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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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Studies, statements & references -> Statements by Intellectuals and Artists 13 resources (Compiled by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Bernard McGuirk.)

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Chico Buarque de Hollanda
(Composer, singer and writer. Unbroken career of success for over three decades. An exponent of the politically-committed strain of Brazilian Popular Music. Translated by Bernard McGuirk.)


Marshland Cross
(Song: children starving in the rural areas. March towards the big town. Menial jobs, if at all, in the urban centres.)

The news
At Marshland Cross
Is that the urchins
Feed on light
Children turning blue
There at Marshland Cross
They cross Brazilian skies
In the bus-station
Taking on a thousand shapes
Some sell smokes
Others think that they are Jesus
Many blind play hurdy-gurdy
Playing Blues
Some miss home
While dancing to the band’s old tunes
Some throw stones
Others wander naked
But there are millions of these folk
Who disguise themselves so well
That no one asks
Where they come from
They are gardeners
Night-guards, couples
They are passengers
Plumbers, nannies
They donít remember any more
That there is a Marshland Cross
That they were children
And that they once ate light
They are janitors
They dangle from building-sites
They are ticket-sellers
Sweet-vendors and waiters
They donít even remember
That there is a Marshland Cross
That they were children
And that they once ate light

1 Editor’s note: The song translated here, with the author's permission, was recorded by Chico to accompany the exhibition Terra, by Sebastião Salgado.


November 2002

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