Pessoas tem que roubar por um pedaço de pão
Ou servir mula e sustentar o Estado
Ter que todo dia trabalhar, ser explorado
Não aguento mais ver isso pois me deixa revoltado
Das migalhas do patrão poucos sobreviveram
Se logo não acabarmos com esta enganação
Where we live it’s not easy
People have to steal for a piece of bread
Or work like pigs and sustain the State
Have to work all day, be exploited
I can’t watch this anymore for it leaves me outraged
Few will survive from the master’s crumbs
If we don’t end soon this deception
It was dark at night, probably around 11:30. The small green area in front of Terminal B was buzzing with quite strange people. Some screaming, some singing, some angrily kicking the lonely, empty beer bottles that gave life to the streets, some reunited in groups talking about food and drugs. It was humid, but the breeze would occasionally caress the tired faces and kiss them rapidly. I was hungry.
I find it amusing and interesting that to express a condition–whether it be hunger, thirst or another–the Portuguese language uses the verb to be + with. I am hungry becomes I am with hunger; I am thirsty becomes I am with thirst; and so on. The person is not only feeling that condition, but she is also in the presence of it. It is as if hunger was a person—a spirit—and to please Her you ought to ‘sacrifice’ something: food, water, whatever.
I was looking at the tall buildings that covered up the colorless horizon; the stars were magnificent. I saw a man walking rapidly, looking for someone to talk to. He came closer and looked at me. Our eyes crossed. I couldn’t tell what color they were; there wasn’t enough light. But I could tell he was looking straight into mine, and a pleasantly strange fusion of warmth, colors, breaths, looks, noises, and smells took over the scene for a few seconds.
He smiled and stepped forward. He must have been around 25; he looked young. His beard was as dark as the sky, but so was everything else; he had a hat and a backpack that looked very dear to him.
“Excuse me, can I talk to you?” he said confidently.
“Of course,” the best reply I could give.
“I’ll be quick. I just wanted to give you this.” He handed me a folded piece of paper with some words on it.
“I’m a poet. I write poems and go around showing them to people.”
“Thanks, man,” I said as I started reading the verses.
I could barely read; I think it had gotten darker.
I finally read the last verse, looked at the guy and complimented him.
The poem’s message is alive. It doesn’t refer just to Brazil but to hundreds of nations whose people—the 60-hour-a-week workers, the single mothers, the homeless children, the exploited, the landless—have been purposely forgotten by their own States. States—nothing but other individuals—who commit to supporting and keeping ‘safe and free’ the people but cleverly enslave them, mentally if not physically, and own them like animals owned by a zoo.
Every nation, from the richest to the poorest, has its problems: poverty, depression, obesity, violence, and many others. In Brazil, the fifth largest country by population, corruption is a very serious issue. In short, politicians steal and use public money for ludicrous purposes (buying apartments, eating in fancy restaurants, kindly donating the money to their relatives and friends, etc.) and leave states without funds to implement social programs primarily for education and health, lying to and abandoning the ‘non-rich’. There is much more to say about this but I’m not in the position to elaborate on an issue so delicate for many Brazilians, including my friends and family, and much more complicated than it seems.
I do want to say that this is taking place all around the world, and it has for centuries. We are being exploited, deceived, lied to, ignored, and abused by a small group of individuals who are supposed to be our leaders and lead us towards peace, prosperity, and freedom but are so drunk with power and money that they lose the compassion they so cleverly speak about.
This is not about Republican and Democrat, Capitalist and Communist, or right and left. This is about the enslavement of the masses: physical bondage at the time of slavery, which still exists today, and mental subjugation during modern times through synthetic drugs, the ‘corporate dream’, the enslavement of beauty, the pharmaceutical industry’s monopolistic behavior, and, most importantly, the incoherence and surreptitiousness of the media.
Again, this is not about the United States or Brazil but rather about billions of people and millions of realities. This is about freedom. Not the freedom of competing in the market or obtaining wealth, but the freedom generated by true human emancipation; the freedom that goes beyond merely material necessities.
This is about mental freedom—detaching ourselves from “all of the emotions, ideals, definitions, and standards we learned growing up.” Taking full control over our lives and keeping chaotic external factors from dictating our drive.
Much love and peace to all.