At times I think about the question of how today, a hundred years later, the
classic finale of the first part of Os Sertões/Rebellion in the
Backlands, by Euclides da Cunha, might be read:
There are the martyrdom of man, and the reflex of a greater, broader,
torture, embracing the general economy of Life. The time-immemorial
martyrdom of the land is born.
Nowadays the martyrdom of the land is not only the drought of the Northeast,
it is the predatory devastation of the whole country and it is the subordination
of possession of the soil to the uncontrolled thirst for profit. If that thirst
attacks the integrity of nature, the fount of life, it prevents the rural worker
from attaining the conditions necessary to keep his family in dignity and to
produce for the market in a manner that will adequately repay him. Today, the
martyrdom of rural man is the exploitation that suffocates him.
As a consequence, both the martyrdom of the land (ecological and economic)
and the martyrdom of man (economic and social) can only be remedied through a
re-definition of the relationship between man and land, the real objective of
the MST. Thus, it is an initiative for human redemption and a promise of a new
era, in which rural man might carry out fully and efficiently the great role
that befits him in his social and economic life, because the toils of labour are
an essential component of every healthy economy in our country. For having
undertaken this great struggle with unselfishness, bravery and success the MST
merits the total support and gratitude of all. Within the movement beats the
heart of Brazil.