Brazil's dance with the devil - by Dave Zirin
Posted on January 10th, 2015
Dave Zirin’s book brings his journalistic view around the impacts of hosting the World Cup and the Olympics in Brazil. Dave starts by describing a bit of the reality he found in Brazil during his investigative trip. He moves on to describe some of Brazil's history from the Portuguese colonization to the US imposed dictatorship. With this basis, he goes on to explain Lula’s administration and how it came to be that Brazil was selected for both the World Cup and the Olympics.
In what looks like a pause, Dave dives into the history of soccer in Brazil and two of its iconic figures: Pelé and Garrincha. This evolution through soccer in Brazil helps him get to the way the mega sport events (World Cup and Olympics) are used as political instruments since 1950s. He moves on to summarize some of his observations of most of those events between 2004 and 2014 and the coming 2022 world cup in Qatar.
Going back to Brazil, Dave shares the stories he discovered in Rio about what both events are causing to the poor portion of the population. He finishes by explaining some of the protests shown in 2013 during the Confederation Cup.
Overall, the book is obviously very politically biased against neoliberalism and presents a dirty aspect frequently unobserved of such mega-events. Although some of Dave arguments are not necessarily very strong, there are lots of very factual data and explanations around how and why we should be worried of many of those events. Reading the book is enlightening even if you disagree with Dave’s political view. It is not a very positive perspective but it is a necessary one. Dave presents Brazil as an ‘example’ of many other countries in which the people are being screwed by large corporations in a neocolonialism based on information control and capital concentration. As with many other things, the whole mechanism exists to enrich the rich and let the poor pay with sweat and, many times, blood.
I strongly recommend reading. The book is medium size (210 pages) but can easily be read in a week as the text flows fairly well and the information is interesting. Although there are parts that are focused on soccer, there is really no need to have any passion for the sport to make good use of the information in the book. This is a book about politics and history portrayed behind a ‘soccer’ disguise - quite ironic as it describes a neoliberal tank disguised as ‘sport’ events.