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When a country is named after a tree, you know that it will provide shelter for everyone

15 8 3
09.12.2020

A friend once told me that I will never be a stranger in Brazil, because there are people from everywhere living there. Walk along any Brazilian street, and you will find citizens of Japanese descent and European descent. You can eat in an Arabic restaurant, and see a veiled Muslim woman hand in hand with a Christian woman. A Brazilian watchman protects the mosque and helps the Muslims after every prayer. The acceptance of difference and respect for all, regardless of race or creed, are fundamental Brazilian values which have enabled immigrants to blend into society with relative ease.

Imagine the surprise, therefore, to see questions on social media recently asking if Brazil is a racist country. This followed media coverage of the death of a black man at the hands of Carrefour supermarket security guards in Porto Alegre, southern Brazil, on 19 November. The incident has drawn comparisons to the death of George Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis earlier this year. Both of the security guards involved have been detained by police. I believe that this was a one-off incident, and not the result of a racist culture. Xenophobia does not exist here in Brazil, where differences of faith, sexuality and race are respected.

I live in Florianopolis, one of the most prominent tourist destinations in Latin America. The city Mayor is Gean Loureiro, who has made it clear that, "Racism is unacceptable. It must end, there is no space for racism anywhere in the world. That incident was terrible, but our citizens reacted immediately against that kind of behaviour". Under Brazilian law, racism is a serious offence, with severe penalties. A person found guilty of this crime can spend up to five years in prison.

Mayor Gean Loureiro speaks at the Islamic Centre of Florianopolis during the Brazilian elections in November........

© Middle East Monitor


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