Tim Vickery Column: The answer and the change occuring in Brazil ahead of the World Cup

For Tim Vickery, what happens with the protest movement this summer will help forge a new Brazil - Action Images
This website might be called Sertanejo-foot. It would be an awkward name, but not inappropriate.

Sertanejo – the local country music – is certainly more popular in Brazil than samba.  Surveys reveal that it is the type of music most played on Brazilian radio stations.  But there is no space for this in the international perception of Brazil.  Some of the contestants in the local version of ‘Big Brother’ – a ratings sensation in Brazil for almost a decade and a half – have played it up for all it is worth, donning cowboy hats in their attempt to project a down to earth, rustic and folksy image.  One of them even rode that horse all the way to the millionaire first prize.

All of this would come as a huge shock to the millions abroad who might imagine that Brazil in its entirety, from the luscious sands of Leblon to the giant favela of Rocinha, can be found in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro.

There is much more to the story, both good and bad – and this year, as never before, the world will have the chance to discover this giant country – either as tourists and fans coming over to football’s big party, or viewers of the many TV shows on Brazil that will fill up time and whet the appetite before the tournament gets underway.

One of the things that might become apparent is the extent to which the country has been mythologised, both internally and externally.  For many foreigners – the French seem to have a specific weakness for this line of approach – Brazil represents the exotic, the wild, the exuberant.  Samba fits nicely into this perception.  The banality of country music does not.

But Brazil has also been relentlessly mythologised from the inside, for obvious reasons.  First, this is a young country – not just in the sense of being ‘discovered’ by the Europeans little more than 500 years ago, but also in the fact that, as DNA research is making increasingly clear, its population was transformed by large scale late immigration from Europe and the Middle East in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

This, then, was a country in need of a national identity.  Indeed, perhaps the principal explanation for the importance of football in Brazilian life is that through the World Cup their nation is making its mark on the planet, so often as winners.

But also this national identity had to be forged in a society of massive inequality.  Therein lies the importance of samba to the national image.  The relatively benign tropical fascism of the Getulio Vargas regime in the 1930s and 40s transformed samba into a national soundtrack – after first censoring its content.

As samba developed in Rio, then the capital, in the early decades of the twentieth century, the musicians were often persecuted.  The Vargas regime put a stop to that.  They became national icons (it is sadly interesting that the two moments when black Brazilians have been most central to the national identity have coincided with dictatorial regimes – the samba musicians with Vargas, and Pele with the military dictatorship in the late 60s).  But, to get played on the powerful, glamorous and important new medium of radio, their songs started extolling the virtues of an orderly life.  The government began subsidising the parade of the samba schools in Rio’s Carnaval – after first ensuring that the theme had to be a celebration of Brazil.  The idea of Brazil as a land of happiness was a conscious creation of- and clearly interesting to - an authoritarian regime.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the protest movement that flared up last June and July was the discontent that many of those involved expressed for the myths of their nationhood.  Members of Brazil’s new middle class had been able to travel abroad for the first time.  Some of them had been irritated by the instant identification of Brazil with football and carnival.  Indeed, this feeling would seem to explain some of the ferocity demonstrated against public spending on football tournaments.  In part, perhaps, it was a psychological desire on the part of the protestors to distance themselves from myths that have been spun around them.  We would seem to be dealing with a generation which is anxious to create its own identity.

Of course the protest movement contained some excesses, and also worrying fascistic trends whereby political parties per se were seen as the enemy.  How can there be a democracy without the organisation of competing ideas?  ‘My party is Brazil’ – a slogan that cropped up during the protests – is not an answer.

But on balance, the process was not only healthy, it was inspirational.  By taking to the streets such numbers Brazilians confounded a myth they had held about themselves – that they are a passive people, easily duped into tolerating arrogant and inept government.

To be in Brazil during the Confederations Cup was to watch a country changing in front of our own eyes.  The Brazil of May 2013 is not coming back.  Exactly where we are heading is not yet clear.  What happens with the protest movement this June and July will help forge a new Brazil – which means that fans coming over for the World Cup are in for an unforgettable experience.

