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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 -> History: Marches, defining moments, congresses 48 resources (Cultural categories devised by & © Else R P Vieira)

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Children's compositions


Olair Nunes dos Santos
(Nova Sociedade State school, Itapuí Settlement, Nova Santa Rita, state of Rio Grande do Sul.) Reproduced with the permission of the MST São Paulo


15 Years of MST
(Child tells the story of the MST since its formalization in Paraná. She personifies the MST in a first-person narrative.)

I was planned in the south, in the womb of many thinkers and needy people.

I spent a lot of time there being discussed and evaluated. They discussed my name, and I was born with several religions and political tendencies.

What would my color be?

In the end, I was born in January, 1984 , in Cascavel, Paraná. I had 16 godfathers and they gave me the name of MST. This took place from January 21 to 24, and yet my birth was registered only in 1985, with 1500 witnesses. They gave me a slogan: without land there is no democracy. Today, I have several names: I am Brazilian, I am known all over the world, with my red color clasping the scythe and the machete. I am on the latifundia, on the streets and in the thatched huts.

I was mocked, stepped on, shot. I have cried many times, I have dried blood and tears, I have smiled, sung, shouted, fought to defend myself, talked a lot, have educated, fed, produced, grown in every corner of the continent, and I have cried out:

MST: the struggle is for real!

I almost died, I have children, mother and father, millions have adopted me, I created resistance. Eventually, I was in the newspapers, on television and the radio, in short, from mouth to mouth of men, women, and children, even the young, with their strength and determination.

At this very important moment of my existence, I invite all to celebrate on this vast field of fallow land, enormous, enormous latifundia, the open green fields, rich soils, to celebrate my 15 years of struggles and victories. We all join together from the country and the city in a fraternal embrace.

With a Brazil for everyone, with shared land.

Agrarian Reform Now!

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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