From lesbians to pot smokers?
Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (a key U.S. organization that promotes drug policy based on science, compassion, health and human rights), has a suggestion for those who’d like to see reform in this area in Brazil.
Para As drogas matam por um caminho tortuoso, porém cada vez mais conhecido, clique aqui
Participating Wednesday at the Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), in the Discussion on Global Drug Policy Reform and Implications for Latin America, organized by the Open Society, he brought up the country’s popular prime-time soap operas.
“Twenty years ago in the United States, we started out by talking about medical marijuana. At the time, many TV programs talked about it, either for laughs or in all seriousness. Here, why not create a white character, a grandma who has cancer, is doing chemotherapy and is in a lot of pain. She needs marijuana but can’t get it. The soap shows her battle and ends up with scenes of her smoking marijuana, pain-free.”
Did someone brief him on the current nine p.m. Globo novela, “Babilônia”, with the elderly lesbian couple played by veteran actors Fernanda Montenegro and Nathalia Timberg — the two of them perfect for the role he imagines?
In the U.S., marijuana legalization in some states began with voters considering the issue of medical usage. Of course, the same issue exists in Brazil.
Here however, on a daily basis, we feel the pain of wider tragedy, the result of our long and violent war on drugs. As Julita Lemgruber, coordinator of the Centro de Estudos de Segurança e Cidadania (Center for Security and Citizenship Studies, CESeC) explained during the event at MAR, the Brazilian police kill six people a day, and most of these deaths are drug-related. Turning to humor to get at the heart of the issue, CESeC has just launched a pioneering campaign, Da proibição nasce o tráfico (“The drug traffic is born of prohibition”).
This blogger was hard put to hold back sobs on April 9, during the dialogue on the Complexo do Alemão favelas, among residents, police, academics and others. Inside Alemão, up to the April 2 death of the child Eduardo, bullets flew and residents took cover as best they could. Many stayed home, unable to work, study, have fun, run businesses and do daily errands. Police officers also died, assigned to work in unacceptable circumstances. During a single week at the start of this month, four people died in Alemão — and the year 2015, up to Eduardo’s death, was one of shooting every day.
On June 27 2007, 19 people died there, in a massacre during a military-police operation.
And all of this, as I wrote in this post, doesn’t happen because of religion, a border or ideology — the reasons for so many wars. It’s because of drugs, whose effects on the overall population can be less harmful than the actual war against drugs. Wednesday’s Discussion featured the positive experiences of other countries with drug decriminalization and attention to the roots of addiction, as well as a great deal of other surprising information. To learn more about the debate, in Portuguese, read this and this.
So now, to get a sense of the freedom that a favela resident seeks amid the violence, watch this video of the song Pipas Avoadas (Flying Kites) by Complexo do Alemão resident Eddu Grau.
(Here are the words:
Freedom is sometimes a paper boat and a kite in the sky, dancing pancadão funk. Many see the kite as their own freedom, themselves in the sky, being above the city. Paper birds in the sky. The kite is no longer paper and wood, it’s like we are all in the sky. Feeling the wind up there, freedom, movement. No more race or gangs no more cops or robbers, up there everyone is equal and the limits are yours to set. Every rain boat that sails down the alley has in it the seeds and the dreams of people that time helps to grow. That we want to see grow.)