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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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Cultural categories by media type: The media specificity of landless cultural expression.

Cultural category:

 History: Marches, defining moments, congresses

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History: Massacres and martyrs


Charles Trocate


The name of violence

The treadmill of violence
Is at work,
Its apparatchiks bring death to the people
One by one!

The newspapers announce
The indignation of the law
And we proclaim in the streets of the 17th of April
The effervescent word
So rare in our time…
Our patient waiting,
Waits no longer
The primitive voice of the crowd echoes
Through the courts, taking their dictionaries,
It opens up the roads with the justice
Of our banners.

Those unfamiliar with all this, don't know
The colour of our blood, the memory
Of our anthems…
And the aims of our utopia,
Hunger swallowing decrees.

We look at
The intransigence of the dictators
Digging graves in our mornings
And handing down their sentences,
How long will there be but prison
For those condemned to misery?
We bear heavy burdens of insult
But we never die!

We are not disinherited
Of the land,
We march to its bursting forth
We know our legitimate rights
As we know too its certain gunshots
And its nightmares!

We shall make from unequal battle
The beauty of victory!
From the place of dying,
The place of dreaming
From the place of yielding,
The step ever forward

Poems : Edited by Else R P Vieira. Translation © Bernard McGuirk.


November 2002

Resource ID:


Anthology of poems
A first-hand selection, unpublished in Brazil and elsewhere. A militant poetics; the social and political importance of the poet-singer (cantador), the construction of a canon of exclusion; the landless woman; the theme of death as life's horizon; the pedagogic project.
Else R P Vieira

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