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Soccer Sports

Heartbreak for Canada as Christine Sinclair plays one last time in Montreal

Canada’s women’s soccer team lost 1-0 to Brazil on Oct. 28 at Saputo Stadium in Montreal.

After Canada was eliminated in the group stage during a disappointing World Cup performance this summer, the women’s national soccer team turns to the 2024 Olympic Games. With qualification secured after two convincing wins against Jamaica in September, the road to redemption continued on Oct. 28 at Saputo Stadium in Montreal for the first of two friendly matches in four days against Brazil.

Record-breaking crowd, disappointing performance

A sold-out crowd of 19,619 people gathered at Saputo Stadium for the game. This attendance figure is a national team record for a friendly match in Quebec, men and women combined. It once again proves the enthusiasm for women’s soccer in Canada. Three years ago, 4.4 million people watched the Olympic triumph in Tokyo and women’s national team matches regularly sell out everywhere in the country.

The crowd gives a standing ovation to Christine Sinclair as she comes on in the 68th minute.
Photo: Félix-Antoine Beauchemin.

It was always bound to be a close affair between the two teams, with Canada ranked 10th in the world and Brazil only one place higher. The local favourites came out strong and dominated the initial minutes. However, as the game progressed, Brazil gradually took control of the match and looked to be a far more dominant team. For example, Canada’s first shot of the second half only came in the 92nd minute. 

Despite this, they looked to be able to hold for a 0-0 draw, notably due to multiple great saves from Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who was undoubtedly the team’s best player on Saturday. But Brazil’s domination paid off. In the last minute of the game, Débora ‘Debinha’ Cristiane de Oliveira’s shot ricocheted off two Canadian defenders, giving Sheridan no chance to react in time. The ball bounced over the line, much to the delight of the thousands of Brazil fans also present at the game.

Brazilian legend Marta takes a free-kick.
Photo: Félix-Antoine Beauchemin

Nevertheless, Canada got back on track only three days later, beating Brazil 2-0 in front of another sold-out crowd in Halifax on Halloween night, with goals from Jordyn Huitema and Deanne Rose.

A farewell to the greatest international goalscorer of all time 

On Oct. 20, Christine Sinclair announced that she would retire from the national team at the end of the year. Now aged 40, she played her first game for Canada in 2000. Since then, Sinclair has played 329 games and scored 190 goals, a record for international goals for both men and women. For most of the fans at the game, it was their last chance to see Canada’s legendary number 12 in action. As such, they gave her a standing ovation, lasting over 30 seconds when she entered the game in the 68th minute.

Sinclair’s illustrious career also contains many collective achievements. At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she scored six goals in six games on her way to the bronze medal. She helped the team repeat the feat in Rio in 2016 with another bronze medal. However, the crowning glory of her career came at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, when she captained team Canada to a gold medal.

Categories
Music

How Brazilian funk groove in the Montreal party scene

Even more powerful than the language of the songs is the catchy beat that crosses borders.

In the heart of Montreal’s vibrant and diverse nightlife scene, a new rhythm is electrifying the city’s dance floors: the Brazilian funk. The genre that has been synonymous with the lively streets of Rio de Janeiro, is fast becoming the latest sensation in Montreal’s buzzing nightlife. From the shores of the favelas to the lively atmosphere of the city, the infectious beats of this genre have found a new home in this Canadian metropolis showing that Brazil has progressed far beyond samba or bossa nova.

Scottie Tippin is a resident DJ at Le Mal Nécessaire, a bar on St. Laurent. “The resurgence of disco and funk in 2023 in Montreal is massive,” he said. “I have a ton of funk as an influence because it is a genre good for everyone. It’s in no way polarizing for an audience.” 

The artist said that once you start playing anything funky, the requests come in spades. “I’m fully invested in funk following the steps of amazing DJs like Shogo, Walla P, and Akpossoul,” Tippin added that Brazilian samples inspired by Bossa Nova are also part of his inspiration. 

Renowned artists who incorporated funk references into their songs gave space for new artists to enter the music scene. Madonna, for example, joined Brazilian artist Anitta on “Faz Gostoso,” a song that not only invested in the funk beat but also sang sections in Portuguese. Anitta, in turn, not only took advantage of this chance but also worked alongside other artists such as Maluma, J Balvin, Cardi B, Major Lazer, Saweetie and Becky G, among others, in order to promote the genre through other languages, such as English and Spanish. The singer is currently the winner of two VMAs for Best Latin Video and was nominated for a 2023 Grammy as Best New Artist. Funk has room to grow.

