Rio +20 is over but it turned out that the planet will not be saved yet. Unfortunately, but are we surprised?
Of course we had the chance to accompany the event closely, as we’re now in Rio. But to be honest, we lost our apetite due to a couple of incidents regarding the whole event, and decided to boycot it (woooh!).
It all started when Eddu, our partner but also part of local NGO Grupo Pensar, was going to participate with that instituation in the Rio +20 event here in Complexo do Alemão. The event was meant to demonstrate the community to government officials and foreign delegations, and of course to show the good work the government has done in recent years in terms of infrastructural investments (the cable car) and security (the UPP police and the pacification project). Social activists, artists and local institutions were invited to take part in the event and to show their work to the visitors, who would enter the favela in the cable car without needing to walk much into the alleys as the event would occur at the cable car station itself (cable car station ‘Palmeiras/Kibon’, to be exactly, named after the icecream company, just like other stations named after other companies operating in the community). When Eddu found out that Rio+20 had a budget of about 150.000 Reais to spend for that particular event, but announced that they could not pay the local institutions for taking part (or local artists who would exhibit their work or perform for the audience), he decided to opt out of the who event. And really, as part of an event promoting sustainability, whether environmental, social or economical, spending so much money without local people benefitting in any way is inexusable. In fact, it reflects and reinforces a system that produces inequility rather than discussing it in a critical way, which would be the objective of the entire event. But it got worse. For some reason, the delegations couldn’t make it to visit the event in Complexo do Alemão. Meaning that 150.000 reais and the time and effort of hundreds of volenteers were spent on this puppet-show, but without any audience.
Instituto Raizes em Movimento, a local collective of artists and activists decided to organize an alternative event called Rio -20, a critical wink to the +20, and discussing 20 social issues (security, access to education and healthcare, respect, freedom of speech, etc.) of which the quality has decreased over the past 20 years. The pig in image above, painted by David Amen of Raizes, says: “Even I don’t like so much gargabe”, referring to the poor garbage collection system in the community. The event was a success, but still too many community residents where up the hill complaining about Rio +20–about the bad organization, about the lack of compensation, and about the absent delegation–but participating! Just imagine what would have happened if the locals had joined hands and boycotted the event collectively. It would defenitely have led to a sudden appearance of money from Rio+20 to pay the local institutions, as such an event get a lot of attention by the media and therefore cannot fail. Bit as long as you don’t seriously demand it, they pretend they don’t have it. That’s unfortunately how it works.
So that is what the boycot was about, but it was a weekend of successful CineMoto interventions at spots where the local kids participated and enjoyed it a lot! Also, spots where most of the kids would not have the slightest idea of what Rio +20 is, let alone be aware of the event taking place in their community at that moment. So, on Saturday we were in Alvorada and Sunday we did a collaborative videoprojection with the Onibus Hacker from São Paulo that was here, to strenghten the Rio -20 side. So it was a great weekend, with hopefully much more collaborations to come!