In the film City Of God, a narrative based on true events in the corrupt and forgotten areas of Brazil, a child rises to gang lord with the help of a crime organization ran by young, desperate, hoods policing and terrorizing a territory as a response to the cities economic downturn. As the plot unfolds the youth, as young as infants, sell narcotics for profit and are murdered in a self-policing city, meanwhile its characters are humanized as children; willingly drafted into crime organizations in the throws of a poorer countries inability to confront its epidemics.
Today, and since his arrival on Friday, Pope Francis has used his influence to address Mexico’s rising crime industry, similar to the one depicted in the film’s, urging the youth to refrain from joining it’s drug syndicates. A film like City Of God serves as an important artifact for current countries like Mexico; where today, the narcotics trade, violence, corruption, and chaos associated with it have left more than 100,000 people dead or missing in the last 10 years.
In Mexico, some 98 percent of murders are never solved, and crimes are seldom reported.
“I understand that often it is difficult to feel your value when you are continually exposed to the loss of friends or relatives at the hands of the drug trade, of drugs themselves, of criminal organizations that sow terror,” he told a youth gathering in Morelia, the capital of Michoacán, reported the NY Times. “It is hard to feel the wealth of a nation when there are no opportunities for dignified work, no possibilities for study or advancement, when you feel your rights are being trampled on, which then leads you to extreme situations.”Experts say with the Popes residency and historical religious background embedded in family structures that Mexican youth may think twice before joining cartels. David Shirk, a University of San Diego professor states, according to The NY Times, “Their devout mamas won’t like it.”
Indirectly, the Pope addressed the countries leadership’s failure to confront and make measurable changes to the growing statistics and crime organizations, but as The City Of God depicted so well, governments in countries with high crime rates turn the blind eye to these organizations for their funding on other areas, politically, and socially.
Entering a stadium on Tuesday evening, The Pope was greeted by thousands waving flags and singing, with shouts of “Olé, olé, olé, Francis” echoing through the arena, reported The NY Times. Perhaps catching that enthusiasm, he offered a message of hope along with his warnings, and urged everyone to continue dreaming because they were the wealth of the country.
And If The City Of God teaches us anything, it is that the issues that manifest these kind of crime organizations that draft a countries youth, are pertinent to poor leadership and negligence for communities with little to no education and failing economies outside of economic generating metropolis. Huge amounts of dollars need to be generated into these forgotten enclaves where its drug money makes the majority of its economy. It is safe to say that Mexico needs more than religion.