Living with Olympic Security
Human rights violations, music and activism in Rio de Janerio. Sterre Gilsing, Utrecht University and Thainã de Medeiros, Coletivo Papo Reto.
The preparations for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016 have been marked by numerous human rights violations. An example of this is the security policy introduced prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, to “secure the city” for the two upcoming mega-events. While state presence in Rio’s favelas have traditionally been minimal, so-called “pacifying police units” (UPP) aiming to expel drug traffickers have now been installed in several strategically located favelas. The implementation of this policy has been controversial, as it has led to new forms of violence and violations. This seminar explores how it is for residents to live with this situation.
Presentations by museologist and activist Thainã de Medeiros and anthropologist and PhD candidate Sterre Gilsing.
Thainã de Medeiros: Mediating Police Violence
Coletivo Papo Reto (the Straight Talk Collective) is a community journalism collective that uses communication to mobilise and discuss issues related to favelas in Rio de Janeiro. They have taken on a leading role in the development of alternative forms of journalism and communication emerging in Rio’s favelas. The Collective also fights for the upholding of human rights, and works to document and denounce violations committed by the police in popular territories.
Thainã de Medeiros is a member of Papo Reto. He grew up in Complexo da Penha and lives in Complexo do Alemão, two neighbouring communities that share similar realities with a continuous presence of "pacifying police units" (UPPs). He will explain what the impact of this situation is in the daily lives of the people who live in these areas.
Sterre Gilsing: Beats and Bullets in Rio de Janeiro's Favelas
Funk proibidão is a type of music that originates in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. Some stigmatise funk MCs as apologists of crime. Others see the songs as a representation of daily life in a city where violence has become everyday's business. The State interference with bailes funk, funk parties, in the areas occupied by UPPs (Pacifying Police Units) show the importance of popular culture in struggles of politics and power. What can music tell us about the struggles of many inhabitants of the Olympic City?
Sterre Gilsing is a PhD student at Utrecht University. Her research is part of the Popular Culture of (Il)legality Project.