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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 categories -> Culture: Hopes and aspirations 25 resources (Cultural categories devised by & © Else R P Vieira)

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Children's compositions


Valéria da Silva Lopes
(6th grade, 13 years old, Roberto Remigi Elementary School, Paulo Freire Group - Castanhal, state of Pará.) Reproduced with the permission of the MST São Paulo


My Brazil, how old are you?
(Deconstruction of the myth of racial democracy as the Indians, blacks and whites are discriminated races. Brazil is a dependent country, of marginalized people who construct a history of resistance.)

My Brazil,
Beloved country,
Beauty resides
In the colors of your flag.
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Brazil of the Indian,
Blacks and mulattos,
Mixture of discriminated races
Like no other people,
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Brazil of undernourished children
Country of prostitutes and street children,
Unworthy History.
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Brazil of the urban and farm workers,
The mass movements,
Brazil of the quilombos,
The Cabanos and Palmares,
Are these the histories of struggles
Our people have undergone?
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Brazil of the popular poets
Of gold and silver,
There is international greed.
Brazil of the orchids
That still perfume the beyond.
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Brazil of hope,
Of folklore and carnival,
You are like no one else,
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Brazil, you are still not Brazil,
You still speak the currency language
That makes neoliberalism
An unequal system.
Brazil of the rank-and-file,
Men and women, where do you come from?
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Brazil of the democratic farce,
You are still dependent.
Let us make of our utopia
A different Brazil,
Make dreams come true, socialism too.
My Brazil,
How old are you?

Children's compositions : Organized by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Thomas Burns.


November 2002

Resource ID:


Life Projects: The Brazil we want.
The children’s texts included here come from a collection of prize-winning essays of the National Contest for Essays and Drawings organized by the MST Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra [Movement of the Landless Rural Workers], in 1998, when the Movement was fifteen years old. The contest included elementary schools of the encampments and settlements all over Brazil.

The winning essays were published in an anthology titled Desenhando o Brasil [Drawing Brazil], organized by Alípio Freire, Silvana Panzoldo and Emílio Alonso (São Paulo: Editora Lidador, 1999). The data on the authors were obtained from the same anthology. All the essays originally had the general title "The Brazil We Want." The specific sub-titles added were derived from the texts of each author. The texts are here republished with the authorization of the MST of São Paulo.

Else R. P. Vieira. Translated by Thomas L. Burns

See also: The compositions and poems of the little landless: history under revision

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