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A ‘Gaza wall’ in Brazil

April 1, 2009

As if poor people don’t get blamed for enough ills in society, now they are to blame for the erasure of the Atlantic rainforest. The official line in Rio de Janeiro is that slums create deforestation and land loss, virtually necessitating the three meter-long wall being built around the favela Dona Marta. A recent article in the Guardian hooks on to that line mostly uncritically. Meanwhile, the residents of Dona Marta and their supporters call it the ‘Gaza wall’ and compare it to ‘Israeli type policy’ used against Palestinians. The comparison is telling, since the city of Rio likes to sanitize its verbal garbage almost as much as Israeli officials like to sanitize theirs: ‘eco-barrier’ and ‘eco-limit fence’ in Rio, ‘separation barrier’ and ‘security fence’ in Palestine. The populations that live within the confines of both walls are categorically described as uncontrollable, volatile, and scary, only pacifiable inside concrete, wire, and sniper guard vision.

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