A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘brazil

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO looks at deserted Mirvish Village.
  • Crooked Timber reenages with the Rachel Carson and DDT myth.
  • The Crux looks at the Mandela Effect, exploring false memories.
  • Dangerous Minds makes the case for the musical genius of Bobbie Gentry.
  • From the Heart of Europe’s Nicholas Whyte recounts his visit to Albania’s bunker museum.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Brazil’s retirement of its only aircraft carrier.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the extent and speed of events in the Trump Administration.
  • Marginal Revolution engages with a book examining France’s carving out a “cultural exception” in international trade agreements.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reports on the passing of rulership of the Australian micronation of Hutt River.
  • Peter Rukavina shares good advice for visiting museums: visit only what you can take in.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian Orthodox Church opposition to a certain kind of Russian civic nationality, and argues Russia is losing even its regional superpower status.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell reports on how local councils in the United Kingdom are speculating on commercial property.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly considers the quiet power of the candle.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining horseshoe patterns in protoplanetary disks.
  • The Dragon’s Tales looks at the impact of human civilization on the Amazonian rain forest and looks at the negative impact of a 6th century volcanic eruption on the Maya.
  • Language Log notes that “dumpster fire” is the American Dialect Society’s word of the year for 2016.
  • Towleroad notes Kiesza’s new single.
  • Transit Toronto notes service changes for the TTC.
  • Understanding Society looks at the Black Panther movement.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell examines the irresistible force of negative campaigning.

[LINK] CBC on the Haitians stranded in Tijuana

CBC News’ Kim Brunhuber tells a heartbreaking story of Haitian migrants stranded on the US-Mexican frontier.

Every day, more Haitians arrive, famished. They’ve been on the road for three months to get here.

“We crossed Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala to come here,” says 26-year-old Joubert Alizaire.

He’s among the close to 50,000 Haitians who migrated to Brazil after the 2010 earthquake devastated parts of their country. Most of them went to work on Olympic construction. When the Olympics ended, so did the work. But the U.S. offered them a lifeline of sorts, announcing that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement would stop deporting Haitians who were in the country illegally.

That’s what prompted many Haitians like Jean-Ludger Sainnoval to begin a tortuous cross-continental journey. He says he walked much of the way, over mountains, through rivers and jungle.

“You never forget a journey like that,” Sainnoval says. “We had nothing to eat, no water, nothing to drink. We have friends that left Brazil but didn’t make it here. Some because it was too hard. Some because they died.”

Close to 5,000 Haitians managed to make it all the way to Tijuana, at the Mexico-U.S. border. But then in September the U.S. reversed the policy and said it would resume “removing” Haitian nationals, claiming that conditions in Haiti had improved. Those who feared persecution back home could apply for asylum.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 14, 2016 at 10:59 pm

[BLOG] Some Friday links

  • Apostrophen’s ‘Nathan Smith has a two part review of some of the fiction that he has recently read.
  • blogTO looks at Casa Loma lit up for the holidays.
  • Dangerous Minds notes The London Nobody Knows, a documentary of the grim areas of late Victorian London.
  • Language Hat looks at how 16th century Spanish linguists represented Nahuatl spelling.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the iatrogenic transmission of syphilis via unsterile instruments during the Civil War.
  • The LRB Blog notes the many conflicting contracts signed by the KGB with different television groups at the end of the Cold War.
  • Marginal Revolution notes Rio de Janeiro’s attempts to deal with tourism-targeted crime by compensating victims with a tourist-directed tax.
  • Maximos62 looks at the geological reasons for Indonesia’s volcanism.
  • Progressive Download looks at the all-woman Homeward Bound expedition to Antarctica.
  • Peter Rukavina looks at the backstory behind the creation of the village of Crapaud.
  • Spacing Toronto looks at how signs asking people to go slow in children-inhabited zones.
  • Torontoist looks at where Suicide Squad was filmed in Toronto.
  • The Understanding Society Blog looks at the specific experiences which molded the French tradition of sociology.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO looks at Toronto’s old neon signs and its still-visible ghost signs.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly looks at Donald Trump as a bully.
  • Dangerous Minds shares vintage photos from the set of Labyrinth.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a not-unexpected non-detection of Proxima Centauri b.
  • The Everyday Sociology Blog looks at the presidential debates through the perspective of Pierre Bourdieu.
  • Joe. My. God. notes Glenn Beck’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
  • Language Log looks at how foreigners pronounce “ni hao”.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that Donald Trump has been using material from Russian disinformation campaigns directly.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer reports on very odd fiscal legislation in Brazil that seems unlikely to end in controlling spending.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on the marginalized Ainu of Kamchatka and suggests Sufism in central Asia is doomed.

