Tuesday, June 10, 2014

World Cup 2014: The Dark Side, Part I

This is the part of the show where I start taking one of the biggest sporting events ever and turning super-duper ultimate hippie on your behinds. But I mean well by this, and I still love sports. Just getting that explanation out of the way now. Oh yeah, and this is ANOTHER TWO-PARTER. DEAL WITH THIS.

Ahh, what a great event in the world of sports.

Every four years, millions upon millions of people watch 32 teams duke it out for the title of being the best football [or soccer...wherever you fall on the spectrum] team in the world. If you've only been exposed to MLS and Olympic soccer, dude, you're missing out on something huge, and this could definitely get you to dish out money for a sports cable package so you can watch some international leagues.

But what if I told you...
(I was watching The Matrix the other night. Haters gonna hate.)
That there is so much else going on outside of the World Cup event itself? For the longest time, oppression has been occurring in this country outside of the World Cup stadiums, such as protests and fighting over land, on top of the financial issues of FIFA.

Guys, this is almost as bad as Sochi before the Winter Olympics this year.

There was a picture that snapped me back into reality, and a professor of mine on Twitter retweeted it. This is it here:
All of the credit in the world to Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports)
It looks like something ripped out of a dystopian film, doesn't it? This also looks like something you would see on a conspiracy website that has material going against everything the mainstream media stands for. Unfortunately, this is happening more often than it should, and it is absolutely terrifying.

Although their numbers have dwindled over the years, there are still nearly one million Indigenous living in Brazil. And there are still hundreds of unique tribes in the country. That's right. Hundreds. Most of them have been restricted to reservation areas due to corporate invasion, most notably in the Amazon. What's even more interesting is that some tribes are still separated despite their falling numbers. Although the Brazilian government respects the Indigenous, most forms of modernization and their [somewhat] choking of these tribes have led the tribles to fight back in any way possible. This is the brutal truth that you don't see on the news. Then again, when would you, except if there was a huge purging of them? I digress.

When I mentioned the "corporate invasion" above, this also applies to the areas of Indigenous tribes being affected due to stadium construction and other "cosmetic changes" that are necessary for the hosting of the World Cup. The sad part is, when it comes to this, there is no unity, and law enforcement is willing to push them back without any need for reasoning. Two resistances lead to civil war.

However, it isn't just the Indigenous people that are fighting against Brazilian officials; numerous modern citizens are against the idea of their home nation hosting this immense sporting event. You're probably thinking: "Seriously? Brazil is a huge football country. Did they all get dropped on their heads?" Grant it, there's a big-looking force of a government taking the reins in Brazil, and needless to say, Brazilians haven't been keen on the system they run in the country, as well as where their budgets have gone. The stadiums that the matches are being held in are quite nice, but well...everything else looks like a pigsty. The government thinks that the hospitality of the country as a whole will cause the general public to oversee these "errors," but the $64,000 question is this: Will they?

When you look at the tourism part, things get hairier. Many of the citizens who had recently moved to Brazil are not surprised at the hike in prices of food and other necessities, but they're rather surprised that the tariffs and price changes for these things are next-to-impossible to even imagine paying for. Imagine being part of the media for the World Cup, and you're going to buy a few souvenirs. Ha ha ha ha, how about nope? Even keychains can be a bit pricey. A lot of the imported items skyrocket in price due to tariffs, so any sort of thing that comes from outside of the country (which, admittedly, there's a bunch) is going to make you cry because you'll be shelling out of a lot of converted currency for whatever you want.

You tend to forget that there's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes of these events, and a lot of the American media outlets don't even bother covering it. Sure, the World Cup is all about the teams, but who even thinks about the country hosting it? It's like you're going to a party and you're a guest--nothing more. There's no describing how much stress the host goes through in getting all of the food and drinks and favors, and on top of that, there are the phone calls and the other errands one has to make during the day. It's frustrating, but the host can't tell you that they were at the point where they wanted to set themselves on fire and jump out of a window of a three-story building before the shindig went down. I mean, the host can joke about it, and people are going to laugh, but really, as a host and a director of sorts, some of this stuff isn't a joke. This is a case of real life, and it's more of a problem than you would think.

When you have "polls" going around the country asking citizens whether their World Cup hosting opportunity was a good idea and about half of them are coming up as saying that it was a bad idea, you definitely know something is wrong. Not everyone is united in this event, and even though the morale isn't going to show on the pitch, you're going to find a lot of off-pitch issues going on and bleeding into the mainstream media. Believe me, if Brazil doesn't make it out of the Group Stages in the World Cup, things are going to get super ugly, super fast. This is going to be sitting in the back of the minds of the Brazilian government whether they want it there or not.

These issues are some of the many dark clouds looming over Brazil and FIFA. However, in respect to the other dark clouds in the sky, these are relatively minute. It goes south from here.

To Be Continued...


Check back here tomorrow for Part II.

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