Chronicle Of A Death Foretold
In November of 2011, Brazilian surfer Ricardo dos Santos, who was shot dead last month in Guarda do Embaú, wrote an article that was published by the Brazilian magazine Waves. In it Ricardo addressed the many problems faced by the Guarda do Embaú area where he grew up, chief among them the antisocial behaviour of gangs and the police’s failure to do anything about it. The man who shot dos Santos was an off-duty military police officer, who was drunk at the time of the attack, and has faced charges of unlawful and violent conduct in the past. Luis Paolo Mota Brentano claims he acted in self-defence.
We encourage you to read the piece in the original Portuguese, available here on the Waves website. Our translation is only a rough effort:
Just to make it clear, this isn’t a message from a professional surfer but from a guy who was born and grew up in a blessed place.
Who doesn’t know where this marvellous place is? Who doesn’t dream of living in such a place? Who never went on a summer holiday to this beautiful place? Who wouldn’t love to have a house in this piece of heaven?
Because it is all these things. But today it seems this piece of heaven is losing its magic, it seems that people no longer value being in a place that is beautiful and pure.
These images unfortunately no longer represent the reality of the Guarda. It’s with an immense feeling of sadness that I write this, but the Guarda is being destroyed.
I am one of thousands of people who were born and grew up in this place blessed by God, and I am also one of the witnesses to the disgrace that has befallen it over recent years.
Back in the good days the Guarda was a place of potheads, bums and hippies. Now we have gangsters instead!
They come at night with their cars and their sound systems, driving around or hanging out on the beach, playing their awful music was loud as possible and leaving litter everywhere. What could be more beautiful than that?
You will say: “But that’s not possible. How does the local population allow these things to happen? How do the police allow something like this in the ‘pearl’ of Santa Catarina?? How do politicians put up with nonsense like this?
I would say that the residents do nothing because they’re scared of being shot — scared just of asking for a bit of peace and quiet, scared because these idiots are drunk and unpleasant.
And just to be clear, this sort of thing is also happening on other beaches in the state.
The police never make an appearance during these disturbances. These useless public servants aren’t capable of showing their faces at of one these affrays. That’s what makes the Guard the perfect place — not for tourists, but for those looking to cause trouble!
As for the politicians, well you already know. They want our money and to hell with anything else!
So then, friends, that is the current and ongoing problem face by the Guarda. And no one does a damn thing to help!!!
But in the end, the upshot of the whole thing for me comes down to two words: sadness and pain.
This year I’m opting not to go to my house in the Guarda over the summer. I’m scared of getting there and dying of disgust, I’m scared of seeing the place where I grew up gone to the dogs.
I won’t be spending Christmas and New Year with my family, because I don’t want to have to witness the things that human beings are capable of.
We know that politicians are all scoundrels, and that the police is useless and never does anything to sort out this mess. But what many people don’t know is that the Guarda is perishing, and it’s perishing fast.
From the bottom of my heart, I’m begging for the help of everyone, so that together we can unite and put an end to this farce.
Many have suggested that dos Santos’s killer ought to be fed to the sharks. I know that in theory we’ve progressed beyond the whole capital punishment as entertainment thing, but one can’t help thinking that if he is indeed found guilty, then giving him a surfboard and sending him out in the kind of surf Ricardo relished — 20ft+ Teahupoo, say — would make an excellent webcast. Just imagine the Joe Turpel commentary!