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Bloomberg talks about Poland’s problems with economic growth, notes that McMansions are poor investments, considers what to do about the Olympics post-Rio, looks at new Japanese tax incentives for working women, looks at a French war museum that put its stock up for sale, examines the power of the New Zealand dairy, looks at the Yasukuni controversies, and notes Huawei’s progress in China.
  • Bloomberg View is hopeful for Brazil, argues demographics are dooming Abenomics, suggests ways for the US to pit Russia versus Iran, looks at Chinese fisheries and the survival of the ocean, notes that high American population growth makes the post-2008 economic recovery relatively less notable, looks at Emperor Akihito’s opposition to Japanese remilitarization, and argues that Europe’s soft response to terrorism is not a weakness.
  • CBC notes that Russian doping whistleblowers fear for their lives, looks at how New Brunswick farmers are adapting to climate change, and looks at how Neanderthals’ lack of facility with tools may have doomed them.
  • The Globe and Mail argues Ontario should imitate Michigan instead of Québec, notes the new Anne of Green Gables series on Netflix, and predicts good things for Tim Horton’s in the Philippines.
  • The Guardian notes that Canada’s impending deal with the European Union is not any model for the United Kingdom.
  • The Inter Press Service looks at child executions in Iran.
  • MacLean’s notes that Great Lakes mayors have joined to challenge a diversion of water from their shared basin.
  • National Geographic looks at the elephant ivory trade, considers the abstract intelligence of birds, considers the Mayan calendar’s complexities, and looks at how the young generation treats Pluto’s dwarf planet status.
  • The National Post notes that VIA Rail is interested in offering a low-cost bus route along the Highway of Tears in northern British Columbia.
  • Open Democracy notes that the last Russian prisoner in Guantanamo does not want to go home, and wonders why the West ignores the Rwandan dictatorship.
  • TVO considers how rural communities can attract immigrants.
  • Universe Today suggests sending our digital selves to the stars, looks at how cirrus clouds kept early Mars warm and wet, and notes the discovery of an early-forming direct-collapse black hole.
  • Variance Explained looks at how Donald Trump’s tweets clearly show two authors at work.
  • The Washignton Post considers what happens when a gay bar becomes a bar with more general appeal.
  • Wired notes that the World Wide Web still is far from achieving its founders’ dreams, looks at how news apps are dying off, and reports on the Univision purchase of Gawker.

[URBAN NOTE] “Rio, city of epithets: Olympic urbanism in context”

Bruno Carvalho’s Open Democracy essay looks at the impact of the Olympics on Brazilian urbanism as manifested in Rio de Janeiro.

In the mid-1990s, amid a crisis of rampant violence in Rio de Janeiro, an influential Brazilian journalist, Zuenir Ventura, published a book with the title Cidade Partida. The expression could be translated as broken or split city, as if Rio had an integrity that contemporary violence shattered. A more apt translation is an increasingly prevalent phrase used to describe urban conditions in the United States: divided city. Given the striking contrasts between Rio de Janeiro’s upper-class buildings and hillside favelas, it is not surprising that the epithet found broad resonance.

Cidade Partida challenged what was until then Rio’s most recurrent moniker, Cidade Maravilhosa—marvelous or wonderful city. Those familiar with its landscape will find explanations to be superfluous. In the 1930s, when a song about Rio titled “Marvelous City” hit the airwaves, in the 1960s when it became the city’s official anthem, and today, when crowds sing it in unison during carnival, images of Rio’s cultural and natural exuberance come to mind. But the origins of the expression betray another history. “Marvelous City” became popularized in the context of an ambitious, Paris-inspired set of urban reforms early in the twentieth century.

The phrase designated a city becoming modern, whiter, and at long last, as we read often in the press from the period, “civilized.” In this scenario, a more divided city was in fact the goal, with the poor—disproportionately non-white—pushed to the outskirts or incipient favelas, as far as possible from central areas and from view. Led by then-mayor Francisco Pereira Passos, the reforms resulted in the eviction of one-tenth of the city center’s residents. To be sure, part of the goal of the reforms was to remedy a reputation Rio had earned as a “city of death” or “foreigner’s grave,” due to the prevalence of diseases like yellow fever. The Zika virus, in this regard, produces an unmistakable echo of the past. But the notion of the marvelous city of the belle époque as the privilege of a few remained clear to many. The manifesto of a labor group in 1929 mocks the use of the epithet by “literary fops,” drawing attention instead to the dire living conditions of the working classes.

Rio once had the largest urban slave population in the Americas, and the presence of their descendants in major public spaces presented an embarrassment to governing elites. In the belle époque, World’s Fairs and Expos proliferated, and major cities served as arenas where empires and nation states could compete. Not coincidentally, the modern Olympics began in 1896 in Athens, amid this era of proliferating precursors to today’s mega-events. Rio de Janeiro at the start of the twentieth century was the third major port of the Americas, behind New York and Buenos Aires, and the capital of a newfound republic, proclaimed in 1889. The city’s compact colonial fabric, marked by varied and jumbled street life, did not befit national ambitions. The Pereira Passos interventions sought to give an urban form to the positivist ideals of “order and progress,” enshrined in the Brazilian flag. In practice, Rio de Janeiro was to be considered marvelous when undesirables were not around. A divided city was, in fact, a desired outcome of the reforms.

But as students of the past quickly learn, in the history of city planning, the improbable happens often, and the unintended happens all the time. Some spaces envisioned as exclusivist playgrounds for the elites have since become appropriated as sites of democratic congregation and social mixture. In belle époque Rio there were attempts to prohibit those not dressed “decently” from circulating in central areas. Now, these same spaces are periodically occupied by carnival revelers, political protesters or social movements. The dream of a city with central spaces reserved to the rich only partially succeeded. The aspiration of a tropical civilization in the Parisian mold waned, as more relaxed dress codes attest. In later decades, led by Rio, Brazil instead projected a far more original—even if evidently distorted—image as “the country of carnival,” or of “racial democracy.”

In the 1990s, Ventura wrote his Divided City in the aftermath of a massacre, when off-duty policemen killed twenty one people in one of Rio’s poorer peripheral neighborhoods. He spent months in this community to write a book that was bold for exposing Rio’s divisions, or the inner workings of drug traffickers and corrupt police forces, but also for an insistence on valuing the city’s imperiled traditions of circulation and cultural exchanges. Since then, far-reaching infrastructure investments have favored favelas, and in Brazil, major redistributionist policies were implemented without stirring the sort of ethnic animus that we find elsewhere (though there are many discouraging signs). After emerging from a long military dictatorship (1964–85), Brazil appeared to be in an ascendant trajectory, even as its former capital and most visible city lagged behind.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 15, 2016 at 8:39 pm