In Montreal, Rabaterapia is a strong funk reference. The project started last year with the mission of bringing people together through the power of dance, specifically Brazilian funk and pop music. “Montrealers have shown interest in our classes, predominantly fueled by their intrigue for Brazilian funk,” CEO of Rabaterapia Priscilla Sanchez said. “We believe that this genre has a universal appeal that helps people to transcend borders.” 

According to her, introducing funk to Montreal has allowed Rabaterapia to add another layer to the eclectic art scene, offering Montreal an opportunity to dive into a dance form that is both exciting and deeply rooted in cultural significance. “We feel very proud of introducing a piece of Brazilian culture here. Every beat and move of funk is an expression of our spirit,” Sanchez added. “Our project aims to serve as a cultural bridge introducing them to the dynamism and vibrancy of funk while fostering a sense of community and shared experience.”

Swept under the rug: disappearing Indigenous languages

Brazil’s native identity threatened amid COVID-19

Around 7,000 languages are spoken worldwide today, yet over 40 per cent of them are at risk of disappearing before the end of this century. On average, one Indigenous language dies every two weeks, and this rate has only accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brazil is one of the most vulnerable countries currently seeing its native languages disappear, despite being a very diverse nation. The largest and most populated country in South America is home to 305 Indigenous ethnic groups, with almost every tribe having its own language. The number, however, was much higher before the 16th century: thousands of Indigenous languages have disappeared in Brazil since it was colonized by Portugal during that period.

Elderly natives are almost always the last representatives of their tribe’s language, since languages disappear when the younger generation no longer uses, or even understands, them.

First, the language dies when it loses its last native speaker. Then, it becomes extinct when it is no longer understood even by second-language speakers.

Such occurrences are far from uncommon, as elders and parents face challenges when passing their language to the next generation. As a result of European colonialism, Indigenous languages were unable to solidify their position not only in Brazil, but also in most of sub-Saharan and West Africa, as well as North America.

English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese became the lingua francas of the former colonies. Different ethnic groups would use European languages to communicate with one another. Moreover, when young Indigenous people look for opportunities in their own country, mastering a European language is a necessity, while their mother tongue’s use in the professional world is virtually non-existent.

However, the Guaraní people in Brazil managed to resist assimilation and keep its language alive. There are over 50,000 Guaraní people in the country, and their language is even taught in the community’s public elementary schools.

Other Indigenous languages in Brazil, though, have an unfortunate fate. Puruborá, Omagua, and Tariana are already considered critically endangered, with only 100, 10, and two native speakers left on the planet, respectively.

In 2020, the biggest challenge for endangered Indigenous languages is the pandemic, as elders are the age group most vulnerable to contracting the coronavirus. With over 175,000 pandemic-related deaths in Brazil, the situation is alarming for Indigenous groups. Not only their language, but also their history, values, traditions, and entire cultures are at risk of being permanently erased.

 

Graphic by @the.beta.lab

Categories
Opinions

The imminent immigration fear

My husband and I watched “Living Undocumented,” a show on Netflix about illegal immigration in the United States, for the same reason we like watching people trying to crawl out of debt: some sort of warped guilty pleasure we share.

We wanted to feel good about our mediocre existence and compare ourselves to people who had a long journey ahead of them. It wasn’t a sick act – we weren’t mocking, but rather seeing how far we’d come; from the headache of filling out dozens of applications, ordering official documents and multiple interviews, to waiting anxiously for the results  we couldn’t be sure about. If we weren’t accepted, it would upend our lives.

My husband’s Canadian citizenship ceremony was happening the next day, after nine years of our own hike across the land of bureaucracy. We both have a Brazilian background; I moved to Canada with my family at three years of age, and he arrived as an exchange student when he was 18 years old. It finally felt okay to be excited, and we decided to be reckless and get a taste of what the very first steps felt like.

We watched the first episode, then another, until it was 1:30 a.m. We wouldn’t go to sleep until we finished at least one more. What we expected to give us peace, made us doubt if my partner’s ceremony would happen at all.

I expected it to be bad, but my ignorance as to what constituted bad was quite juvenile.

It was as if I had been irresponsible in thinking everything would go smoothly. Without giving blatant spoilers, I learned about the unfairness of the US Border Patrol. For example, I didn’t know they could negotiate peaceful terms involving an undocumented family meeting another family member one more time before they get deported without being deported themselves, only to take it back , and put the visiting family members into indefinite imprisonment at the detention camps. Another thing that shocked me was that US border Patrol could physically assault lawyers representing undocumented immigrants without any immediate repercussions.

