“My father and his cousin created the first drug dealing territory in this favela back in the 60’s. It was a very violent place back then. Before my father came along—anyone with a weapon had absolute power. There was no law. There was no police to turn to. There were many homicides, burglaries, and rapes. My father played an important role. It was a cruel role, but it was important. He had to clean up the favela. The criminals weren’t just going to leave. They had to be erased. And my father did that job. He was a tiny man. He dressed well. He was educated, and polite, and humble. To many people he wasn’t a good person. But he was a righteous person. I didn’t follow in my father’s footsteps. I became a photographer and an activist. But I don’t see my father as a bad man. He brought rules to this place. And today’s drug traffickers enforce those same rules. This favela is one of the safest places in the city. Stealing is not allowed here. You can’t rape. You can’t hit a woman. Yes, there is violence. Because the police are always fighting the drug traffickers. But if the drug traffickers were gone tomorrow, the favela would be a far more dangerous place.” (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Original post (with photo!) here: Humans of New York.
Thank you, Brandon.