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.