lives are silenced. Neoliberal hypocrisy does not allow us (anymore) to breathe, its food is the destruction of public services, because neoliberals do not want the Minimum State, they want the State just for them.

The world stopped breathing. Slave labor does not allow us (anymore) to breathe, it is structured around the spoliation of the bodies of male and female workers, whether in China or Brazil. Education doesn't let us (anymore) breathe, schools are without windows and their walls bear marks of the shots that kill in poor communities.

The world stopped breathing. Domestic violence does not allow us (anymore) to breathe, its victims, women and children, are statistics that are lost due to fear of denouncing. Sexual violence does not let us (anymore) breathe, rape as an instrument results in the criminalization of women, not criminals.

The world stopped breathing. Racism doesn't let us (anymore) breathe, it suffocates to death, either with strangulations or words. Fascism does not let us (anymore) breathe, we believed that it no longer existed, however, they have always been everywhere.

The world stopped breathing. We are all out of breath, we are all in pain, distressed and insomniac. In Estrutural or Vidigal, in Leblon or Asa Sul, in Bois de Boulogen or El Retiro, in Berlin or New York, in Paraisópolis or Minneapolis, we are being suffocated by violence and hatred.

The world stopped breathing. This violence and this hatred want the world to stop breathing, they have always dreamed of the day when all George floyd would stop breathing, suffocating them one by one. In Brazil, this hatred and violence are destroying what little was glimpsed in 1988. In Brazil, this hatred and violence are killing what we imagined to be a democracy. However, the World cannot (anymore) stop breathing, it needs to find the clean air that still exists in every corner of cities, in every humanitarian gesture.

The world needs to keep breathing, only then can we save everyone else George floyd and all democracies. The oxygen we need so much is on the streets of every city. The streets of cities must be the instrument of struggle against violence, against racism, against slavery, against pollution, against consumerism, against everything that represents the negation of life, of our life. Democracy, with all its problems, is the only guarantee the world has to take to the streets, defending, now, the memory of George floyd and democracy itself.

The streets cannot allow the world to be dominated by the violence and hatred of those who suffocated George Floyd, who pleaded for his life as we watched him, thrown into the gutter by the hands of “State Violence”. All he could do was say "I can't breathe". Democracy in Brazil is also thrown into the gutter, suffocated by the hands of those who dream of authoritarianism, the same ones who have already defended torturers. Brazil still has the Oxygen of the Streets, Democracy cannot stop breathing.

*Rodrigo Faria He is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at UnB.

 

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