#3. The Zipline Kids
This is Daisy Mora, an 11 year-old girl, pulling some commando crap so crazy that you'd call bullshit on it in a video game. There's a YouTube video of her taking this zipline, and despite what one would reasonably assume, it does not show the girl desperately screaming for her mommy while her callous and irresponsible uncle laughs from the launch platform. She not only ziplines by choice, but has done so on this ramshackle, ancient setup - situated over 1200 feet in the air - twice a day, every day, for her entire life.
In fact, her whole village has to take this dilapidated, rusting cable, precariously strung roughly the height of the empire state building above the valley floor, because it's simply the only way to get around. There are no roads or bridges to their village, and not enough people live there to warrant further construction. So to get to school, Daisy straps on her self-built hook and harness, grabs the bit of stick that is her only brake in one hand and her travel sack in the other, then hurtles down a rattling steel cable at highway speeds across certain death.
Oh, and that travel sack? It's not school supplies or lunch or any such nonsense; it's her 7 year old sister, who's too small to take the zip line herself, so just rides over the abyss in a god damn bag.
#2. The 'Lil Arsonists
This image is referred to as 'Disaster Girl' in the dark, musty corners of the internet where people communicate entirely in retarded strains of hieroglyphics that consist solely of recirculated pictures and hasty, tangential photoshops. The Disaster Girl meme, in the few short years it's been around, has already been driven into the ground like the fucking Technodrome. But despite what some articles say, the original image itself was not photoshopped. It's completely real: Her name is Zoe Roth, and the picture was taken by her father Dave back in 2008, when the Mebane Fire Department burned down a home on their block for training purposes.
Some of the kids laughed and played at fireman, some were even allowed to hold hoses, while some simply listened to lectures. But some children were not content with games. Some children did not respond to logic, or reason. Some children did not want to play, learn, or listen.
Some children? Some children just wanted to watch the world burn.
Zoe was one of them, but she was far from alone...
#1. Riot Kid
The Riot Kid photo has become an icon for resistance despite overwhelming odds. It's easy to see why: This is a pure visual representation of the most powerful thing in the world - that unique slurry of bravery, fury and complete lack of self-preservation that can topple governments and tear down entire societies. The riot kid is simultaneously inspiring, funny, and awesome, and if you don't want to whip a bottle into a corrupt wall of faceless facist automatons after seeing this, then congratulations on finding this website through the ReThink filter, worker #264XJ6, but authorities have been alerted and are on their way. Please remain calm and fill out form 27b stroke 6 while you await their arrival, to best facilitate your transition to the Purification Factories.
For the rest of us, Riot Kid is emblematic of every wandering fuck not given. He's scrawny, alone, half the size of his enemies, and he just does not seem to care. Those cops are going to get their god damn heads bashed open, and that is just a fact; the sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and some motherfuckers are going to get their mullet-helmets caved in today.
Once again, this kind of photo doesn't seem to need context, but context still changes everything. The picture originally comes from photographer Evandro Monteiro, and was taken during a police action in Sao Paulo, Brazil. And while we look at an image like this and recognize what it inspires in us all, we still kind of assume the kid was just joking around. The boy probably didn't know what he was doing at the time; he was just making funny faces at the cops until his panicked mother could sprint in and sweep him away. But then here's another image of the riot kid from Monteiro's portfolio that implies otherwise:
So not only was he actually standing out in that street, alone, hurling rocks at the police (which is way more impetus than they need in Sao Paulo to beat some ghetto kid to death,) but he was so overcome with rage afterward that he stripped to the waist, slammed his jacket to the dirt, puffed out his chest and dared them to make a move. This was not a joke, or a childish prank. This was life or death.
The photographer has this child tagged as a 'street boy.' That's not a generic descriptor. In Sao Paulo 'street child' refers to a specific type of young homeless in the city. There are thousands, if not millions of them in Brazil, and they're largely considered pests. Roughly 20% of police homicides in Sao Paulo are minors. In fact, the street children are so reviled that in some places, local shopkeepers and low-level politicians actually put out bounties on their heads to the tune of about $50 per kid. As a result, masked death squads rove the streets of Brazil at night, eliminating children.
And while that knowledge is incredibly awful, and gut-churning, and heart-dropping, and just makes you want to burn this whole miserable species to the ground and hope that nature knows enough to start from scratch this time, it also drastically magnifies the importance of this image.
This is not the same as a white, English-speaking child playing at revolutionary because he's got the implied protection of society. This boy is not joking, and he is not safe. If he's really a 'street child,' then those cops he's challenging are the men that might make half a week's pay for murdering him, and would face little to no reprisal for it. And if he really is a 'street child,' then he is utterly alone up there: It's unlikely any of the other people in those photos have a vested interest in whether he lives or dies.
And he simply does.
Because there is nothing on this earth - not overwhelming odds, nor brutal police states, nor fear, nor violence, nor the kind of horrible, devouring apathy that makes things like death squads for children possible - that will ever, from now until the heat death of this whole screwed universe, force this kid to sit down and put his fucking shirt back on.
If you were going to spend any time looking for places to follow Robert or buying his stupid book, please instead spend that time visiting and possibly donating to a fund for street children, like Action for Brazil's Children.