Roney and Claudiney’s story represents not only their tragic lives, but the lives of so many underprivileged children in both the world’s poorest and wealthiest countries, abandoned by our neglect and our insatiable appetite for self gain. Greed has no class or colour.
Two beloved brothers, united by their involuntary dependency to the streets, forced upon them in childhood by the insecurities of a malfunctioning home and parents.
Roney, the youngest and a born leader, was to meet his match in the face of Brazil’s brutal and almost untouchable street kid killers. I told that story in Last Conversation... and still dread to think of his last fighting moments, grabbed from the streets by those barbarians during the early hours of the morning, in front of the closed bakery that he had tried to break in to and then forced into the back seat of the killer’s car together with his 11-year old street colleague, Julio César, only to be rushed off to the chosen killing grounds just a few hundred metres from our street kids recuperation centre in the urban outskirts of the city.
Claudiney’s sudden and unexpected death just five months after his younger brother’s killing seemed a mystery for those who didn’t know him better.
I have pondered on those ever since that dreaded afternoon when they called me at home to say that he had been hurt, but how bad it was nobody could say. The only thing I do know though is that the sight of seeing his lonely soul laid to rest in the open coffin in the morgue will forever remain embossed in my memory.
How did it happen? Who was responsible? Who is to blame? Why.......? Far too many who’s, why’s and how’s as I stared through tearful eyes into his bruised but innocent face laid on a cushion of withering white Chrysanthemums.
Street kids don’t die that easily, you know. They quite often survive the perils that most human beings from any “normal” lifestyle would easily succumb to. Almost like cats with nine lives, they can afford to take risks and they do........
So why did Claudiney suddenly give up everything and everyone he believed was helping him to cope with Roney’s murder? Maybe his longing to be together with the brother he loved more than anyone in this world was far stronger than his will to survive in such a treacherous world.
Why did Claudiney visit his brother’s tomb only three hours before his own death, leaving two fresh white roses there? Although according to the kids who were with him at the time, he did so every week since giving up everything and everyone he once believed in. You see, he would never give up Roney. That he was sure about....
Why didn’t Claudiney stop running on seeing the heavy traffic on the main road, whilst the other two kids who were still with him at the time did so? A cold chill down my spine as I remembered his warnings to me on several occasions; that he might just find a way to be together with Roney again....., but how?
They all said so..., all but the kids who were together with him on that terrifying moment. I also knew that Claudiney was far too wise and alert to be hit by a heavy truck, unless he wanted to.
The driver’s insurance money paid for his burial and that was about all it paid for. I mean, he was only a street kid you know and who really cares about street kids in Brazil? Who cares about street kids anywhere?
Who cared about Claudiney’s painful experience of losing his brother?
We cared, but the system didn’t really care........
Who cared about Roney’s brutal murder?
We cared, but the system didn’t really want to know........, neither did the family. They were too frightened that Claudiney and others would meet the same terrifying death if they filed a case against the killers.
In the end, who really cared about Claudiney?
I suppose we did too, but that was against all the odds of a system that couldn’t really give a damn about street kids.
So who’s to blame? The system? But we are all part of that system...
...and still we let this happen everyday, because there are Roney’s and Claudiney’s all over the world that only have a failing system to turn to.
At least these two had us who really cared.........., but that was obviously not enough!