The Rio Olympics, nature, solidarity, dance, music, optimism and joy!

The opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was, as everyone hoped, an explosion of music, colors, samba, happiness andoptimism, unity between people and peoples. A celebration of the happiness of being together and participating in sports competitions. Every four years I savor this moment, which I will not miss for anything in the world, for love of the great holidays and for the beauty of this show, one of the most anticipated planetary "shows" in the world. But this year, it makes even more sense to me: firstly because the Olympic Games are finally taking place in South America, in an emerging continent, valuing their presence and skills at the same level as western countries. Secondly, because I have a special attachment to Brazil, the same as to Cuba: countries that cultivate joy through music and dance. Screenshot (104) I am addicted to rhythms, and I played for several years in a Brazilian music group (a batucada), with immense joy. Percussion is for me the beat of the human soul,rhythm has been present in human cultures since their birth 200,000 years ago, the drum, made of wood and animal skin stretched and tanned, is the oldest instrument of humanity with the flute, cut from the bones.Brazilian rhythms were brought by African slaves and permeated the culture of the country even after the abolition of slavery in 1888. The Brazilian people are very mixed: Portuguese, Africans, Amerindians, and other European peoples, as in Cuba or the Dominican Republic, there are all the colors of skin that live in harmony in the same country. They are a people who, from revolution to disorder, have managed to create a magnificent mixture of all that their history has brought them. This is called a culture. And the way in which this country has represented itself and presented itself to the world makes it possible to understand it from within; the ceremonies organised by the countries hosting the Olympic Games speak to me a lot, of course. Stairs Celaron Rio de Janeiro Brazil is a perfect illustration of positive psychology, of voluntary joy,with all its ingredients. The sun, its light, an essential element of mental health. Colors, which naturally awaken joy. Sport, which maintains the body, regulates the mood, makes it possible to evacuate stress and anxieties, and to be in touch with others, especially with football (their religion) and volleyball (their national sport, often practiced on the beaches… how to join the pleasant to the pleasant!). It is the story of african slaves, who were able to resist their immense misfortune by fighting to exist in spite of everything. By keeping their music,which today permeates Brazilian music, especially in the North, in Bahia. This is capoeira, this very cunning way to preserve and work on their African wrestling techniques by disguising their fights in dance in colonial times. It took them a sacred psychological strength and THE good state of mind not only not to die, but to survive, and live, at the same time succeed in keeping and sublimate their own culture. These are the favelas, crucibles of poverty, where the new cultural, artistic and musical currents are being born. These are the samba schools, where even the poorest and lonely find a family and parade in front of hundreds of millions of people dressed in incredible costumes. It is a country where beggars do not despair of becoming rich and one day living in the rich districts of Ipanema or Copacabana. In their songs, even if there are problems, poverty and violence, we talk mainly about the joy of life. It is always to find a playful way to transform suffering, to sublimate it. To enjoy life as it is now, while still carrying thehope of having a better life.The mild climate helps a lot, the Brazilians themselves say… The Olympic Games are also a symbol of peace, of a world union for 15 days, where countries, for once, clash peacefully and rejoice together, among human beings, between human bodies, between human souls, where everyone has the opportunity to realise their dream of a medal. In contrast to economic, political and real wars, those in which men, women and children bleed and die. Like Pierre de Coubertin, I believe in fraternity,and yet I am far from being naïve. Solidarity is a gigantic force that can make a difference. The Olympics are a shot ofoptimism and a good and real opportunity to party. It is a source of motivation,when we see athletes from poor countries, having experienced the war, or the Olympic team of refugees, who have managed to believe in their dreams to the end and are 10 to be present to fight, to win, despite everything. Their heroism is just a lesson in courage and life. Here is for example thestory of Yolande.

Originally from Bukavu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, she fled the civil war that devastated the country between 1998 and 2003. The bloodiest armed conflict in the history of contemporary Africa – an "African world war,"experts will say. Yolande was 10 years old. She discovered judo in the Kinshasa refugee camp.But the training conditions are becoming more unbearable every day. "If we came back from an event without a medal, we were mistreated, fed only a little bread and coffee for several days." The young woman was exhausted when, in 2013, she was in Rio for the world championships. She and another judoka took the opportunity to make herself beautiful and found refuge in Caritas, the human rights association, a stone'sthrow from the Maracana stadium. […]She hopes that this sudden global notoriety "can change [her] life. Maybe it will help me find the trace of my loved ones and allow me to bring them here.Now Brazilian, the young judoka says she can no longer remember either her mother's face or that of her siblings. […] "If my father and brothers see me on television, I will be able to give them my number," she imagines.  I would love to see them again…More than a medal, it would be her victory: "I lost everything in my life. There, perhaps I can regain something.»

It means the creation of an Olympic Prize that rewards for its first edition Kipchoge Keino, an orphan, poor, born in the depths of Africa, who became a gold medalist and philanthropist, and who continued the work of peace of the Olympics by creating schools for the most neglected children of his country, Kenya. He himself was lucky enough to be spotted by an American athlete who came to Africa to detect talents and help them make a career in the sport, after winning his own medals. Believing in solidarity and creating a virtuous circle… Brazil OJ Rio 2016 Screenshot (81) Brazil OJ Rio 2016 Screenshot (95) It is to light the flame, immense honor, by an athlete… loser, Vanderlei de Lima, who could not win the marathon event at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Stopped in his race in the lead by an unbalanced, he won only the bronze medal. Another vision of the human, valued for his courage and honor more than for his sporting performances alone. Screenshot (110) It is the enhancement of Brazil's new ecological struggle to safeguard its treasure: the 8 million square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest. The image of rings made up of shrubs, and the idea of giving a seed to each athlete to plant and thus symbolically participate in reforestation… Brazil has (finally) embarked on a major ecological policy to save its territories in the Northeast, rich agricultural land, eden of life where an incredible variety of fruits and vegetables grows. It is this moving moment when the native Americans, forest peoples, enter the scene and dance with their forest, finally giving them the recognition and visibility they deserve. Three billion human beings watched this ceremony. A unique opportunity to get these beautiful messages across. Screenshot (117) Indigenous American people Brazil Rio 2016 Olympics Planting trees forest Amazonia Brazil Rio 2016 OLYMPICS Symbol peace with nature Brazil Rio Olympics 2016 The Rio Olympics, nature, solidarity, dance, music, optimism and joy,an article by Sophie Girardot.The text of this article is the property of its author and may not be used without his consent and under certain conditions. Sources / Credits

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Sophie Barbarella

Writer and Public Speaker

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