bus 174

                Bus 174 was a tragic event that took place in Rio de Janeiro for the entire world to see. This event brought to the forefront several issues. The issues that the world saw were the violent nature the city of Rio de Janeiro had to offer and the complete incompetency of their police force and their ability to handle critical issues. However, these issues were only scratching the surface of this Latin American region’s problems that run much deeper than the majority of the public realized. The real tragedy of the situation as a whole is the poverty, injustice, inevitability of youth ending up as criminals, and as the Latin Americans see it the modernity (basically Americanization) of their culture and society. These issues are ones that people on the outside do not see, but for the people that live in these countries it is something they deal with everyday. What would it be like to see children living on the streets begging to stay alive, to never know if you will be the victim of a crime, or even if you yourself would have to learn how to live on the streets?

                Strictly from the movie we as an audience see several issues that need to be dealt with, but may be too out of control to be fixed. Poverty, crime, neglect are the conditions in which everyone in Rio de Janeiro live with everyday, but if you stop and take a look at it from the other perspective entirely different emotions form. When looking at the issues from the perspective of an outsider you feel curious, somewhat angry, and quite frankly baffled that this kind of living could go on the way it does. These kids are growing up in rough circumstances and eventually end up turning to a life of crime terrorizing the inhabitants of the city. This shouldn’t be allowed to go on. However, looking from the other side of things you may feel pity, sadness, again baffled that this is allowed to go on. Kids are being practically forced to live on the streets and fend for themselves, learning how to survive at any costs, which inevitably leads to a life of crime. These children are not being taken care of, so what other option do they have than to beg, steal, mug, and do whatever else is called for to survive.  Crime is such an issue in these regions that locals or even the well traveled feel grateful if they are only mugged instead of worse. For instance in the movie when the woman on the bus made several phone calls, including one to her work, telling them not to worry that she was only being held up because she was involved in what she thought was the robbery of the bus as if it was no big deal at all, just a tiny set back in the day like any other day. Another example was in the reading Alberto Ramos in his first hand account of being robbed in a taxi. In Ramos’s account two of his robbers were almost kind about it giving their reasons for it and telling him not to be scared, and in the end he said that he almost wanted to thank them for only having robbed him maybe even invite them for breakfast. According to Ramos it was his own fault for getting mugged, he should have known better. The documentary of bus 147 shows us the issues, but it is the readings that seem to tell us that these problems seem to stem from a different place that goes back in history.

                Readings such as The Heart That Bleeds “Mexico City” and I Saw a City Invincible seemingly connect the problem back to, as one mariachi player puts it, “modernity”and global compitition.  According to Guillermoprieto modernity has no real definition, but it can basically be summed up as the infiltration of another culture, such as America, that overruns and eventually pushes out the culture and heritage of that invaded nation. The story of these mariachi band members describes how the invasion of America’s culture, commodities, and economy are pushing their heritage into obscurity. Part of their culture and for them livelihood is mariachi music, which is slowly being pushed out by the modernity of city. This is a parallel issue to that of other peoples jobs being in danger with the inflitration of modernity. this process contributes to the social class problem and the lack of ability to move up in circumstance. Like the boys in the movie the mariachi band plays on the streets for money hoping to earn enough for the day to live. However, modernity didn’t begin in the past few decades; Latin America has been being invaded by other countries since it was discovered. First there were Europeans, then the Spanish, and so on until presently it is America trying to unify the global market by teaming up with the Latin American region. And every country has worked at doing the same thing in this region. According to Mark Szuchman, Anthony Pagden said, “they had no culture and no history fully independent of what had once been for all of them their “mother country’”. I took this to mean that they were directly connected, as a country, with their history and heritage, so for those things to have slowly been disappearing into now almost non existence must be tragic  and only pushes that much more into social poverty and obscurity.