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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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The Struggle for land: Dispossession, journeys, occupation, eviction


Zé Pinto


For a new reality

Where are they headed
So clearly committed
Yellow with dust
On an open truck (1)
With long-suffering look
And a song of revolt
Like someone who's discovered
Where the road leads,
Men, women and children,
Joined as brothers under one flag?
This is a landless people
They've signed up for war
They'll sow the seeds
Of a new agrarian world.

1 Editor's note: Back of a truck: The term used in Portuguese is "pau-de-arara", literally a stick for macaws to perch on. The term metaphorically describes the trucks used for the transportation mostly of the retirantes/migrants from the North-East. The truck has got rustic and very uncomfortable wooden seats and a canvas covering. The long and inhumane travels on the pau-de-arara from the states of Paraíba or Pernambuco to Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo could last some 20 days. The famous São Cristóvão fair emerged as a meeting point and farewell for those using this means of transportation. The term pau-de-arara is also used in the southern states as a pejorative reference to those who migrated from the North-East.


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A first-hand selection, unpublished in Brazil and elsewhere.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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