The Holocaust float at the Rio Carnival

UPDATE
Follow-up: Judge bans Holocaust-themed Rio Carnival float


Via Maria,
Holocaust-themed Rio Carnival float causes strain
A Carnival float with a pile of model dead bodies commemorating the Holocaust is causing unease before the lavish parades in Rio de Janeiro this weekend.

The Viradouro samba organization, or school, plans to feature the grim display when it marches in the Sambadrome parade strip on Sunday, despite objections from a local Jewish group.

More at Australia’s ABC News

In dramatic contrast to the floats carrying sequined, scantily clad dancers smiling and gyrating, the Holocaust entry will show only motionless, skeletal figures piled on top of each other.

Its creator defended the float, which will move along under the theme “It’s Horrifying”.

“It’s a very respectful float. It’s going to depict it [the Holocaust] as a sort of alarm, so that it never be repeated,” the creator, Paulo Barros, said.

“I believe the carnival is also a way of showing what happens in the world,” he said.

At first glance I found it obscene, but I sent the link to a Brazilian friend.

My friend explained that the Carnival season is not only a time for a huge party (obviously), but also a time for social discussion and critique. Many social issues are brought to public attention during this time of the year.

The intention of the Viadoro group who came up with the float is to bring the Holocaust back to people’s minds. My friend says,

it is intended to be very shocking, very lifelike, to show the horrors of the Holocaust even during a very festive occasion

Additionally, the Viadoro are singling out this float by not having people on it as a show of respect. The purpose of the float is to bring the Holocaust back to public view, lest people forget it.

Nothing could be more public than a float down the Sambodromo.

Having considered my friend’s comments, I think that this may be a very effective way to highlight Holocaust awareness. The question remains, is the setting appropriate?

I invite my readers to add their comments.

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7 Responses to “The Holocaust float at the Rio Carnival”

  1. Sigmund, Carl and Alfred Says:

    If a float in the Rio Carnival is an effective way to raise awareness, I’m all for it.

    For more than one generation of merry makers, the Holocaust is no more than a chapter in a book.

    This float (a serious expression) and the respectful ideas behind it, is a good idea, in my opinion.

    Taste and culture are very differently things in different places. If this float causes discussion and awareness of the Holocaust in that community, the sponsors have succeeded.

  2. Janette Says:

    It’s a shocking image as it is, just imagine it surrounded by Carnival revelers!

    I get the point and I applaud the effort to raise awareness but the setting makes me uncomfortable. It just seems to be very disrespectful of the survivors and the families of the victims.

    If the images depicted were gruesome reproductions of 9/11 victims, how would we feel then?

  3. Conservative Belle Says:

    Interesting. I wonder if they would allow a float that showed aborted fetuses for “social discussion.”

    People who do that in the US are ridiculed and scorned. Just sayin’…

    It doesn’t bother me, regardless. However, parents, particularly of small children, may have a different perspective on the appropriateness.

  4. Nicki Says:

    It sounds like the Carnival is the ~perfect~ venue to raise awareness. I’m all for it!

  5. Beth Says:

    At first, when I saw “Holocaust float at Carnival,” I was horrified, thinking it seems so…celebratory. But I think it’s being done the right way, and I like how it’s something you can’t help but stop and notice among the other things going on. Good for them for raising awareness!

  6. Carolyn Says:

    I think it’s a mistake. It will backfire in the organizer’s faces because of the anger and disgust from the parade goers. The Carnival is a time for merrymaking and good times – to suddenly have something gruesome like that thrust in people’s faces will make them angry that their good time has been spoiled, that they’ve been made uncomfortable or embarrassed. In short, something well-intentioned will have spawned very BAD intentions.

    Just think of it – would you want that at your wedding? As people are applauding the bride and groom, as they’re raising their glasses in a toast, suddenly someone stands up and waves a sign of aborted fetuses or 9/11 victims leaping in flames to their death. Like I said, right thing at the wrong time and place.

    When you ask for the compassion of others, you must also give that compassion in return. And this float in Carnival isn’t doing that – it’s demanding but not giving. I say ‘no’ to that float. It’s the right thing at the wrong time.

  7. Greta Perry Says:

    First off kids attend Carnival, is that fair to them? Is that a way to remind them? I am all for reminding people of awareness of issues, but that is absolutely not the venue! In New Orleans, we have a social humor and awareness parade that is not suitable for children!