In the midst of protest, tear gas, robocops and mutual frustration (which means frustration on all sides, of every possible "team." The government; throwing its frustration and control by manipulating what it means to have a police force to serve and "protect." The people; tired of being confronted with uniforms and weapons that really, I can only recall seeing on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Citizens; imploring with signs and screams: 'education, health and rights, to Fifa's standards!' Not just stadiums up to standard.) But the rest of it too. I won't get in to Fifa, and what I think of them, or the Fifa store, a temporary construction built on the sands of Copacabana. One of many symbols of all that is wrong with the World Cup. It's true that these sands are the same sands upon which so many of Rio's citizens have tried to get a work permit to sell their humble goods and make a fair wage. So many denied by bureaucracy, paperwork and endless barriers. I'm pretty sure that Fifa didn't have to face those barriers. Pretty sure that Fifa just set up shop, gigantic shop, and is now selling overpriced mascots on Copa beach. (And really, who designed that mascot? What is that?)
But I digress...
The scene was beautiful. In the midst of the robocop and protest madness - three musicians. A saxophone, a mandolin and a tambourine coming together to make forro (a Brazilian music, that is more popular than Samba, but everyone seems to forget). They played forro and in front of them, a police battalion. Full gear: shoulder, arm, leg and foot padding. Helmets. Real gladiators. Listening to Forro. Underneath the helmets were faces: hardened by heat, heavy gear, dust, and a long morning of urban combat.
Behind the saxophone was a face, not quite as hard, perhaps slightly exhausted. (I would later learn that he had played all night and had not intended on playing in front of this battalion. Yet when he saw them, his hands lifted to the sax and did what came naturally to him). So he played, and the police, listened. And they listened. And their faces. Softened.
The saxophone player put down his weapon, his sax, and spoke. And looked at the police battalion in front of him and implored them to understand: "we are on the same team", he said. "Can't you see?" With his soft spoken words he asked them to understand that all sides are in a similar battle, stuck in a system that is pitting one against the other. And the violence from one "side" toward the other should stop, because we are on the same team. And the police-man, in all his gladiator glory, took off his helmet. And also spoke. Softly. Explained that he had his duty to fulfill, his body to protect when attacked.
It doesn't matter what he said. That was it. The moment. It was followed by a few of the other gladiators removing their helmets.
And the harsh lines start to fade away, the hardness softens; breaks apart, becomes unsteady in the face of, Dialogue.