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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


Neilor Baldissera
(7th grade, Elementary Agricultural School 25 de Maio, Chico Mendes Settlement — Friburgo, state of Santa Catarina.) Reproduced with the permission of the MST São Paulo


Invasion undertaken
(The history of Brazil that has been covered is one of massacres and expulsions. Songs and poems are weapons for the peace of Brazil, a target of ambition.)

To speak of the age of Brazil, let us go back in time.
I know I can expose a farce
We know that everything has two faces,
but the one behind is not shown.

This country called Brazil
emerged 500 years ago.

The Indian did not ask to have his land invaded.

Brazil 500 years, when there was no border,
500 years of massacres and expulsion
from the true Brazilian nation.

All this they’ve done but the sun they covered with a screen.
All that’s happened in history remains to be seen.

The true heirs of this land will remain in our memory.
And through the working class they will never be deprived of glory.

The Indians who lived here
did not know this land as Brazil.
The lands were used up and then the invaders left.

Brazil, target of ambition,
Your children suffer from such great exploitation
that came 500 years ago
to this unjust nation.

In the cause of peace, songs and poetry are our gun,
no one can destroy them
as the past cannot be undone!

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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