Brazil’s back to the Middle Ages

Stripped naked, publicly humiliated, punched, kicked, part of the ear chopped off, neck chained and body tied to a bicycle frame. That’s the punishment that an angry mob of upper-middle class citizens inflicted on a 16-years old pickpocket. A passerby tried to interfere and help the adolescent, only to be threatened with lynching by the hysterical horde.

A TV presenter then celebrates the barbarity live on national television. A nation applauds. A political party threatens the TV presenter with legal action for inciting violence. The nation slams the political party for being opportunistic.

This is not the script of Tarantino’s or Ken Loach’s latest film. The TV presenter in question is Rachel Sheherazade from the Brazilian TV network SBT, the place is the Flamengo district (in the city of Rio de Janeiro) and the political party is PSOL (a small left-wing party). The 16-year pickpocket is (surprise, surprise!!!) a black, poor dweller from a nearby slum.

There is something intrinsically wrong with the mindset of the Brazilian middle classes. Their values are twisted and corrupted, and their stance is highly hypocritical. The widely spread adage “a good thief is a dead thief” is racist and elitist.

Online commentators accused PSOL of being “communists” who “sympathise with Hitler” (both at the same time even!!!), and therefore have no moral authority to criticise the journalist. They supported Rachel Sheherazade almost unanimously. Their rhetoric can be read in most leading media, such as this one. This is deeply shocking and disturbing.

Every country has their Anne Heche, Melanie Phillips and Rachel Sheherazade. The danger is when they come out of their rotten trenches and shoot their toxic idiocies in every possible direction, and get commended for that.

Rachel Sheherazade is a antediluvian religious fundamentalist, member of the Baptist Church, and has a history of inflammatory and highly reactionary comments. Last year she affirmed that “supporters of the lay State are ungrateful towards Christianity, which is responsible for our principles of freedom, honesty, respect and justice”. It defies logic how she applied these principles to the lynching of a 16-years old.

Or perhaps not. The Christian fundamentalist would probably welcome the return of the Inquisition, where all pickpockets, defectors and infidels could burn mercilessly!

Luckily the Brazilian law does not allow for such acts of savagery. In reality the Brazilian Constitution – written in 1988 – is very lay, balanced and modern. The problem is that most people are not.

Brazilians are very good at histrionics, and that’s why so many identify so profoundly with Sheherazade. Brazilians love screaming their rights. They have the ability to turn an item in their agenda, however small, in an issue of epic proportions in a split second. Unfortunately, they are equally good at neglecting their duties, conveniently forgetting that the law also applies to themselves.

For example, one of the favourite hobbies of the Brazilian middle class is to bemoan corrupt politicians. Yet they are unrepentant of the lawless lynching of a 16-years old.

Brazil wants to be “the country of the future”, but it is still bogged down in a precarious mentality of the past. Many Brazilians have the habit of taking advantage of every single situation, dismissing justice as they see fit. This crooked and nefarious attitude is affectionately described as the “the Brazilian way” (“o jeitinho brasileiro”) of doing things. Vigilantes, make yourselves home: this is nobody’s land!

The savages who beat the 16-year old and this vile “journalist” should be arrested and prosecuted. Worryingly, that is unlikely to happen. Instead, the barbarians are being celebrated.

Brazilians must pick their role models more carefully. We need more Mandelas and less Talebans. Otherwise, who is going to take us seriously?


  1. V Manoel

    To all the people who said: “why you you adopt the pickpocket”:

    Why don’t you show judgement skills and create an argument of your own, instead of parroting the idiocies uttered by this “journalist”?

  2. Ricardo Kramer

    Yeah, Brazil is in the middle ages. Blame who??? Blame the left wing government that is supported by international drug dealers (FARCS). The destabilization of the country is just part of the plan to transform Brazil in the next Cuba… and then, you have useful idiots writing BS like this blaming all the problems in the Capitalist system.

  3. Catwoman

    You forgot to mention that a naked woman is dancing on national TV on prime time every night representing Carnival. “Globeleza”, as she’s called, is so medieval, so Dark Ages, that I doubt it could be classified as sexism. Is more absurd than sexism. And no one cares.

  4. José Truda Palazzo Jr.

    This is just the end result of abandoning every working person in this country to the absurd levels of violence and total impunity of the criminals, a policy implemented on purpose by the fascistoid Workers Party to confer “human rights” on criminals but nobody else. The society as a whole, not any theoretical middle class as that the author pretends to exist in a separate level, is sick and tired of this situation, and acts in self-defense, yes, sometimes resulting in ugly scenes pike this, but which represent how fed up we all are with seeing criminals being aprehended and immediately released 20, or 30 times (not kidding, that’s the truth!) after attacking ordinary working people, often with great violence. Brazil is saying ENOUGH!

