Thursday, August 14, 2014

Brazil got everything recently. The World Cup Games are over and now they must prepare for the 2016 Olympics. How did such a poor country in the middle of nowhere win such recognition from the world? It is bad enough that they did not win the World Cup but they are still in great poverty. Many are still questioning the massive amounts of money and resources being converted to the building of stadiums and arenas that stand little chance of ever being used once the games are gone. It is happening already in Brazil.

Brazilians are a spiritual people bound by a common religion to which everyone is deeply committed. In Brazil soccer was also worshiped as a national identity. The sport is the pride of a country that has won more World Cups than any other. So, this year’s loss in their own country was devastating. The World Cup was played for the first time this year since 1950. Now there are protests against hosting such grand events Brazil   can  not   afford.

Excitement has been given up for rage. The people now want money spent on health care and education. And why not? The people who decide on possible hosts for events should be sure the people are taken care of first. Who throws a party if you didn’t pay your bills first? The government spent Billions of dollars on 12 stadiums   to house the World Cup. The 4 Billion dollar question is what will they be used for now that the event is over? If history is any guide, many will remain empty expensive monuments to a waste of money. There was an ancient story known as White Elephants. Do you know it?

The historical meaning of The White Elephant in the room goes way back to Egyptian times. A white elephant was given as a gift to a important person in India. It was considered sacred so the community had to keep it alive and spend everything they had to feed the elephant. These stadiums are Brazil’s white elephant now.  In South Africa they spent Billions for 10 stadiums for the last World Cup Games. Four years later these pavilions dot the countryside as 9 of those stadiums sit mostly idle.
Olympic white elephants are in Athens, Greece where ironically the Olympics were born. When the games returned there in 2004 the country was filled with national pride. Today, 10 years later pride has changed to shame. White elephants stand all over the city as giant reminders of incompetence and waste.  Today the places of grandeur and fireworks and light shows stand locked and forgotten. They built permanent stadiums for baseball and softball and field hokey of which none have been used in years. The country doesn’t even play these sports games.

It was wasteful and just plain stupidity to spend so much money on things the country does not support. No one can make long   term plans for any of these events anywhere on the globe? There is no plans made for these places after the games.  Poor countries are writing the checks for a lifestyle they can not afford. Like any  credit  card, you have to pay up eventually. The 2004 Olympics in Greece is the reason partly for the economic crisis in that country now.

Today the epic depression continues in Greece and with no money to do anything with its white elephants, Athens which has taken pride in its ancient ruins will now be haunted by its modern ruins. Brazil’s once growing economy is now ice cold again with poverty surrounding the massive stadiums. Where the United States played their World Cup games was located in an isolated part of jungle in the Amazon Rain Forest surrounded on all sides of hundreds of miles of jungle. The town of Manaus is so remote it was almost impossible to reach by car. The stadium materials had to be shipped by boat from Portugal and then down the Amazon River due to poor roads. A 270 million dollar stadium built for just 4 games to ever be played there.

The Brazilian brass thought the money was worth it to bring TV to Manaus and then increased tourism. The slums have great views of the stadium and the people couldn’t afford to buy tickets to even ever go in it. The distance   between wealth and poverty is enormous all over the world now. There is no reason social rights and community advancement could not have been promoted in these places. When Soccer’s governing body demanded all the proceeds from the events it is hard to believe that any money was shared from promotions and ticket sales. In fact poverty stricken people are being evicted from their simple homes to prepare for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

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