Brazil: Olympics, war and elections

Global Voices OlympicsIt could not have been any different; the Olympics, war and elections were the dominating keywords of the week in the Brazilian blogosphere, with many bloggers commenting on the games in Beijing and the achievements of Brazilian athletes, while others were more worried about the Russian-Georgian conflict, not forgetting, every now and then, to give consideration to the upcoming local elections in the country. Nathalia [pt], a very young newbie blogger of just 16, reflects on the three issues:

Eu estava na quarta série quando aconteceu a copa de 2002. Fizemos um projeto na escola que envolvia todos as matérias, cada uma tratando de um aspecto do evento. Uma frase dita por algum professor que eu nem lembro quem era me marcou muito: “Esses eventos servem pra ‘disfarçar’ o que de verdade está acontecendo pelo mundo”. O Brasil foi pentacampeão naquele ano e confesso que não intendi o que aquele professor queria dizer.

I was in fourth grade at the time of the 2002 World Cup. We did a school project involving all the subjects, each of them dealing with one aspect of the event. One of the teachers, don't remember who, said a remarkable phrase to me: “These events are only good to ‘disguise’ the truth of what is happening around the world.” Brazil was five times champion that year and I confess that I didn't understand what that teacher meant.

Hoje, seis anos depois, acompanhando uma Olímpiada de verdade pela primeira vez isso ficou claro pra mim. Faz 5 dias que não sei o que acontece no mundo.  Ligar a TV é inútil. Todos os canais contam e recontam jogos e medalhas. Na estação de notícias que eu costumo ouvir na rádio não foi diferente. Todos parecem ter apenas um só assunto : Pequim. Até na internet que teoricamente é o meio de comunicação mais versátil e abrengente parece que se esqueceu das notícias do mundo real.

Today, six years later, and truly following the Olympics for the first time it became clear to me. For 5 days I do not know what happens in the world. Turning the TV on is useless. All channels count and recount games and medals. The news station I am used to hearing on the radio was no different. They all appear to have only a single subject: Beijing. Even on the Internet, which theoretically is the most versatile and in depth means of communication, it seems the stories of the real world are forgotten.

Tive que rolar minha página inicial [] até o fim pra descobrir se o mundo havia se transformado num grande ginásio Olímpico ou se ainda existiam notícias reais. Descobri que nesse meio tempo uma guerra estorou, o dólar voltou a subir e mais críticas em relação a censura chinesa foram feitas.

I had to roll down my homepage [] until the end to find out if the world had been transformed into a large Olympic gymnasium or even if there was still any real news. I found out that in the meantime a war has broken out, the dollar value is going up again and more criticism regarding Chinese censorship has been made.

Além disso, não foi aprovada a lei que impedia canditatos com a ficha suja a se candidatar nas eleições desse ano e o TSE registrou 378 candidatos com mais de 70 anos. Parece que em ano de eleições, o Brasil está jogando sua sujeira política pra baixo do tapete. Um tapete chinês. Eleger idosos e acusados de crimes não parece ser a solução para nosso país. E o brasileiro não sabe disso por quê? Porque o Brasil ganhou 2 bronzes em Pequim, porque Phelps bateu mais um record ou porque a seleção do Dunga pode chegar a algum lugar.

Moreover, the law that prevented candidates with a criminal background running for this year's elections was not passed, and the TSE [Superior Electoral Court] registered 378 candidates over 70 years. It seems that in an election year, Brazil is sweeping all its dirty politics under the carpet. A Chinese carpet. Electing the elderly and those accused of crimes as electoral candidates doesn't seem to be the solution for our country. And why  don't Brazilians know about this? Because Brazil won 2 bronze medals in Beijing, because Phelps broke another record or because Dunga's [football] team can get somewhere.

Confesso que sou a maior fã das Olimpiadas e que acordei as 5 da manhã de sábado para ver a competição de Ginástica. Mas de vez em quando é bom olhar mais além e ver o que está por traz de um evento tão grande como esse.

I confess that I am the biggest fan of the Olympics and that I woke at 5 am on Saturday to see the Gymnastics competition. But every once in a while it is good to look further and see what is beyond an event as large as this.


