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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


Galdino in heaven (1)

The smoke rose up, 'til in the sky it stopped, and with it, Galdino
He introduced himself to God,
Saying Lord my God, to the land that left me came the cowards
that threw me off.
When I went to react, I was touched by fire, in the country's capital
my body went up in flames.
It's fire, it's suicide, illness, poverty, sorrow,
Pataxó, Maxacali, Ianomâmi, Kaiowá,
Ticuna, Guajajara, Guarani, Xacriabá(2) .
Not one escapes the saga,
Of the evil-doers down on earth,
Our people are peaceful,
We want to hear of war no more.
Help, Lord my God,
The Indians left down there
Help, help I pray.
If things get no better
At the turn of the millennium
No Indians will be left.
The smoke rose up, 'til in the sky it stoppedÖ
And with it GaldinoÖ

1 Editor's note: Galdino Jesus dos Santos, 44 years old, of the indigenous tribe Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hã, was a counselor in his community, located in the south of Bahia. He arrived in Brasília with a delegation of more than eight leaders of his people, on April 17, 1997, for a series of meetings relating to the ownership rights of a property with an area of five farms located on native lands. In the early hours of April 20, 1997, Galdino was sleeping at a bus-stop in W-3 south, when he woke up on fire. Five young men of the upper middle-class, aged 17 to 19, had doused him with two litres of inflammable alcohol for the 'joke' of setting fire to his clothes. With burns on 95% of his body, he died the next day. The result of the trial - the jury's conviction of the defendants for homicide for base motives and cruelty to a defenceless victim - was seen by the Indigenous Missionary Council as a recovery of hope and a discouragement to impunity.

2 Editor's note: Pataxó, Maxacali, Ianomâmi, Kaiowá, Ticuna, Guajajara, Guarani and Xacriabá are native peoples who inhabited Brazil and neighbouring countries.


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A first-hand selection, unpublished in Brazil and elsewhere.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