Friday, July 26, 2013

The "slum pope" & other lies

There are those who buy the humble pie schtick of Pope Francis. Well there’ll always be a special place in heaven for the credulous--though their political value on planet Earth is tedious as all get-out. Sentimentality is a sorry substitute for sound judgement.

Media now dubs our man the “slum pope” for his brief visit to Varghina, a favela in Rio de Janeiro now occupied by Brazilian troops & riot police & according to media reports,  “so violent it’s known by locals as the Gaza Strip.” The locals apparently have an irony that escapes well-heeled reporters: Gazans are subject to Israeli siege & bombardment & are not the perpetrators of violence. Get it now boys!?

Thanks to the pope’s visit Varghina got spruced up (just a bit; no need to go overboard): a few street lights were installed, a road was paved, & the garbage was collected, at least along the pope’s route. The favela is reportedly a dusty, uninhabitable place sitting between two putrid waterways full of raw sewage--which may explain why the pope made a beeline in & out of the place.

Reporters claim Francis received a “rapturous” welcome from the residents. Then could they explain why security was so damn tight, with police helicopters, sharpshooters atop buildings, cops posted every 5 feet (2 meters), & metal barricades holding the “ecstatic” crowds back!?

Francis was there to give benediction to a new altar--not a health clinic or school. But in that benediction our man really got tough. He “blasted” (no less) the "culture of selfishness & individualism" that permeates society today & demanded those with money & power share their resources to fight hunger & poverty. Wow, those are fighting words! They’re just not worth a hoot in terms of papal action.

Pictures are always worth a thousand lies. It’s been impossible to find a photo of Francis surrounded by those rapturous favela residents. The caption to this photo is “People greet Pope Francis as he visits the Varginha slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.” Do those “people” look like favela residents to you or more like papal minions & undercover cops?

(Photo by Victor R. Caivano/AP)

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