It was not just the difficult decisions they had to make — it was the spirit they felt from their community; the constant struggle between wanting acceptance but never being able to reveal yourself.

All this doesn’t compare to how surprised I was to see that under the Trump administration’s Zero Policy, every single undocumented immigrant is treated the same, and can be deported at any time. That means undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes in the country are treated the same as one that is law-abiding and a constructive member of their community through their work and family. The policy forbids any official who oversees the undocumented immigrants to exercise discretion or determine what consequences are appropriate based on the immigrants merits, sometimes allowing for leniency, such as allowing them to stay in the country, or even have a driver’s license, if the individual has contributed constructively to their community and has no police record. Instead, all officials have to apply a predetermined punishment, in this case deportation or detention at an internment camp.

This means undocumented immigrants who have willingly checked into Border Patrol agencies throughout the years, paid taxes, are raising their families with their kids going to local schools, and have never committed a crime, could be deported at any moment.

The friendly relationship between the agency and the people wanting to live a better life had come to a terrible end: mothers and fathers having to say goodbye to their children, decade-old careers abruptly ceased.

I couldn’t help but wonder, what if we weren’t safe from this? What if all it takes is one government worker interpreting the law in their own way, destroying everything we worked for?

These nine years of our own process to citizenship were challenging, not because we were undocumented, but because it escalated to a lengthy trial where my partner had to win in order to apply for citizenship. On the day of the verdict, the judge said how impressed he was with my husband because he had represented himself in court, and won. This was an incredible victory; we were overjoyed and relieved. But it also became an event warranting suspicion; the trial proceedings and outcome had to constantly be reviewed throughout the application process.

While I am not at liberty to divulge all the details surrounding the case, it ultimately meant we had one more hurdle to overcome. Before the ceremony, all applicants have to go through a final verification process, meaning everything that occurred during the process had to be reviewed one final time. We were worried: could the person behind the desk use this as a reason to postpone us from crossing the finish line? On the day of the ceremony, neither of us spoke about it. I prayed for the best, and started thinking about a calculated reaction to the worst.

As the day progressed from the initial anxiety to the reassurance of the judge’s welcome, to sitting and witnessing my life partner swear the oath as a citizen of Canada, I realized I never had anything to worry about. There was a pride and unity that filled the room, a rhetoric that went beyond integration — there was open praise for our different backgrounds, and that as people we would add our culture to the fabric of Canada’s history.

Our victory felt bittersweet knowing how hard it is for others to work for years, only to have it taken away. We had finally made it, and I can only feel an abundance of gratefulness: for my country, for this nation of people who are accepting, and that we can now officially call ourselves a Canadian family.

 

Graphic by @sundaeghost

Categories
Opinions

What are our priorities?

When the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral burned, I was heartbroken – to see walls filled with history, culture, and years of human nuance being devoured by red flames was a sight to make the eyes burn.

The world was in an uproar, pictures of the beautiful church were everywhere, hashtags on social media were immediately trending. The media talked of nothing else.

Now, over 7,200 square miles of the Amazon have been burning since July. As a  result, 131 Indigenous communities are turning into ash, and  3 million different species of plants and animals are suffering. It took the world three weeks to pay attention. It took the media three weeks to talk about it.

But still, leaders from the G-7 Summit offered up to $20 million US towards aid for the Amazon. And yet, the offer was refused by Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, because of a feud with the French president and summit host, Emmanuel Macron. Bolsonaro insisted that in order for there to be ‘talks,’ Macron should apologize. I would call this disturbed priorities from the leader of a country in a crisis.

My questions are directed towards the journalists. I understand that the Notre-Dame was caught on video and happened in one of the most populated areas in the world. But the Amazon is called the lungs of this planet. Why did it take three weeks?

The rainforest is the world’s biggest terrestrial carbon sinker and is now at risk of becoming dry land. I can’t help but feel that had the world known earlier, we could’ve acted earlier – maybe even prevented this.

“Scientists say the Amazon is approaching a tipping point, after which it will irreversibly degrade into a dry savannah,” journalist Jonathan Watts wrote for the Guardian. “At a time when the world needs billions more trees to absorb carbon and stabilise the climate, the planet is losing its biggest rainforest.”

