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May 13, 2011


Ian Nieves

Brutal, but nothing new here. Right before Muhammad Ali and George Foreman fought their "Rumble in the Jungle" in Kinshasa, Zairian dictator Mobutu rounded up and summarily executed all the city's known or suspected violent criminals so ringside attendees could enjoy the fight unmolested. More recently, the PRC is rumored to have used "questionable" cleanup procedures to prepare for the recent Olympics, including trying to exclude foreigners the Mandarins deemed "uncouth", such as Mongolians and Africans. Naturally, any nation that hosts a major sporting event tries to showcase its best actual or imagined face to insure the exposure and commerce generated by the event long outlasts it. In Brazil's case, this by necessity means war on Rio's flavelas, since charred flesh fumes and other slum staples are decidedly bad for ambiance and business. Moralists and legal scholars will doubtless hotly debate whether the resulting grievous violence and rights violations outweigh the prosperity that may come from Brazil putting its best foot forward in the Olympus, which may ultimately benefit all Brazilians, including flavella residents.

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