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The Sights and Voices of Dispossession: The Fight for the Land and the Emerging Culture of the MST (The Movement of the Landless Rural Workers of Brazil)


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Emerging culture by media type -> Poems 46 resources (Edited by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Bernard McGuirk.)

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Culture: Canon of exclusion


Aracy Cachoeira


Five hundred years of farce (1)

A clearing in the sky, fireworks a-fizzing.
A clamour in the brushwood, an Indian lamenting.
The Whiteman commemorates what he thinks he discovered
The Indian laments what the Whiteman destroyed.
Champagne corks a-popping, the rich at table getting fat,
In the forest the Indian is weeping at the loss of nature.
Five hundred years of plunder, abandon and persecution,
Before the first inhabitants of this rich and famous nation.
Five hundred years of farce, of massacre and violence.
Five hundred years of struggle for survival.
Five hundred years of faith, of hope and resistance.
That's the Brazilian Indian, proving his existence.

1 Editor's note: A reference to the 500 years of the Discovery of Brazil by the Portuguese in 1500. The commemorative year brought a great amount of questioning, especially by the dispossessed, not only of the Portuguese 'invasion' and colonization, which represented for them exclusion and dispossession, but also a great number of protests against the commemoration itself.


November 2002

Resource ID:


Anthology of poems
A first-hand selection, unpublished in Brazil and elsewhere. A militant poetics; the social and political importance of the poet-singer (cantador), the construction of a canon of exclusion; the landless woman; the theme of death as life's horizon; the pedagogic project.
Else R P Vieira

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