Emanoel Douglas Florindo

(photo by Emanoel Douglas Florindo)

Young, Black and a Slum-dweller
It is neither just nor correct that a mother bury her son. A mother's pain on such an occasion must be the saddest thing that can come to pass (occur). And it is irrelevant who this son was or what he did. It also is irrelevant who the mother is how she raised him. The fact is, that, in the end, it is a son who is lost and a mother who is left behind... Once again, most unfortunately, in a city that despite of being know as "Marvelous", also bears the stigma of being for many years the city with one of the highest homicide rates among young Brazilians, and in the whole world.
On Monday, January 15, 2007, another son, Emanoel Douglas Florindo, resident of Nova Holanda, in the community A Mare, passed away. At age 18, the trajectory of his life was interrupted. He was murdered by two shots in the back, fired by an unidentified policeman who was guarding a building shortly after an assault had taken place, in the center of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The Meaning of Life.
Straddling the world of drugs and a criminal activity and seeking a different path and his citizenship and his emancipation, Noel, as he was affectionately called, spent time at the Observatorio de Favelas, where he tried to find new meaning for his life. In spite of great efforts, Noel was unable to effect the change he hoped for. Perhaps due to weakness, or to the attraction of drugs and easy money. he came to a tragic end. The fact is that Noel's story has not finished. It remains part of the tragedy of every young murder victim, in Rio de Janeiro and in Brazil, and demonstrates the complexity of a search for a change of life, something which depends not only on who welcomes it, but on who is welcomed. In the Observatorio de Favelas there are a number of examples of young people who after a period of time (sometimes extended) in the world of drugs and crime, choose citizenship, the right to live with dignity even as a life of ease becomes one of struggle and privation.
Noel had his chances. He made his choices. We cannot overlook this in analyzing his tragic end. May his example serve as a stimulus for us to try to support at every opportunity the desire for change and for dignity of many other young people with a pattern of living similar to his. At the same time, we have become aware of how brutal is the manner in which public officials deal with the issue of security, without regard for life, unaware of a young man's humanity and a mother's pain.

Author: Jailson de Souza
Text published on the website of Observatorio de Favelas

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