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A few words on corruption, independence and how we all play into this
Many Brazilians refuse to wear the nation’s symbolic colors on September 7th. Indeed, all of the staggering news surrounding our Brazilian identity makes us feel the most repulsed by the politics of the nation we were born in. Withal, I stood determined to wear such colors, as a way to contend the contrary. Many argue that they are ashamed to be Brazilian, ashamed of their country’s ingrained corruption and widespread greed, ashamed of the selfish political system that only favors a few. The new devastating corruption scandals came precisely one day before Brazil's most historically cherished date: its independence. Amidst the 180 degree judicial turn where the General Prosecutor of Brazil decides to open an investigation, contemplating to gather evidence on possible crimes committed by President Temer due to newfound information in Joesley’s audios and the federal police discovers 51 million BRL in an ex-politician’s apartment - the greatest quantity ever recorded since the beginning of Operation Car Wash - Indeed, all of the staggering news surrounding our Brazilian identity makes us feel the most repulsed by the politics of the nation we were born in.
Corruption is not new to Brazil, neither is it a surprise that many of our politician’s intentions do not support the interests of the people. In fact, corruption in Brazil dates back to our colonization period during the 16th century. Public workers serving the Portuguese crown in Brazil were often entangled in corruption when overseeing collection of taxes, and many received bribes when they were instructed to halt smuggling of products. Moving forward to Brazilian independence in 1822, the ethical practices were not enhanced with the country’s newfound freedom. Rather, the power of self-governance further motivated the predominant forms of corruption to this day: bribes in the concession of public investments and over-invoicing. Brazilian public money continued to be divided between public interests and politicians’ pockets. Even honorable public figures such as Getúlio Vargas have been inevitably woven into the cycle of self-benefit from public expenditures. All of the scandals we face today are simply the exposition of the history our country has endured for centuries. Today’s scandals were yesterday’s status quo.
This by no means suggests we should accept the misappropriation of public funds; it rather aims to elucidate another side of the story. Considering corruption has been so deeply ingrained in our history, it is our duty to cherish the efforts of those who are consistently combating it. As Brazilian citizens, we hold total responsibility to take up the fight and exercise our citizenship to cure our nation from the disease that plagues our public funds. We must wear green, blue and yellow to symbolize our faith in a corruption-free Brazil. Rather than complaining, we must act, as our attitudes are the foundational key to the creation of a new nation in which honesty is the main pillar. We must feel a sense of duty to improve our country’s situation, and this can begin by abiding by simple ethical guidelines in our daily lives, and can further expand to participation in public rallies and promoting ethics in our society.
A Brazilian proverb wisely states that many hummingbirds, each carrying a small drop of water, can put out a fire. Parallel to that, it is the union of our small actions that can free our country from corruption. Only when we have broken the shackles of bribery and misappropriation of public funds may we say our nation is truly independent.