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dreaming in technocolor…

April 22, 2014

Here is a juxtaposition, that if you think about it too deeply, your head will explode.

On the eastern edge of the Great Amazon Rainforest – that most important bio-diverse eco-system in the world – the largest Garden of Eden remaining on the planet – there exists that human nightmare urban cancer (from the Rainforest’s point of view) known as Rio de Janeiro.

It cuts into all the valleys and hillsides, spreading westward into the forest, destroying everything in its path.

In that city exists all that is beautiful, and ugly in the modern urban experience. The beauty. The Poverty. The Church. The Prostitutes. The peace of the forest. The violence of the favilla.

A city born of colonialism and European exploitation, it now rips into the rainforest, covering every hill and valley – not a tree on the streets. From above, it is like you are looking at microscopic cancer cells, attacking the healthy lungs around them.

Urbanization and neo-colonialism slam up against the Amazon Rainforest with such force that the forest is collapsing at the rate of 30 acres a minute. Every 7 hours, day after day, week after week, an area the size of my mother’s farm is cleared. 40,000 acres a day. It is defenceless.

But this is not even what I want to talk about.

The World Cup and the Olympics are coming to Rio – and the powers that be want to spiff the place up a bit. Get rid of the poor people, put on a fresh coat of paint, that sort of thing.

Recently, the CBC’s The Passionate Eye had a look at what is happening in Rio as it prepares to host the world. Have a look at what it will cost in order that we can sit in a bar with our chums and watch grown men chase a ball around the field, or see who can throw things the farthest, jump the highest, or swim the fastest.

I doubt that most of us will care any more what happens to the poor of Rio than we did the poor of Sochi – or that most of the Sochi Olympic Village has already been abandoned, as our eyes have moved on to the Ukraine, hockey playoffs, and the new baseball season…

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