Carole Pires wrote in the The New Yorker that Bolsonaro said more land in the Amazon should be used for farming, mining, and logging. Much like Trump, Bolsonaro is known for caring little about the environment. His campaign was fueled with racism, discrimination, and the incessant need to commercialize the entire country. His priorities have always been towards the green – just not the right one.

In what was the most environmentally ignorant act I’ve ever heard, Brazil’s president encouraged deforestation. Brought to us by Bolsonaro, Aug. 10 became Fire Day – a day when loggers intentionally set fire to clear the land for agriculture. According to Pires, Brazilian space satellites caught surges of wildfire soon after, and three weeks later a smokey apocalypse filled the skies of Sao Paulo – thousands of miles to the south. However, on Aug. 29, Bolsonaro issued a fire ban – for 60 days.

The problem didn’t start with the fire, and it will not end in 60 days. The problem is the fundamental misplacement of our leaders’ priorities. It’s a deep lack of ethical and moral values. It’s that we are not claiming responsibility, because it is ours. Was it not the majority of us who elected them?

The Amazon burning is a symbol that represents the casualties of greed. Burning rainforests, the loss of indigenous homes, climate change… All of these world problems have one dominant factor: prioritizing businesses and material gain at the expense of our Earth’s well-being.

 

Graphic by Victoria Blair

Categories
News

Leaders and environmental groups react as the Amazon continue to burn

Spanning eight countries and more than 5 million kilometers squared, the Earth’s largest rainforest is still ablaze. Earlier in August, day turned to night as smoke from the fires darkened the Sao Paulo sky.

The record number of fires in the Amazon rainforest are mobilizing environmental groups and spurring debate about the forest’s Indigenous population. According to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, the number of active wildfires in the Amazon rainforest increased by more than 80 per cent since last year.

Sustainable Concordia is concerned about the wildfires and deforestation. Their mission statement advocates sustainability through “acting locally and networking globally.” In a statement to The Concordian, Sustainable Concordia emphasized the economic link between deforestation and the fires.

“The fires (at least in part) are being set on purpose, driven by an exploitative capitalist system that values products and profit over people,” wrote Emily Carson-Apstein, Sustainable Concordia’s External and Campaign Coordinator.

Environmental group Greenpeace Brazil also blame deforestation. Márcio Astrini, Greenpeace Brazil’s Policy Coordinator, denounced in the Mongabay the practice while linking it to the thousands of fire hotspots.

“Deforestation only damages Brazil’s economy, the planet’s climate and endangers wildlife and the lives of thousands of people,” wrote Astrini.

In an interview with The Concordian, Christian Poirier, Program Director of Amazon Watch, said the cattle and mining industries are the most significant contributors to deforestation. Amazon Watch is a California-based nonprofit dedicated to protecting the rainforest and Indigenous rights. According to Yale University’s Global Forest Atlas, 450,000 kilometres squared of deforested land now are used for cattle ranching. He said removing trees for cattle ranching is often achieved by intentionally setting fires but this year’s increase is unusual.

“Fires are an annual phenomenon to clear parcels of land, but this year it’s an on an unprecedented scale,” said Poirier.

Like Sustainable Concordia, Poirier is concerned about economic incentives that encourage deforestation. In a statement, Poirier said that President Jair Bolsonaro encouraged farmers to light fires, with anti-environmental rhetoric.

“Farmers and ranchers understand the president’s message as a license to commit arson … in order to aggressively expand their operations into the rainforest,” wrote Poirier.

The fires attracted international attention at last weekend’s G7 summit. Leaders from around the world offered technical and financial support. According to AFP, the G7 pledged $20 million. Bolsanaro initially refused the aid. He has since agreed to accept foreign assistance as long as Brazil controls the funds.

Following the G7 summit, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed $15 million to fight the wildfires and praised international collaboration. However, Poirier said Canadian-owned mines are part of the problem, referring to Toronto-based and traded Belo Sun Mining Corporation.

Belo Sun operates the Volta Grande Project, a proposed open-pit mine in the Amazon located on a 160,000-hectare property. According to Environmental Justice Atlas – an organization that tracks global environmental conflicts – the project seeks to open Brazil’s largest open-pit gold mine. Mining operations often require massive amounts of deforestation and mineral extraction – two detrimental procedures to the forest’s sustainability.