We all hope it will be a wonderful tournament – football needs a great World Cup.  And off the pitch there should be an international party, plus an internal dynamic of progress that is hard to predict.  Visitors to Brazil will be witnesses to history – and may even go home with a few sertanejo CDs.

 

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March 05, 2015
17:52Report: Liverpool to target Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello rather than Fiorentina's Neto
16:55Gilberto Silva hopes Arsenal can keep winning despite lack of big spending
16:15Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva insists Mesut Özil must improve
13:25Dunga's list for France and Chile friendlies without surprises
13:00Pelé insists Brazil can learn from Germany
13:00Porto to seek loan extension for Casemiro
13:00David Luiz praised for PSG versatility
13:00Pelé says CBF should work to keep the best talents in Brazil
13:00Corinthians beat Libertadores holders San Lorenzo while Internacional win against Emelec
13:00Maradona jokes that he could make comeback alongside Ronaldo
13:00Edu Gaspar discusses Arsenal and Alexis Sánchez
12:30Arsenal's Gabriel Paulista set for a spell on the sidelines
12:21Lucas Leiva in danger of being replaced at Liverpool
12:11Ramires recalls his Chelsea debut
11:51Chelsea's Diego Costa escapes punishment
March 04, 2015
22:07Ramires calls for Chelsea focus after victory over Tottenham
22:02Diego Costa revealed the reason he rejected a move to Liverpool
16:00Former Arsenal forward Ian Wright hails influence of Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho
15:22Manchester United target's Danilo gives the green light to Real Madrid move
14:23Ex-Arsenal player Edu Gaspar talks about his time with Brazil national team
13:33Manchester United are also in talks to sign Danilo from Porto
12:43Sam Allardyce: "We won't wind up Chelsea's Diego Costa"
11:48Dani Alves close to leaving Barcelona
11:34Copa Libertadores: Cruzeiro in disappointing stalemate
11:18Martin Skrtel (Liverpool): 'Coutinho is one of the best players in the Premier League right now'
March 03, 2015
17:29Agent Alex Firmino expects on loan Juventus midfielder Rômulo to sort his future "in the next week"
16:02Former Arsenal midfielder Edu sees "Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay" as 2015 Copa América favourites
15:41Lucas Silva is starting to generate debate as Illarramendi is statistically better
15:37Centurión and Alan Kardec fighting for the spot in the XI against Corinthians as Pato is ineligible
15:31Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista ready to take his chance against QPR and Manchester United
14:55Ronaldo explains to Diego Maradona why he is coming out of retirement to play for Fort Lauderdale Strikers
13:54Agent Stefano Castagna believes midfielder Felipe Anderson will stay at Lazio
13:49Arsenal target Firmino worth €30m, says Hoffenheim coach
13:09Real Betis forward Braian Rodríguez set to join Grêmio on loan
12:30Guangzhou extend contract with Brazilian striker Elkeson
11:25Sean Dyche praises Liverpool's Coutinho
11:15Diego Costa: 'I almost joined Liverpool before Chelsea'
11:06Garth Crooks: 'Liverpool's Coutinho is intimidated by Gerrard'
10:58Bentaleb refuses to criticize Chelsea's Costa
10:49Liverpool's Coutinho wins player of the month award
March 02, 2015
23:39Everton linked with Diego
23:32Gabriel Paulista settling well at Arsenal
23:19Brazilians in Europe: Coutinho strikes again
23:02Ramires closes in on a grand slam of trophies for Chelsea
19:45Diego Costa-Chelsea: "I have the trust of José Mourinho and my teammates"
18:39LA Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant outlines key role midfielder Juninho plays
18:29Report: Corinthians, Cruzeiro and São Paulo eye Manchester United full-back Rafael
18:14Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen hails team-mate Philippe Coutinho
18:09Sampdoria Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović compares forward Luis Muriel to Ronaldo
14:03Liverpool boss says there's more to come from Coutinho
March 05, 2015
13:25Dunga's list for France and Chile friendlies without surprises
13:00Edu Gaspar discusses Arsenal and Alexis Sánchez
