The sands of Copacabana were covered by 120 shrouds that represented, according to the founder of the NGO Rio de Paz, Antônio Carlos Costa, the approximate number of Palestinian children who die daily in Gaza. The demonstration was organized by the NGO, which also displayed a banner with the question Why?, Why? in English. The white shrouds were stained red. Next to each one there was a Palestinian flag and, on some, red roses.
Rio da Paz began setting up the demonstration at 4am and by 6am it was already on display. At 10:45 am, two members of the NGO dug a grave in the sand for the symbolic burial of the children. In the end, the shrouds were collected by Rio de Paz.
For Antônio Carlos Costa, Hamas is a genocidal and anti-Semitic group that cannot under any circumstances be seen as the fight of the oppressed against the oppressor. Hamas was responsible for the attack on Israel on October 7, which sparked the start of the war in the Middle East after Israel’s response.
“It is not the struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor to commit rape, cut the throats of children, execute entire families. This is barbarism. Now, what cannot be a response to an unspeakable criminal act, if it kills children. Approximately four thousand have been killed since Israel began sending missiles at Gaza. The situation, therefore, is completely desperate,” he said in an interview with Brazil Agency.
According to the founder of the NGO, the issue has to do with Brazil because the planet is small and what happens there reflects here. “If there is a third world war it will affect the whole world. Today, due to the media and social networks, what we say here can get there,” he explained.
Antônio Carlos Costa made a comparison between actions in the Middle East and police operations in Rio de Janeiro. “We face a similar problem here in Rio de Janeiro. Many justify police operations using the same principle that is being applied in Gaza, that is, the police can enter the community, kill residents, because after all they are hunting drug dealers, what is that? We cannot elevate this kind of self-defense to a condition of principle, where in your eagerness to kill the criminal, in the case of Israel the terrorist, you forget about innocent civilians”, he observed.
In the activist’s view, the war has divided the people of Israel, because there are many Israelis who are radically opposed to confrontation. According to him, the country’s position exposes the world to the possibility of a third world war, terrorist attacks in European and American cities, without, however, presenting a final solution to the problem. Furthermore, for him, Israel is changing its own image before the world.
“I can’t imagine anything worse that Israel could do to the detriment of its image than this war. People are no longer talking about the terrorist attack suffered by Israel, but about the war crimes that Israel is committing in Gaza. This decision by Netanyahu [Benjamin Netanyahu, primeiro ministro de Israel] does not represent the entirety of the Israeli people”, he reported.
Antônio Carlos Costa said that he is against the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force that is currently taking place in Gaza and which is causing deaths of Palestinian girls and boys. “This is unacceptable. This is a war crime. We want a ceasefire and we are not alone, because the UN Security Council, with the exception of the United States and Israel; Amnesty International; Human Rights Water; Doctors Without Borders; Unicef; everyone wants an end to the war. We are here just joining these other nations, people on the move, humanitarian organizations asking for the obvious: an immediate ceasefire”, he added.
Next Tuesday (7), Rio de Paz will hold a new demonstration. This time it will be to remember a month of the Hamas attack on Israel. “We are going to carry out an act here in repudiation of the terrorist attack in solidarity with the people of Israel and requesting the release of the hostages that at this very moment have people being held hostage by this terrorist faction”, he concluded.