Last July, Reuters reported on Belo Sun’s numerous legal challenges in Brazillian courts over construction permits. State and Federal Court cases have left the project on hold. On Jul. 12, Belo Sun released a statement lauding a Federal Court of Appeals ruling in Brazil’s capital, Brasília. However, the judgment was described as a “procedural win.”

With legal disputes ongoing, uncertainty surrounds the Volta Grande Project and the Amazon’s future. Despite international outcry, wildfires continue to burn in the world’s largest rainforest. For now, what effect these fires will have on the Amazon and the world-at-large remains unknown.

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News

Calling for modernity in religion

Concordia student writes letter to archbishop who condemns the use of condoms

Concordia student Jorge Briceno, an activist fighting against HIV/AIDS, promotes safe sex as a means to prevent infection. However, Briceno is frustrated with the public condemning of condoms by religious figures, which he sees as a great risk factor to infection.

Recently Briceno, who studies sociology and human relations, was angered by the Catholic Archbishop Hector Aguer of La Plata, Argentina—who publicly condemned the use of condoms. Aguer published his opinions in a column, titled “La Fornicación,” in the La Plata daily newspaper, El Día. In his article, Aguer characterized casual sex as animal-like, stating fornication as a sign of dehumanization. He condemned the use of condoms, and made particular references to their use by athletes at the 2016 Olympic games.

Sociology and human relations student Jorge Briceno captured in Concordia’s greenhouse. Photo by Savanna Craig.

The Guardian estimated a use of 42 condoms per athlete during the Rio Olympics. Briceno said Arguer was furious that the Brazilian government was handing out condoms to athletes upon their arrival in Rio, claiming it was promoting promiscuity. Briceno added that Aguer said using condoms is a promiscuous act.

Briceno said Aguer’s condemnation of condoms is very dangerous and can compromise the safety of anyone who follows the archbishop’s words. As a sociologist, Briceno believes a lot of people end up following the words of those of who they look up to—whether it’s a religious figure or a politician.

Part-time Concordia faculty member and religion professor Steven Lapidus from the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies said religious figures have a direct influence on their followers, and they can influence societies through the government and educational systems.

He said abstinence has proven not to work, those in abstinence programs and pledges may still have sex, but are not learning the proper education to reduce sexually transmitted infections. “Simply banishing condoms is never proven to be helpful or successful in the abstinence program,” said Lapidus. “They’re advocating something that is not working from a medical standpoint—clearly it’s dangerous.”

Briceno said, for him, Aguer’s column is a matter of life and death. “I’ve had enough of religious leaders who impose on others their ways of thinking,” said Briceno. This motivated him to write a letter to Aguer, opposing and discussing the flaws in “La Fornication.” He said people who have the privilege to address the crowds do not measure the amount of damage that can be done.

Concordia religion professor Alexander Nachaj said the archbishop’s comments towards condemning condoms are not what he would call radical, as he is towing the party line of where the Catholic Church stands on reproductive rights and sexual health—which Nachaj said is outdated and not modern at all.

Nachaj drew on the example in recent Catholic history of the second vatican council, which was a major council in the 1970s where they tried to modernize the church. “They essentially had this great opportunity to embrace contraceptives and put more emphasis on women’s health, even HIV—but the way the council unfolded, they had all these modern ideas but reproductive rights and sexual safety just fell to the wayside.”

He although added not a lot of bishops and archbishops may comment as Aguer has, this is the official stance of the Catholic Church. “Just as a human standpoint I think it’s a major issue to be discouraging the use of contraceptives” he said.

“Until the Pope himself changes things, no Catholic [figure] is officially going to be [promoting contraceptives],” he said, adding that many Catholics use contraception regardless of the Church’s stance. However, he said due to it being the official stance this is why we see practices such as condemning the use and distribution of condoms. “It most likely does lead to the spread of HIV, unwanted pregnancies and other complications.”

Briceno believes condoms are one of the great barriers against infection. According to Aidsmap, if condoms are used 100 per cent of the time, with the typical rates of slippage and breakage taken into account, condoms provide protection against HIV/AIDS up to 80 to 85 per cent of the time.

Instances where religious figures preach against homosexuality and condemn the use of birth control, is not limited to South America—it can be seen in our own community.

On Oct. 7, a religious activist was preaching anti-gayness, anti-abortion and anti-sex statements on Concordia’s Sir George Williams campus. He was accompanied by two others who were holding signs depicting acts that will send people to hell, such as homosexuality and premarital sex.

Activist Jaggi Singh (photographed on the right) describes he was protesting against to bigotry of this preachers speech, however not against Christians. Photo by Savanna Craig.

