The protest movement in Brazil has rocked the world stage. After nearly three weeks of sustained protests, demonstrations have broken out again as President Dilma Rousseff attempts to negotiate with protest leaders. The world watches as instances of police brutality and state repression against the protestors continue to become exposed and embolden the movement.
Enter Eduardo Galeano, the legendary Uruguayan intellectual and Nation Books author. An expert on Latin American politics and culture, Galeano has released a powerful and insightful statement — translated by Mark Fried — concerning the relationship between world soccer and the protests in Brazil:
As far as I'm concerned, the explosion of indignation in Brazil is justified. In its thirst for justice, it is similar to other demonstrations that in recent years have shaken many countries in many parts of the world.
Brazilians, who are the most soccer-mad of all, have decided not to allow their sport to be used any more as an excuse for humiliating the many and enriching the few. The fiesta of soccer, a feast for the legs that play and the eyes that watch, is much more than a big business run by overlords from Switzerland. The most popular sport in the world wants to serve the people who embrace it. That is a fire police violence will never put out.
Galeano, whose books have been translated into 25 languages, is the winner of the Manuel Vázquez Montalbán International Award for Journalism, awarded by FC Barcelona. A new edition of his classic Soccer in Sun and Shadow has just been published as an e-book by Byliner and will be published next month in print by Nation Books.
Original text in Spanish:
Me parece justa esta explosión de los indignados en Brasil. Y mucho se parece, por su vocación de justicia, a otras manifestaciones que en estos últimos años están conmoviendo a muchos países en muchos lugares del mundo.
El pueblo brasileño, el más futbolero de todos, se niega a seguir aceptando que el fútbol se utilice como coartada para humillar a muchos y enriquecer a pocos. Esta fiesta, fiesta de las piernas que la juegan y los ojos que la miran, es mucho más que el gran negocio de los señores que la dirigen desde Suiza. El más popular de los deportes quiere servir al pueblo que lo practica. La violencia de la policía no podrá apagar ese fuego.
And check out this great piece by Dave Zirin at the Nation, which discusses Galeano's statement:
[Galeano's] insights are so piercing, his love of the sport so absolute, and his hatred of those who would use the beautiful game as a tool of oppression so intense, it was difficult to not think about the old master as protests have raged in the streets of Brazil. "What would Galeano say?" enters my mind every time I attempt to get my head around the dizzying dynamics of a country engulfed in its largest protests in a generation, with World Cup spending at the center of popular discontent. Well, now we know.