Monte Cristo: Auschwitz made in Brazil
It was the last day of the year, the footsteps were hurrying before the hours that advanced towards 2018. The sun, in turn, ignored the occasion, just fulfilled its role of illuminating. It was he who saw me cross the bridge Francisco Sá, from Pedreiras to Trizidela, in the interior of Maranhão, and finally, to have a destination as a place of illustrious people, but suffering under the sun, the moon, the gods, and of Jesus himself, but the worst omission comes from the state.
"Take the picture and it's gone, the place here is dangerous." Who in the sanity would risk wandering with an expensive camera through the streets of that place? I, as always questioning the consensus, devoted part of that day to the benefit of doubt, of curiosity, of moments that I tell in the following lines.
I climb Monte Cristo, the outskirts of Trizidela, the place is famous, but not at all touristy. Already it was news in the "Jornal Nacional", however, nothing that generates a social empathy, on the contrary, the previous question finds shelter in the popular understanding that the place is dangerous, "reimoso", as it is said here. "Take the picture and go away ...", words of a policeman addressed to me the moment he threw the camera at the one who would be the last click of the place visited. I found myself standing on the side of a dirt road, with a wide view of the hill, after so many details there was a larger register of that space. The car passed me and came back a few minutes later, back. Inside, from what I could see, two MPs, to which one of them spoke to me, by the brief dialogue established, I suppose I should have thought that he was a "tourist" who did not know the bad name of the mountain. They asked where I came from and they advised me to "leak" as quickly as possible.
Monte Cristo was born in 2011, initially as a shelter for the Mearim refugees, expelled by the natural dynamics of the floods so common in rainy periods. The place has as a historical sign a mixture of urgency, emergency and the public service provided in any way. So much so that the houses built soon presented problems, resolved after exposure of the case in full prime time in Rede Globo.
Until that day I had only heard of it, today, having been there, I realize that the "camp" of refugees gave way to one of our concentration camps. With the camera in hand I locomovo without limitations, afraid however, popular ideas about the place also climbed the slope. A space so forgotten that when remembered suspicious, and no one, by right, makes a point of hiding.
What brings two realities so far apart in time and space? What do Auschwitz (1940) and Monte Cristo (2018) look like? I must sound sensational to you in making parallel size. Auschwitz is in books, theses and You Tube. Monte Cristo is nowhere, even if it exists. It is just one of the many concentration camps scattered throughout Brazil, microscopic compared to others. But these bands are not alone, divide space with Diogo, Matadouro and others in the nearby Pedreiras.
The logic is the same, that of segregation, of isolation, in both contexts physical death is merely a symbol of who has never existed, in our case, in the breadth of what is expected in a state called democratic. Pale faces, wandering bodies, living day after day is the greatest act of resistance they bestow.
Days later I returned to the place and again I found the State there. Uniformed, armed, the rest is absence. The public power comes to watch, arrest, guarantee the "order", but soon goes away, does not sleep, does not drink coffee, nor does it sit. The state pretends to ignore the state of things which its omission sows. But sometimes the shooting backfires and the violence customarily assigned to the place descends the slope, goes to the center, the "noble" zones, the nobles then remember Monte Cristo.
Poor and undesirable, just like Jews, blacks, Soviets and others in the shadowy Nazi Germany. Not so different from the lepers in the time of Christ. Tragic plot of marginality as social imposition. Who lives on Monte Cristo does not become marginal, is born marginalized, is a "caste". Breaking logic is a rare exception. Isolated and "decomposed" in one of the many "branches" of Auschwitz made in Brazil. They are remembered, however, by the data and cited indirectly in the Oxfam Brazil report. "The distance that unites us: A Portrait of Brazilian Inequalities", expose the fateful and deadly inequality that foments our concentration camps, where "5% of the population - the richest - receive the same amount as the other 95% together". The survey, launched in 2017, also points out that "more than 16 million people live below the poverty line." You can hardly see Monte Cristo in this slice that is not fat, but it is there, malnourished and reeling.
"The place here is dangerous" is not only an isolated statement, it is the Monte Cristo seen by those who do not live in it. This is what is said about this cut of space. But what did I see? I saw the inertia of the state under the shadow of an unfinished court. I saw that in this to survive who lives here turns, adapts. Children learn from an early age that it is not the law. In this the street becomes space for the jokes. The "dangerous" expressed by the PM for a moment discouraged me, days later I was there, taking cold water served by a resident who allowed me to photograph her.
It was revealed here a welcoming Monte Cristo. There is a daily life, there is citizenship, who denies this is Brazil as a public power, except for the police visit. I did not see anything positive left by the state. The lack of public policies are visible in the lack of infrastructure and in the morbid face of those who live there. Is there hope in this look tired? Do not know!
Days after visiting Monte Cristo I returned to Teresina, Piauí. It was near the end of the university period and there was still work to be done, together with others, to present a seminar on the book, "The Brazilian Holocaust. Life, Genocide and 60 Thousand Deaths in the Largest Hospice in Brazil, "his reading made me understand that the logic of the concentration camps is alive, even in so-called democracy. "They are back in crowded public hospitals that continue to work precariously in many other Brazilian cities. They multiply in prisons, in socio-educational centers for adolescents in conflict with the law, in communities at the mercy of trafficking. The neglect of reality makes us prisoners of it. By ignoring it, we become accomplices to crimes that are repeated daily before our eyes. As long as silence covers up indifference, society will continue to advance toward the past of barbarism. It is time to write a new story and to change the final ", last paragraph of the work of Daniela Arbex, that took me literally of the place.
Words are exhausted, but not reflection. Monte Cristo, place that carries in itself the surname of a deity, lives in the hope of a miracle. But the prognosis based on the unfolding facts denies them the hope of those who come from earthly powers. There remains faith in the supernatural. May the supplication of its inhabitants be stronger than the "leaves, the place here is dangerous."