While the preacher chanted about actions he deemed unholy into a microphone, a crowd of Concordia students gathered around him. A few students obtained a megaphone and chanted back “don’t hate, masturbate,” to protest the religious activist’s stance against masturbation.

A crowd of approximately 35 students emerged to watch some Concordia students and the religious activists on campus clashing with one another, as students were not in protest of their religion, but against preaching discrimination toward sexual freedom and homophobia. Along with continuous chanting, one student began handing out condoms to promote safe sexual freedom. After just over an hour, the protest diffused and the religious activists left campus.

“Morals are not defined, morals are biased, morals are not inclusive,” said Briceno. “Therefore, when arguments emerge from religious standpoints, there is conflict and not everyone feels welcome.” He said radical religious beliefs undermine the ability for followers to think for themselves.

Briceno said education is essential for knowing how to reduce risk of HIV/AIDS. He drew on two organizations in Montreal that inform people about sexual practices, being REZO-Santé and for Ready for Action. You can visit both of their websites online and find more information regarding safe sex and contact information for more help.

If you want to read Briceno’s letter to Archbishop Aguer—click here.

Graphic by Florence Yee

Categories
Opinions

Nightclubs need to step up their safety

Image via Flickr

The amount of tears shed in Brazil this week is immeasurable. Last Sunday, more than 230 people died in a fire that took place in the nightclub Kiss, located in Santa Maria, Brazil.

The fire started at around 2:30 a.m. during a band’s pyrotechnics show, in which one of the flames touched the ceiling that, according to investigation, was made out of cardboard and acoustic material, causing the fire to spread rapidly.

Many things were said about what went on in the nightclub during those moments of desperation. People tried to run to the emergency exit, but it was poorly indicated. Many others rushed into one of the restrooms hoping for safety. Others found the exit, but were being stopped by security who, not aware of the intensity of the fire, were asking people to pay their bills first. The fire extinguishers were expired, and the nightclub owners recently admitted that they did not have the permit from the fire department.

While looking at the tragedy through newspaper covers, pictures of the families who were torn apart, and names of the victims, this becomes very real, and even more so because it’s an everyday lifestyle to most adolescents.

Gleisson Balen is a student at the Federal University of Santa Maria, here at Concordia on exchange.

“I kept thinking I could’ve been one of the victims of this tragedy,” he said. “I feel powerless, being so far away prevents me from helping anyone in my community, the only thing I can do is pray.”

Ask yourself how many times you walked into a nightclub and looked for the emergency exits, or if the documentation was up to date. It would surely be good to check, but people go to nightclubs to escape, to have fun, and definitely not to worry about the possibility of death.

In 2001, over a 100 people were injured and six were killed during a concert in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The fire started when a cascade of fireworks met the ceiling made out of styrofoam. Once again, it was proved that the venue was not able to meet with the fire department’s requirements; the extinguishers were expired, and there weren’t enough well indicated emergency exits.

In 2003, 96 people died in a nightclub in Rhode Island. The fire also started because of the handling of fireworks inside the nightclub. The walls and ceiling were made out of an acoustic foam that was highly inflammable. The story repeats itself, with not enough emergency exits and an overcrowded venue.

However, after the tragedy took place in Rhode Island, many actions were taken towards the owners, co-owners and the event organizers. State laws towards inspection of nightclubs were also changed.

Last but not least, yet another incident took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 2004. More than 190 people were killed and 1,400 were injured in the nightclub. The fire started with the use of pyrotechnics, with flames hitting the acoustic material and the venue soon enveloped in fire. The emergency exits were few and blocked by people who didn’t make it. Nonetheless, the people and the families involved ran after their rights, and the consequences towards those responsible were a fair price to pay.

It all comes down to the “it’ll never happen to us” mentality, until it does. And when it does, no one wants to take responsibility for the mess. In Brazil, bars and nightclubs are being inspected and families and friends of those affected are going to the streets and saying what needs to be said. On Monday, 35,000 people came out to the streets to honour those who had their lives taken. During the same week, over 300 people protested in favour of justice and change.

“Now all the nightclubs in Brazil are being rigorously inspected, many will be closed down,” Balen says. “This will probably last about a year or two, afterwards the profit will prevail.”

The tragedy here is not only the lives that were lost, but also the fact that tragedies like this have to happen in order to get things done. These are wake-up calls and the country’s government needs to stop hitting the snooze button.

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