13:00Maradona jokes that he could make comeback alongside Ronaldo
13:00Corinthians beat Libertadores holders San Lorenzo while Internacional win against Emelec
13:00Pelé says CBF should work to keep the best talents in Brazil
13:00David Luiz praised for PSG versatility
13:00Porto to seek loan extension for Casemiro
13:00Pelé insists Brazil can learn from Germany
March 04, 2015
15:22Manchester United target's Danilo gives the green light to Real Madrid move
14:23Ex-Arsenal player Edu Gaspar talks about his time with Brazil national team
13:33Manchester United are also in talks to sign Danilo from Porto
March 03, 2015
15:41Lucas Silva is starting to generate debate as Illarramendi is statistically better
15:37Centurión and Alan Kardec fighting for the spot in the XI against Corinthians as Pato is ineligible
15:31Arsenal’s Gabriel Paulista ready to take his chance against QPR and Manchester United
13:49Arsenal target Firmino worth €30m, says Hoffenheim coach
12:30Guangzhou extend contract with Brazilian striker Elkeson
March 02, 2015
14:03Liverpool boss says there's more to come from Coutinho
13:58Marquinhos says Barcelona and Manchester United wanted him
13:52Liverpool legend Ronnie Whelan slams Philippe Coutinho
13:46Arsène Wenger hails Arsenal new-boy Gabriel Paulista
13:32Liverpool's Balotelli can reunite with Kaká in the MLS
February 28, 2015
13:00Shakhtar's Douglas Costa wants to secure a regular a place in the Brazil team
11:38Marquinhos says interest from Manchester United makes him happy
11:26Douglas Costa praises Mourinho and would like to experience the Premier League with Chelsea
11:16Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has confidence in Dani Alves
01:00Lucas Moura out for at least four weeks
February 27, 2015
13:00Court rejects Damião's second request to rescind the contract at Santos
12:55Monaco's Wallace banned for four matches
12:40Barcelona fans meet Neymar after becoming the museum's 25th-million visitors
12:19Lucas Leiva react on Twitter as Liverpool are eliminated from Europa League
11:59Barcelona and Juventus intensify their interest in 17-year-old Gérson
February 26, 2015
13:07Alexandre Pato scores twice in Libertadores win
12:56Brazilian midfielder Jádson opts against China move
12:43Neymar says the Manchester City fan cursed him
12:30Manchester City fan describes his confrontation with Neymar and calls the player 'unprofessional'
12:09Kaká announced as captain of Orlando City
February 25, 2015
12:48Jádson on his way to China from Corinthians
12:44Ronaldo Fenômeno confirms return to football
12:44Romeo Fernandes from India signs contract with Atlético Paranaense
12:41Diego Tardelli says he has earned his role in the national team
01:05Brazil confirm Copa América base camp
February 24, 2015
12:32Striker Fred confirms his Brazil career is over
12:28Nasri says Agüero is on the same level as Neymar ahead of Manchester City against Barça
12:14Manchester City's Zabaleta believes Messi, Neymar and Suárez are the best strike-force in the world
12:09Sandro sent off in QPR Under-21 game
11:56Liverpool eyeing Shakhtar striker Luiz Adriano
February 23, 2015
12:54Rejuvenated striker Pato warned against complacency
12:49Neymar: 'My friend Messi is better than Cristiano'
12:45São Paulo's Michel Bastos equals Kaká's numbers in just 8 games
12:41Bright start for Alexandre Pato in 2015
January 19, 2015
20:37Willian: 'Chelsea controlled the game'
January 11, 2015
19:49Coritiba confirm the signings of Negueba and Pedro Ken
17:17De Arrascaeta to Internacional can be announced any time now, says Defensor president
January 04, 2015
16:03Mircea Lucescu: Tour of Brazil will become part of Shakhtar history
15:08Lucescu: Shakhtar’s Brazil tour will be part of the history
January 03, 2015
12:16Sergei Palkin: It’s important for us to play with the top teams of the Brazilian league
January 02, 2015
16:49Cruzeiro confirm survey from Mexico regarding Anselmo Ramon
15:28Internacional have competition from Europe for De Arrascaeta
14:16No contacts with Internacional, says Sandro's agent
14:13Shakhtar goes on tour across Brazil
December 30, 2014
17:18Fluminense director says no offer for Darío Conca
December 25, 2014
14:37Leandro Damião to Cruzeiro is back on
