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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


Cláudia Ramos
(9 years old, 3rd grade, Elementary School, Escola Che Guevara, the Antônio Conselheiro Settlement, in Tangará da Terra, state of Mato Grosso.) Reproduced with the permission of the MST São Paulo


The Brazil We Want
(a Brazil where there are jobs, where everyone is equal and has medical care.)

We want a Brazil where there is employment, where everyone is equal. A fair salary to live on, for today hunger and poverty are the results of unemployment.

People have a lot of children and are poor, sometimes they commit suicide or have their children ask for food and money on the street, and they are called beggars.

There are people who today earn R$100 (one-hundred reais) on which to feed their children. Others are slaves at their work, where they receive a plate of food and a bed in exchange for their labor.

We want a Brazil where there is more hospital care, more medical attention given at the health posts.

Where there is hunger, health is lacking, or: undernourished children, adults dying from disease, and old people standing at the doors of hospitals for lack of attention. All this is due to the lack of better resources for the hospitals. Sometimes people are seen to, but since they are poor, the doctors give them old medicine and vaccines for pregnant women: the baby and the mother die. Others, because of incurable diseases like AIDS, are abandoned.

Nowadays, only the rich are healthy, because they have money and when they get sick they go directly to a private doctor. The doctors get so many things for the rich person to survive that the heart dies and they hook up machines to the brain - everything to make more money.

We want a Brazil where there are public schools, because nowadays the resources for study are very difficult for people who live in distant parts, where there are not schools or school-buses. And that is why illiteracy is common in Brazil.

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


November 2002

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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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