What's the Latest Development?
Brazil's pre-Lent Carnaval festivities are scheduled to begin at the end of this week, but to date at least 20 cities have canceled their celebrations in response to last month's nightclub fire, which killed 235 people in the town of Santa Maria. While this can be seen as another example of how deeply the tragedy continues to affect the nation's conscience, most other locations will continue with activities, largely due to economics: "In Rio alone, close to a million tourists attended the 2012 celebration....Even if residents don't feel like participating, major cities can hardly afford to cancel their celebrations."
What's the Big Idea?
Writer Emily Chertoff says that Brazilians can cite a number of past tragedies characterized by a lack of attention to public safety. She draws a parallel between the Santa Maria fire and December's Newtown elementary school gun massacre by quoting an article by a sociologist published on the Ecopolitica Web site: "We already knew the tragedy of Santa Maria would happen. We already knew we would mourn hundreds of dead, be shocked in front of our TV sets...We already knew no one would think of the consequences, collectively or individually. We already knew no one would examine seriously the risks involved."