June 26, 2014
14:33Report: Flamengo one of eight clubs who have enquired about loaning Internazionale midfielder Rubén Botta
June 16, 2014
11:35Brazil Head Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari backs Portugal to recovery from heavy Germany defeat
June 09, 2014
23:18Italy forward Lorenzo Insigne insists Italy’s poor defending in victory against Fluminense is “not important”
23:12Italy forward Ciro Immobile “excited” with hat-trick against Fluminense
22:56Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli pleased with Fluminense victory
22:52Italy Head Coach Cesare Prandelli delighted with Brazilian support
June 07, 2014
23:32Italy line up confirmed for Fluminense friendly
May 19, 2014
22:13Portugal Manager Paulo Bento names his 23-man 2014 FIFA World Cup squad
May 18, 2014
19:09Sambafoot Sunday: Botafogo's Shaky Start to 2014
April 13, 2014
08:34Sambafoot Sunday: Brazilian Clubs' Libertadores Numbers Game
April 06, 2014
09:20Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Mineiro's Anelka Interest Should be the Norm
February 14, 2014
12:23Shakhtar Donetsk: President decided to support Maicon’s family
February 09, 2014
09:25Sambafoot Sunday: Where’s Wallyson? Botafogo find their new hero post-Seedorf
January 26, 2014
10:09Sambafoot Sunday: Cruciate curse affects Seleção hopes of three midfielders
December 01, 2013
13:36Sambafoot Sunday: Could Éverton Ribeiro Crack Europe?
November 25, 2013
11:39Brasileirão Week 36 round up: Vasco shock champions to stay in contention while defeat leaves Ponte Preta on the brink
November 24, 2013
10:17Sambafoot Sunday: Palmeiras Promoted with Chapecoense in Tow
November 17, 2013
12:00Palmeiras secure Brasileirão Série B title with 3-0 win against Boa Esporte
November 12, 2013
08:42Relegation threatened Fluminense sack head coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo
November 10, 2013
12:59Sambafoot Sunday: Atlético Paranaense's hurricane season
November 09, 2013
10:05Drummer angers Flamengo fans
November 04, 2013
13:04Brasileirão week 32 round-up: Big win for Vasco as in-form Goiás maintain top four push
November 03, 2013
17:31Sambafoot Sunday: Surprise Packages in the 2013 Brasileirão
October 28, 2013
11:31Brasileirão Week 31 round up: Vital win for Ponte Preta while Goiás maintain top four push
October 21, 2013
13:21Olympique Marseille without defender Lucas Mendes for Napoli fixture
12:12Injury rules Bayern Munich defender Dante out of Viktoria Plzeň tie
October 20, 2013
23:50São Paulo president Juvenal Juvêncio admits interest in Lucas Moura loan return
October 18, 2013
11:47Diego Maradona dispute’s Pelé’s FIFA recognition
09:04Del Bosque: Costa approach no insult to current strikers
October 17, 2013
21:43Hard work is paying off insists Bayern Munich defender Rafinha
13:17Rodrigo Lasmar: Ronaldinho on track to be fit for the Club World Cup
October 16, 2013
19:53Report: Tottenham Hotspur set to offer Paulinho extended deal
09:12Report: São Paulo could terminate Lúcio’s contract if injury concerns prevail
October 13, 2013
18:32Brasileirão: Grêmio slip up as Vitoria and Santos grab victories
14:49Vanderlei Luxemburgo: ‘Simulation part of football’
October 09, 2013
20:37Mineiro learn Club World Cup fate
October 06, 2013
22:39Oswaldo de Oliveira in hospital after Botafogo defeat
11:55Sambafoot Sunday: Cruzeiro cruising at the top of the Brasileirão
March 05, 2015
17:52Report: Liverpool to target Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello rather than Fiorentina's Neto
16:55Gilberto Silva hopes Arsenal can keep winning despite lack of big spending
16:15Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto Silva insists Mesut Özil must improve
March 04, 2015
16:00Former Arsenal forward Ian Wright hails influence of Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho
March 03, 2015
17:29Agent Alex Firmino expects on loan Juventus midfielder Rômulo to sort his future "in the next week"
16:02Former Arsenal midfielder Edu sees "Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay" as 2015 Copa América favourites
14:55Ronaldo explains to Diego Maradona why he is coming out of retirement to play for Fort Lauderdale Strikers
13:54Agent Stefano Castagna believes midfielder Felipe Anderson will stay at Lazio
