Multiple social media posts claim that the recent torrential rainfall in Brazil was supposedly a result of the mockery of Christ during the 2023 carnival.
“Brazil has tested little power of God a day after mocking God,” says the title of a Facebook video that has now gone viral.
In another post with over 1.2 million views, a Nigerian skit maker shared the viral video of the Brazilian carnival, with the caption: “Immediately Brazilians finished mocking God with their carnival, God destroyed their city with heavy rainfall.”
In the widely viewed Facebook post, with 56k likes and over 6.1k comments, the comedian infused a narration stating that a day after the 2023 carnival, where Christ was suggestively mocked during a dramatic show of artistic display, heavy rainfall with devastating effect was recorded in Brazil.
Another Facebook user posted images from the purported 2023 carnival with images of flooding not related to Brazil.
The post said: “Flood kills dozens in Brazil the day after mocking Jesus at a satanic parade. Heavy rains and floods in São Paulo state, Brazil, killed at least 36 people on Sunday 25th February 2023, after the Rio Carnival. The city of São Sebastião was one of the hardest hit with dozens of people missing after at least 50 houses collapsed.”
The post also made it to Twitter, Tiktok, and YouTube.
In the circulating video a performer in red, depicting the devil, can be seen beating and torturing another character, stripped to the waist – looking like Christ when he was heading to the cross. The scene has been widely interpreted as the triumph of the devil over Jesus, in an attempt seeming to mock Christ.
Is the circulating video from the February 2023 carnival in Brazil, and how true is the claim that 24 hours after the dramatic performance, São Paulo was hit with devastating rainfall which led to deaths and destruction?
A combination of keyword search and reverse image search on the keyframes revealed that the viral skit suggesting the mockery of Christ was performed four years ago.
Checks by TheCable revealed that the skit was performed in March 2019, by Gaviões da Fiel, a Samba school, during the 2019 carnival in Brazil. The video, as seen on YouTube, has gathered over three million views in the last four years.
The controversial skit attracted a lawsuit filed by the World Christian League. The lawsuit accused the carnival skit of being blasphemous, hence, demanded compensation of 5 million reais for moral damages.
However, in 2022, Gaviões da Fiel won the lawsuit. The court of justice declared that the performance did not intend to “make the image of Jesus unworthy” or “downgrade” it.
Nonetheless, the judge acknowledged that: “From a subjective point of view, some people, due to their faith, may have felt uncomfortable seeing the greatest symbol of their religion be defeated by the figure that represents evil.”
The declaration added that the artistic performance “may be questioned as to its good taste”, however, it “constitutes a corollary of the fundamental right of freedom of expression”.
The 2023 carnival in Brazil kicked off on February 17 and lasted till February 22. This year’s edition was highly anticipated due to the fact that the annual event was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also the 2022 edition was reported to have been a watered-down version.
BRAZIL RECORDS ITS HIGHEST RAINFALL EVER
According to the National Center for Disaster Monitoring Prediction in Brazil, the accumulation of rainfall in February 2023, in the cities of the north coast of São Paulo was the highest recorded in the country’s history. The previous high was in 2022.
Tarcísio de Freitas, governor of São Paulo, described the disaster as “one of the worst incidents of flooding and landslides” in the state.
On February 19, while the carnival was ongoing, heavy rainfall stormed the coastal region of the most populous South American nation. As a result of the rainfall and the flooding disaster, residents had to be evacuated from their homes.
The rain was reported to have continued till the end of February, truncating the ability of emergency workers to rescue and send relief materials to victims.
Also, the 2023 carnival activities were canceled in affected areas.
The claim that the viral skit – interpreted as the mockery of Christ – led to the 2023 flood is misleading. The skit was performed in 2019, four years ahead of the devastating rainstorm recorded last February in Brazil.
This content was produced with support from the Independent Media Response Fund, an initiative of the Check Global Program at Meedan to respond to global challenges through hyperlocal initiatives. The fund is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
This article was first published on TheCable.