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The Bullet Holes in our Homes Are Making Us Bleed

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For the original article by Cleber Araújo in Portuguese published by Agência de Notícias das Favelas click here.

Criminalizing favela residents is much easier to do than to tarnish the image of a hero who, in reality, is the real villain. I always questioned the means by which arms and ammunition reaches Complexo do Alemão and so many other favelas. Neither of the two are manufactured here.

The “boys” don’t speak other languages to negotiate with large-scale international importers. They don’t have customs contacts let alone airport contacts. They don’t even leave the hill. How could a barefoot kid, without any study and full of dreams in his head carry an AK-47, a G-3, an M16, an FAL, an AR-15, a .30 or .50… how? Those weapons come from faraway countries. They are all very expensive, yet they arrive here just as bananas arrive at the farmer’s market. So then, how can all these weapons reach the favelas of Rio?

They are transported by corrupt, bloodthirsty people who destroy the dreams of humans. Those who bypass borders have diplomatic contacts, red passports, political friends and infiltration into the bourgeoisie high society, profit from the blood of the innocent who don’t have the right to a defense. They are monsters.

Public officials know, the police know, the great moguls know, those who drive the rules of the game know, and those who don’t need to know wash their hands clean. But the weapons arrive and are killing us in an extermination with the endorsement of the one who is always pointing the dirty finger at us. They are the same people who, on social media, condemn favela residents with racist and discriminatory comments. These “do-gooders” agree with that rhetoric and agree with the lords of the real-life weapons.

With the arrival of powerful weapons, unimaginable damage is done. They tear apart weak bodies, (already) punished by hunger and lack of opportunity. These same weapons are handled countless times by young people who never went through any training. The weapons that come here make holes in our homes and bleed us in a real way, killing many, harvesting young lives, bringing us incurable diseases of the soul and psychosomatic effects. The blast that echoes in every shot of a heavy caliber firearm is a hail of heavy impact on each of us. On their course, the projectiles cause visible damage in our daily lives. Each day, these effects are more destructive.

The bodies of several residents who served as target practice for these weapons over time bleed. Their marks are still here, they make us cry, they cause us pain. The feeling of impotence at hearing the cries of a mother or the desperation of a child is something that only those who pass through all this fear know. We are tired. It is unacceptable to allow the status quo to remain. I demand that the authorities take the necessary measures and prevent arms from entering the favelas.

For the rest, let them think long and hard before blaming residents for so many misfortunes caused by those who are far away from the hill. We just want to be able to walk happily and calmly through the favela where we were born.  And without weapons.