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FIFA Beware! Journalist Teams Up with Brazil's World Cup Victims

This article, by Andrea Dip, is part of Agência Pública's special coverage of #CopaPública [pt] and was originally published January 11, 2013 under the title “Fifa tremei! Andrew Jennings encontra o movimento popular brasileiro” [pt].

What could be more dangerous than an investigative journalist who digs deeply and isn't afraid to announce what he discovers for the world to hear?

When that investigative journalist joins forces with popular movements.

Foto do encontro Preliminares na Casa Fora do Eixo, em São Paulo.

Photo from the Preliminares meeting at Fora do Eixo House, in São Paulo.

In December 2012, Copa Pública (Public Cup – a journalism agency Pública's team leading investigations on the World Cup) in partnership with the network Fora do Eixo [pt] (Out of Alignment), promoted a day of lectures and discussions about the Brazil's preparations for the 2014 World Cup, which the country will host. The meeting at Fora do Eixo House in São Paulo opened the festival of idea-exchange called Preliminares [pt], which involved gatherings at various points in the city from December 8 through 16, 2012.

Specialists in diverse areas, members of popular movements, residents who have been or will be removed from their homes, opinion makers, and students came together to discuss the Cup and its promoter, the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA).

British journalist Andrew Jennings closed the night by speaking about the federation, which he has exhaustively investigated for years.

Andrew Jennings encontra o movimento popular brasileiro

Andrew Jennings meets the Brazilian popular movement.

Jennings gave details and names of those involved “in FIFA’s dirty game” — “shaming every one of the crooks — which is even more important,” he emphasized.

The journalist also took the opportunity to learn, conversing with representatives from popular movements such as Articulação Nacional dos Comitês Populares da Copa (National Articulation of the Popular Committees of the Cup), which has mounted important resistance to the abuses committed during preparations for the mega-event, as well as with victims of forced evictions.

“Fiquei muito satisfeito com a mistura de ativistas e vítimas que se uniram para lutar contra empresários, especuladores, políticos e bandidos. Eu gostaria de trabalhar com eles no futuro” diz Jennings. “Para mim não foi apenas uma reunião, foi uma chance de começar um trabalho conjunto contra esses bandidos para os próximos 18 meses”

“I was quite satisfied with the mix of activists and victims who united in the fight against corporate owners, speculators, politicians, and crooks. I’d like to work with them in the future,” said Jennings. “For me, it wasn't just a meeting, it was a chance to begin a joint effort against these crooks for the next 18 months.”

On the lectures concerning evictions, Maracanã, and the World Cup General Law, Jennings explained he wasn't surprised that “workers have been victimized by big money, something that happens in all the countries that have hosted mega-events.” But he thinks Brazil has the opportunity to turn things around:

Com a qualidade das pessoas que estavam naquela reunião, vocês podem lutar contra eles. Vi boas pessoas, determinadas, inteligentes, criativas.

With the quality of people who were at that encounter, you can fight against them. I saw good, determined, intelligent, creative people.

The best weapon against the FIFA bosses, he says, is booing:

Acho que vocês têm que praticar para vaiar o Blatter: Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Vaiem os empresários, os políticos, a prefeitura, filmem e disponibilizem na internet! Eu quero ouvir o som das vaias brasileiras aqui na Europa! É uma arma maravilhosa e de graça!

I think you have to practice booing Blatter (Joseph Blatter, current President of FIFA). Booooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Boo the corporate owners, the politicians, the municipal governments, film it and get it out on the Internet! I want to hear the sound of Brazilian boos here in Europe! It’s a wonderful weapon and it’s free!

Watch some interviews with Andrew Jennings from the event:

Video editing: Rede Fora do Eixo / Subtitles: Jessica Mota

The blog #CopaPública [pt] is a citizen journalism initiative that reports how the Brazilian population is being affected by – and mobilizing against – preparations for the 2014 World Cup.

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