  • Dena Liles

    I agree Ms. Goes. Here in the United States we are receiving the same type of coverage in the mainstream media. The National Broadcasting System (NBC) basically bid on the coverage of the Olympic games on our television and online. They are doing an amazing job of helping the Chinese to censor the Chinese citizens nevertheless their opinions. NBC Nightly News last night 8/12/08 seemed almost proud about the change in the Beijing area naming expensive car dealership who now have a market in China. I e-mailed them concerning this last night and of course received a standard letter that didn’t address the issue.

    We too have a very important presidential race going on. We also have trials from the Guantanamo Bay for supposed terrorists taking place. President Bush has been in Beijing during the crisis in Georgia is being attended to be the European Union instead.

    Basically Ms. Goes if you want to know the real news in United States you must get on the internet. Some people here are apathetic to news and politics, and it is very obvious by our standing in the world and our economy how well this is working. That is why it is so important to watch and act when world leaders attempt to censor it.

    I commend you for paying attention to those hints you received early in life. They are serving you well. I am listening! Thank You, Dena Liles

  • Thank you very much, Dena

    Isn’t it remarkable that elections always much either the Olympic Games or the World Cup? In Brazil, national elections are every 4 years, always a few months after the World Cup. Being a country passionate for football, it means that the political debate is always left for later – usually when it is too late.


  • Dena

    Well now that you mentioned the football season, we have that, too. Usually elections are in November unless something unusual comes up. Our football starts around August and ends in January.

    In the town I live in, the media is influenced by the people selling land. People don’t want to move to an area where crime is out of control, so they either don’t report it or report it on the 10:00 p.m. news or during the weekend when people are not watching.

    This city has a lot of the research and development for the military. We have engineers coming here in herds it seems like to get in on the money. So our economy locally is sound, as long as there is a war. I am not for war which means I’m not going to vote for someone who is. That puts me in the minority here. :-(

    We had a senator that represented our area in the decisions made in the capitol issues who is retiring. The man who wants to take his place has stated that he will keep jobs in our area. How can he do that, Paula, if he doesn’t support the war? He can’t!

    A senator who goes to Washington, D.C. is supposed to make decisions that are good for the United States of America not what the local people want (which is to continue to have a lot of government jobs based on the war).

    I live a short distance from this military base, a damn, 2 nuclear plants, NASA, an airport, and all these war technology companies. We have explosions going off everyday. I never know what to expect. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, it was very tense around here. You can imagine that every explosion was questioned. Now I just question the really really loud ones. I have to laugh at the absurdity of it all, or I would cry!

    I would love to hear back from you Paula. I have a bit of advice I have already learned on this site. If you should encounter people that say mean things to you, don’t let them discourage you. Say what you have to say, and ignore that. Keep speaking up! I wouldn’t call them names because then you are on their level, and you are above all that nonsense. Always keep speaking the truth no matter what, Paula!

    Peace To Us All,

  • Bella

    Hi Dena,

    I read your posts on another thread about faking Olympic ceremony events. You are a righteous person and you are very logical. There are many CCP paid internet bloggers all over the place. Therefore there thread was polluted by those people. I was shock how people can be so unreasonable when I first joint the global internet environment, until friends from China told me there are these kind of people. Don’t be upset by them. People read between blogs :)
    By the way, you mentioned that NBC helping China to censor Chinese people. Do you know that Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) recently moved Voice of America and Radio Free Asia to CCP controlled and operated satellite AsiaSat? Isn’t it hilarious? Now American government is helping CCP to censor Chinese people!

  • Dena

    Thank you for telling me that Bella. I was shocked! We ran the gamut from running dogs (still haven’t figured that one out), to Nancy Pelosi, Darth Vader, loser, uneducated, little lady. I can’t even remember all of them.

    Now you have told me about AsiaSat. My Grandmother used to say that she had seen the greatest century, and she really didn’t want to see anymore. I’m 48 now, and I understand that remark perfectly. All civilizations rise and fall, and if America doesn’t do something quick we are going down. That’s just the truth. The majority of Americans can’t conceive of that, but look where they get their new from.

    Reminds me of that song by Gary Jules called “Mad World!”

    Thanks again, Bella

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.