Radio Sandwell Miscellanea

World Cup 2014: Image shows shocking social contrasts

2014-06-13 23:39:17

(Photo: @CalvinBook)

Brazil has been gripped by protests for over a year now, with millions of people across the nation full of righteous anger at the poverty-stricken nation's lavish spending on the World Cup.

As the tournament kicked off on Thursday, however, all that seemed to have been forgotten. The opening match turned into an exciting and dramatic encounter, filled with surprises and controversy; and the images of riot police and striking workers that filled our TV and computer screens a few hours earlier were replaced by joyous fans clad in yellow-and-green dancing the night away as the football carnival began.

But even as those joyous scenes were taking place, a new image was shared with the world which truly brings home just how desperate is the plight of many of Brazil's poorest residents:

The picture was shared by a British journalist called Michael Calvin, who works for the Independent on Sunday. As you can see, it shows a woman scavenging for scraps in a dumpster as thousands of Brazil fans tramp past on their way to the stadium.

The casual act of a fan tossing an empty bottle into the bin, apparently totally unaware of the woman, brings home the massive gulf between the haves and the have-nots in South America's most populous nation.

It is an unforgettable image which should have all of us wincing in sympathy - and counting our own blessings.

Almost as shocking as the picture itself is the reaction of some on Twitter, who quickly rounded on Calvin - and Times journalist Oliver Kay, who retweeted it - to claim that the image was a fake:

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