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New definition of civility

April 24, 2009

Istoé (one of the most popular Newsweek-ish magazines in Brazil, and not only because I had to visit four sold-out newspaper stands before I could find a copy) is calling the Dona Marta wall ´a future model for the country´ in its editorial page. Apparently, critics of the wall are just victims of their own ´taboos´ since the wall will bring ´ordered growth to social chaos´ in Rio de Janeiro. Even though editor Carlos José Marques openly mocks the idea of community—he puts it inside air quotes—he claims that the wall will facilitate community organization since it ´opens the door to civility.´ Because, you know, separation walls have always characterized civility and civilization. He assures readers, ´The right of coming and going is guaranteed by the project planners.´ That is, the right of favela dwellers to exit and enter their own homes. Then, as though to assure his own conscience, he goes on, ´There´s nothing apartheid about it.´ How civil of him.

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