  5. Rafael Ribeiro

    I am Brazilian and I am ashamed of my people.

  6. Thomas Rook

    Good writing.
    While I do not condone violence of any kind, what happened should be seen as a knee-jerk reaction to the state of security in Brazil.
    This is not an isolated incident, but a cry for help.
    The people from Rio de Janeiro know full well they cannot rely on the police or the judicial system to defend their lives and way of life.
    As always, the middle class is always the easiest target, however, the aforementioned SBT’s clapping audience is well known to be mostly comprised of people from the lower classes.
    I should also point out that there is almost no brazilian without african genes in their blood.
    Brazil’s society is tired of condoning crime and corruption, simple as that.
    It is a problem that cannot be ignored due to the amount of information pumping their brains every day.

  7. V Manoel

    That’s right. People are being killed, robbed, women have been raped and so on. So how do we fix that? Beat them up and torture them, stoop to their level!


  8. Augusto

    Brazillians, please, die in silence. Don’t cause trouble. You see – one reporter says “it’s understandable” and now we are all back in the middle age. She is nazi, and if you agree with her you are a nazi as well. So, be quite. Die in silence.

  9. Augusto

    So, tell me, what should we’ve to do to deal with all that violence? People are being killed, robbed, women have been raped and on and on. What, for god sake, should we do? Waiting two hours until the police come? Go to a police department and stay there longer than the criminal, if he’d been caught? Here in brazil, just 8% of the homicides have a solution. 8%. So, what we have to do? Pray to god? Wait and be sure that the criminal goes to hell. We are all sick of this. Sick of all politicians, corruptions, and no lights at the end of the tunnel. We are hopeless. Of course that no one wants that. No one wants to praise for that. This is the government job – with all the taxes. But things are getting worst. This situation has a huge chance to get worst.

  10. Flávia Massara

    I refuse myself to finish to read this shit! it’s a huge waste of time!
    Pleeeease…. No one is instigating violence of any kind!
    Try to understand the context before write all this unecessary bullshit!

  11. Sorry for that asshole attitude.
    I feel ashamed to be of the same nationality this woman.

    Sorry for bad english, google translator.

  12. Flavio Cordeiro

    Here in Brazil we have the most violent and corrupted police in the world. We are helpless. Our politicians only want to being rich.
    People of middle class are stupids and believe that violence is the answer.
    Feeling Screwed!

  13. Dragon

    Engraçado… “The widely spread adage “a good thief is a dead thief” is racist and elitist” => Sabe, quem escreveu esse texto não mora aqui no Rio de Janeiro, está tentando desqualificar a opinião da maioria da sociedade, não está cansado da impunidade e nem falta de segurança pública. A investigação policial já comprovou que quem “travou” o meliante não é racista, qualquer que fosse o ladrão, naquela hora teria sido travado. A sociedade na sua maioria está contando os dias pra redução dessa maligna maioridade penal do art. 228 da CF que considera menor um cara com 17 anos, 11 meses e 29 dias (que tem a plena capacidade de entender a ilicitude do seu comportamento). Ele pode praticar 10 homicídios nesse dia que será “liberado compulsoriamente aos 21 anos de idade”, conforme dispõe o art. 121 do Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente… Quem tem pena de bandido, faz um favor a sociedade: Adota um!

  14. dri

    dont come to world cup pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee!

  15. Renan

    Brazil doesnt have justice. The people under 18 can kill and nothing happens to them, even if they burn someone alive, the most powerful penalty in brazilian judiciary system is interning him at a institution until achieve 18 years old. The brazilian society lives with more than 50.000 murders each year, a big part of them did by under 18 year people. People in Brazil that kill someone, after a few years are in streets again to kill others, this happens every single day. The brazilian society cant live at this violence and continue to being peaceful. Only criminals can have weapons, if you are a good citizen you cannot have a weapon to protect yourself neither your family, this because a fraudulent law passed in 2005 at the apex of the schema known as Mensalão. Brazil lives under WAR, and this corrupt government want that only the criminal side have weapons. It’s under this context that people do what they do. Brazillian society must react against crime!

  16. Ulixis

    A so innocent 16 teenager that was never involved in crimes of mutilating and burning children alive. Come on come to this country and leave your children with his careful company to sight seeing Rio ! The most peaceful City in the world like São Paulo.

  17. Ulixis

    A so innocent 16 teenager that was never involved in crimes of mutilating and burning children alive. Come on come to this country and leave your children with his careful company to sight seeing Rio ! The most peaceful City in the world like São Paulo.

  18. Brian

    Are you seriously defending a thief? Poor guys, they have no choice in life other than stealing, muderding, raping. Such innocent angels.

    OH MY…

  20. Aires Becker

    Please correct that he has been tied with a bike lock not to a bike frame.

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