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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


Sâmara Cuquetto Batista
(8th grade, 14 years old, The 27 de outubro Settlement - São Mateus, state of Espírito Santo.) Reproduced with the permission of the MST São Paulo


Brazil, how old are you?
(Problematizes "Holy" in "Holy Cross", one of the names of colonial Brazil, and the view of the Portuguese scribe, Pero Vaz de Caminha, that whatever was planted in Brazil would grow.)

Brazil “Holy” Land
Land of Indians, blacks, and whites
Land of Portuguese, English, and Spanish
Land of Brazilians
Land of all times and peoples
Land of ten, twenty thousand years
Or is it only five-hundred years?

Brazil, how old are you?
Everyone knows...500 years
Of exploitation, invasion, colonization.
But of existence?

Since when has this “Holy” land existed
Since always?

Land where “everything that is planted grows”[1]
Brazil, land of rich and poor, whites and blacks,
exploiters and exploited.

What “Holy” Land is this?
Ill-divided land
Land of marvelous cities
Mixed land.

Land of joy and sadness, of loves and the beloved,
Of music and song,
Of soccer and carnival,
In short, land of everything and everyone.

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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Project Director & Academic Editor: Else R P Vieira
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Last updated: July 5th 2016