13:09Real Betis forward Braian Rodríguez set to join Grêmio on loan
March 02, 2015
18:39LA Galaxy defender Todd Dunivant outlines key role midfielder Juninho plays
18:29Report: Corinthians, Cruzeiro and São Paulo eye Manchester United full-back Rafael
18:14Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen hails team-mate Philippe Coutinho
18:09Sampdoria Head Coach Siniša Mihajlović compares forward Luis Muriel to Ronaldo
March 01, 2015
15:50Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown contemplates whether Gabriel Paulista can displace Per Mertesacker
14:01Paris Saint-Germain Manager Laurent Blanc desperate to keep defender Marquinhos
12:50Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath pleased players have "started to trust" Kaká more
February 25, 2015
19:00Fiorentina Head Coach Vincenzo Montella insists he trusts want away goalkeeper Neto
13:04Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira admits Juventus interest
February 24, 2015
15:05Dempo confirm midfielder Romeo Fernandes will join Atlético Paranaense on loan
15:00Orlando City SC manager Adrian Heath explains why Kaká has been appointed captain
February 23, 2015
17:30Report: Free agent Felipe will join Internazionale if they beat Celtic
17:00Fluminense forward Fred not thinking about possible Seleção return
15:00Report Fiorentina forced to field want away goalkeeper Neto against Tottenham Hotspur
February 22, 2015
17:17Barcelona Head Coach Luis Enrique refuses to blame Daniel Alves for Malaga defeat
17:06Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva condemns racist incident involving Chelsea fans on metro
16:56Fluminense Executive Director Fernando Simon confirms bids for reported Manchester United target Kenedy and Gerson
16:00Forward Jonathas pleased with Elche season and says players need to keep following manager Fran Escribá
February 18, 2015
16:55Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva insists Alex is happy at Milan
16:52Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva states he "wouldn't now" return to Milan
16:42Head Coach Pep Guardiola happy Bayern Munich kept Shakhtar Donetsk trio quiet
February 17, 2015
08:14Shakhtar Donetsk manager Mircea Lucescu: Our Brazilians want "revenge for the defeat in the World Cup" against Germany
07:41Bayern Munich Head Coach Pep Guardiola praises Shakhtar Donetsk Brazilians ahead of UEFA Champions League tie
February 16, 2015
16:29Beşiktaş defender Ramon Motta thanks club doctors for getting him fit for Bursaspor win
15:35Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz: "If I score against Chelsea I don't celebrate"
14:39Report: Lucas Silva to make first Real Madrid start in UEFA Champions League tie against Schalke 04
13:43Grêmio manager Luiz Felipe Scolari explains why he walked out of 1-0 defeat to Veranópolis
12:57Report: Defender Felipe to undergo medical and train with Internazionale ahead of possible move
February 15, 2015
22:41Liverpool target a Brazilian full back
19:36Report: Internazionale to move for free agent Felipe if defensive injuries persist
17:41Report: Internazionale contact Fluminense to try and secure a deal for forward Kenedy
16:07Report: Toronto FC forward Gilberto set to join Vasco da Gama on loan
15:01David Luiz notes Zlatan Ibrahimović "was one of the big reasons" why he joined Paris Saint-Germain
14:28Brazilians in Europe: Saturday round up
February 13, 2015
17:02Defender Rhodolfo happy to remain at Grêmio despite reported interest from Internazionale
16:24Report: Paris Saint-Germain to offer defender Marquinhos new deal to deter Manchester United interest
15:05Report: Querétaro forward Ronaldinho in negotiations with Girabola outfit Kabuscorp S.C.P
14:05Diego Costa compares Chelsea to Atlético de Madrid and praises team-mate Cesc Fàbregas
12:57Manager Arsène Wenger hints that defender Gabriel Paulista could make Arsenal debut in FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough
February 11, 2015
17:03Report: Fenerbahçe join Bursaspor and Galatasaray in pursuit of Atlético Paranaense-owned forward Fernandão
16:07Milan-owned forward Robinho eager to extend stay at Santos
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