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THE PEDAGOGY OF STEEL
A PEDAGOGIA DOS AÇOS
PEDRO TIERRA
Translation by Rosaliene Bacchus
Chastized
brutalized,
landless
small farmers
languish.
Locked outside
the fence.

HAIKU POEM
ROSALIENE BACCHUS

Candelária,
Carandirú,
Corumbiara,
Eldorado dos Carajás
...
The pedagogy of steel
strikes down the body
this merciless geography ...

A hundred years ago
Canudos,
Contestado
Caldeirão
...

The pedagogy of steel
strikes down the body
this merciless geography ...

There is a nation of men
excluded from the nation.
There is a nation of men
excluded from life.
There is a nation of silent men
excluded by every word.
There is a nation of men
fighting behind the fences.
There is a nation of men
without face,
buried in the mud,
without name
buried by silence.

They walk around
the wire fences
illuminated by fire
of the camps.

They walk around the wall of laws
and fastened in the chest
a pump that pulsates:
the dream of the free land.

Is the dream worth a life?
I don’t know. But I learned
of the scarce life I ruined:
death does not dream.

Life is worth so little
from outside the fence ...

Is the land worth a dream?
The land is worth infinite
reserves of cruelty,
inside the fence.

Today, the silence
weighs like the eyes of a child
after the fusillade.

Candelária,
Carandirú,
Corumbiara,
Eldorado dos Carajás
do not fit
in the fragile basin of words …

If we keep quiet,
the stones will cry out ...

Brasília, 04/25/1996
Poem written to denounce the massacre of landless rural workers in
Eldorado dos Carajás in 1996.

See Glossary below for meaning of Portuguese names in
italics.

FOR POEM IN ORIGINAL PORTUGUESE, GO TO
ESCRITAS
BRAZILIAN POET
OUTSIDE THE
FENCE
Resistance to tyranny is not enough. Beyond
resistance, you have to construct liberty. It's another
task, like we said. And there is nothing better that
defines this identification of the human spirit with
liberty than poetry, as esthetic expression. Isn't that
so? Poetry is impossible to reach. This is poetry...
I have an expression...that says: In life what has
value is wonder. Poetry is this. It has to provoke
wonder.   
~ Pedro Tierra during Interview with Journalist Maurício Melo Júnior,
TV Senado, Brazil, April 25, 2014. [Translation by Rosaliene Bacchus]
PEDRO TIERRA is the
pen name of
Hamilton Pereira da
Silva born in Porto
Nacional, Tocantins, in
1948.

A poet and politician,
he was arrested in
1972, at the age of
24, for his subversive
activities against the
dictatorship. Over the
next five years until
his release in 1977,
he was tortured and
witnessed the death
of some of his
companions.

While in prison, he
began writing poetry
under the pen name
Pedro Tierra as a way
of staying alive and
sane, a form of
resistance, and
means of
communicating with
the outside world.

In 1977, his poems
sneaked out of prison
were secretly
published in Italy
under the title
Poemas
do Povo da Noite

(Poems of the People
of the Night). The
following year, it
received the
Honorable Mention for
the Casa de las
Americas Award.

After his release from
prison, Pedro Tierra
began organizing
rural workers' unions.
He was active in the
foundation of the
Workers' Party (PT),
the Landless Rural
Workers Movement
(MST), and the
Workers Central
Union (CUT).

Since 1987, he is a
member of the
executive board of
the Workers' Party
(PT). He is currently
the Secretary of
Culture in the Federal
District.

His poetry collections
include:
~
Poemas do Povo da
Noite
(Brazil 1979)
~
Missa da Terra
sem-males
with Pedro
Casaldáliga & Martin
Coplas (1979)
~
Missa dos
Quilombos
with Pedro
Casaldáliga & Milton
Nascimento (1981)
~
Água de Rebelião
(1983)
~
Inventar o Fogo
(1986)
~
Dies Irae (1999)
~
A Palavra Contra o
Muro
(2013)
WATCH & LISTEN
EM NOME DO DEUS
IN THE NAME OF GOD
MILTON NASCIMENTO
LYRICS IN PORTUGUESE
THE STATE OF
TOCANTINS, located
in North Brazil, is the
newest of Brazil's 26
states. Formed in
1988, it covers the
region that was
formerly the
northern two-fifths
of the state of
Gioás, with a total
population of almost
1.5 million (2014
est.).

It's comprised of
both the Amazon
Rainforest and
savannah.

The economy is
based mainly on
agriculture and
cattle ranching.

PALMAS is the
capital and largest
city in the state.

For more
information, visit the
official website of
the
Government of
the State of
Tocantins.
Brazilian Poet and Politician Pedro Tierra

GLOSSARY

Caldeirão: The 1930 resistance of rural workers against large
landowners in Caldeirão, Ceará, during which more than 400
workers were killed.

Candelária: Famous Catholic Church in Rio de Janeiro. In July
1993, eight street children were killed in front of the church. Came to
represent the fight against violence in the city and rural areas.

Canudos: Armed resistance of 25,000 rural workers in Canudos,
Bahia, during the period 1893-1897 against repression, misery, and
hunger. After a five-year struggle, the National Army destroyed
Canudos in October 1897. Five thousand soldiers died in combat.

Carandirú: In October 1992, 111 prisoners were brutally murdered
in the Carandirú Prison in São Paulo. Those responsible were
demoted or dismissed from office.

Contestado: Resistance of rural workers between 1912 and 1916,
along Rio Peixe in Santa Catarina and Paraná, against the
government's donation of their land to an English company as
payment for railroad construction work. The workers were attacked
by the army and federal troops.

Corumbiara: At dawn on August 9, 1995, a contingent of 300
officers from the Special Operations Command attacked 500 families
of rural landless workers occupying Fazenda Santa Elina in
Corumbiara, Rondonia. Nine killed, nineteen injured, and several
'disappeared.'

Eldorado dos Carajás: On April 17, 1996, nineteen members of
the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) were killed by the
military police during a demonstration calling for appropriation of a
PEDRO TIERRA
INTERVIEW WITH
MAURÍCIO MELO
JÚNIOR
TV SENADO
BRAZIL
APRIL 25, 2014
Audio in Portuguese
DURATION: 25:48 MINUTES

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