Before I tell this story, I must say that I had doubts about revealing what I’m about to reveal. Bearing in mind the fact that I truly dislike clichés and any sort of mass belief, I pondered about telling something that would reinforce the image of Brazil as a violent country and scare people away. On the other hand, I’m also committed to truthfulness and that is why I’ve chosen to write this.
Last Saturday night I was mugged by two guys on my way home from a club. Actually, it was a man and a kid who must be younger than 12. They took my cell phone and a mere 5$, which was all I had after a up to that moment lovely evening (nice pizza with friends, then pre-club drinks and a fun-filled session at the club itself).
Many foreigners become flabbergasted when they hear about Brazilian street children, although people here are quite used to them in a societally numb way. In my case, the little kid was much angrier than the older mugger, for he even hit me in the face (nothing serious happened to me other than a fat lip which gives me a certain Angelina Jolie-ish look) and was restlessly looking for things in my pockets.
I did not get angry at them. I honestly believe that people like those only commit crimes because they are not given chances in life. Foreigners ask Brazilians all the time about the reasons for such a situation. As I’ve said countless time, they are fourfold:
- corruption and
Brazil is not a poor country. There is enough money and resources in this land to make social justice a realit. That is, only if it weren’t for the ever so greedy politicians who, for the most part, don’t even think twice before appropriating tax money in the most vicious ways one can dream of.
I am not so naive as to think they are the only ones to blame. We all are, for all of us Brazilians are corrupt. Petty corruption is a reality in Brazilian society. People are always trying to get advantage in any way they can, every time they have a chance. From cutting lines to stealing hundreds of millions of reais, the thought that generates the action is the same: I’m better than others and that rules can always be bent.
It is high time all Brazilians learn that their corrupt actions have consequences. Only then will we be able to change.
Regarding the little kid, the only solution for him and all the similar cases we hear about, is education. Education is all at once the means, the ends, the purpose and the tool for change.
Reality really bites you every once in a while.