“We are in an appalling situation with a horrible government that has stolen our flag,” said João Carlos Assumpção, the writer and director at the head of the campaign.Assumpção, the author of a story in the history of Brazil selection called Deuses da Bola (Balloon Gods), calls on his country to re-kiss the white and blue shirt he used until 1950, when a devastating World Cup defeat in Uruguay paved the way for adoption of the canary.
“The loss was a national tragedy – and people began to believe that the white shirt was bad luck,” said Assumpção, adding that the time had come to bring it back.
Disillusionment with Brazil’s national colors has grown among progressives for several years, many on the left having fled the yellow shirt after it was adopted by protesters supporting the very controversial dismissal of Dilma Rousseff in 2016.
But under Bolsonaro – whose loyalists carry the canary to rally and hang yellow and green Brazil flags on their balconies to show their dedication – these frustrations have reached new heights.
“I always thought that our flag and our colors were so beautiful – but for me, they now symbolize intolerance, political ignorance, even fascism,” said Lucas Justiniano, 36, a filmmaker from São Paulo, who also wants the bright yellow shirt to be abandoned.
Assumpção said he was disgusted to see Bolsonarista hardliners wear the jersey during anti-democratic and anti-social protests during the coronavirus pandemic, which killed more than 65,000 Brazilians.
« Bolsonaristas support a series of senseless and anti-democratic issues. They want to close the congress, they attacked health professionals and journalists. And I think we have reached a point where this can no longer continue, ”he said. “For me, it’s a fascist movement and they use the Brazilian flag and the colors of Brazil. ”
Not all progressive Brazilians support the idea, despite their outrage at Bolsonaro’s attacks on the environment, human rights, democracy and, more recently, his internationally condemned response to Covid-19.
Juca Kfouri, a leading sports writer and a leftist voice, said he understood the anger canarinho’s “Usurp” but could not abandon it. “You can’t let scammers steal your most personal belongings,” said Kfouri, 70, noting that he hadn’t given up on the colors of Brazil when the military dictatorship took over in 1970, and never wouldn’t do it now.
The anxiety of appropriation leads some progressives to try to recover the yellow rather than removing it. In recent weeks, several new pro-democracy groups and a leading newspaper, the Folha de São Paulo, have championed measures to combat the color of the far right.
“There is an attempt to crop the color yellow, so it is no longer a color linked only to Bolsonarism or conservatism, but rather democratic movements, ”said Sérgio Dávila, editor-in-chief of Folha.
Last month, the newspaper urged readers to wear yellow as part of a pro-democracy campaign it launched amid attacks on the Supreme Court and Congress by Bolsonaro fanatics. “We thought the Folha should also do its part to help save this color,” said Dávila.
Another campaign – #DevolvamNossaBandeira (#GiveBackOurFlag) – has received the support of prominent progressives, including politician Flávio Dino, musician Tico Santa Cruz and influencer Felipe Neto.
“Returning our flag to the fascists means giving up one of the most important symbols of our struggle,” Neto tweeted. “It’s the only flag we have and we have to get it back, even if it hurts our ego. ”
Many on the left reject the push to recover the yellow, arguing however that it plays in the hands of Bolsonaro. “I think wearing yellow means shooting yourself in the foot right now because yellow is identified with the Bolsonaro group. It is impossible to escape this fact, ”insisted Assumpção. “We have to wear white and blue in order to differentiate ourselves from Bolsonaro.”
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBP) has declared that it “does not want to express an opinion on” calls for the abolition of the yellow jersey.
Assumpção said that he was preparing to petition the organization and would continue to fight for his idea. “We have already changed our shirt once, in 1950,” he said. “Seventy years later, we can change it again.”