by Cléber Araujo

It’s time to talk about the union of the people, the peace that is brought by the Olympic torch, and the peace the nations of the world desire. And when we talk about our favela, peace is urgent and necessary, even more so in a moment like this, when the world’s eyes are turned to our Marvelous City.

I sometimes dream about about how the utopian arrival of such a day would be for each of us. A desire that is latent for each resident of my community: we want peace; we need peace so that we have the minimal conditions of survival.

Rio de Janeiro is the stage for one of the biggest global events, where the main theme is the promotion of peace. Several people, in myriad places around the world, are happy, believing everything is in perfect harmony: The television adverts sell the idea of a New World; the athletes are smiling, only worried about winning their medals; the sponsors are making colossal profits; the corrupt politicians have been forgotten, and those in the tourist corrals are kept safe. All the while, the rest of the city is suffering, carrying the heaviest burdens, being subtracted from this party that preaches the union of the people.

Our favela, Complexo do Alemão – in the Olympic context – was excluded exactly because we have no peace. We’ve had daily shootings, and in cowardly fashion were literally placed at the margins of this racist and prejudiced society. They preach about peace on the television, but they steal our right to enjoy it.

One day we will have the privilege of seeing Peace, and Peace will say: “I took a while, but I am here.” It will be a day like no other, we will go to Peace and hug her, in a long and tight embrace, immediately inviting her to come in and stay in our homes.

We will have many things to say, talking about when Peace wasn’t around, how many people died waiting for Peace. I will talk about each person who died, each circumstance, and ask why Peace took so long, why has Peace been to so many places, but forgot us? Was Peace hoodwinked by greedy, tendentious people who told her not to come here?

We don’t know what happened, but when she arrives it won’t matter because we will leave our houses, walk down the walkways and alleyways, celebrating: “Peace is here, she is here to stay with us!” We will party, jump for joy, and spread the news to everyone.

This dream is a statement of anxiety that goes beyond our souls. All of our tears have been invested in the tireless necessity to have peace. This is the daily reflection of the resident of the favela, hopeful that one day, it will happen. We want and deserve peace.

This is why I am taking this opportunity to ask, urgently, Lady Peace, come stay with us soon.

This piece was translated by Nicole Froio.

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Cléber Araujo, 40, is a resident of the favela community of Complexo do Alemão, located in the West Zone of Rio de Janeiro. Find him on Twitter @NovoAlemao

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One thought on “Reflection from the Favela: The Arrival of Peace

  1. Beautiful piece that puts us all in the right mind about The Olympic Games.
    We can not and should not believe that the absence of Peace is not our problem because we don’t live in the favelas…. Yes it is our problem since We all share the same city and the earth, we are all brothers and sisters……
    Thank you Cleber and Nicole for the intelligent and beautiful peace written here.


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