Faculty Writing: Pandemic and the Language of Warfare, and Brazil’s Militarized Police

For The New Republic, Joseph Osmundson questions the invocation of the language of warfare during pandemic, its purpose and its failures. Regarding Trump’s declaration, Osmundson writes: “This was a ‘war’ we were destined to lose. That’s not because we lack the resources necessary to implement the non-pharmaceutical interventions—distancing, mask use, hand washing—that we know work. It’s because a virus, the supreme agent of mass death in human history, will never be dominated. Covid-19 can’t currently be beaten. It can only be lived with.”

In The Baffler, Nara Roberta Silva traces the militarized history of Brazil’s police force and the treatment of Brazilian streets as a warzone. “Neoliberal policies meant community investment was out of the question. Instead, conservative officials and the mainstream media colluded to drum up fears about a “crime crisis” among the poor, which in turn gave the green light to truculent and even punitive police actions. It is a vicious circle that will be familiar to American readers.”

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