Itamar Vieira, portraitist of latest slavery: “For equality, we must treat unequals unequally” | Culture | EUROtoday

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Every Brazilian peasant, whether or not white or Indian, had a homeland, a spot to return to when issues went unsuitable on farms wealthy in items and really poor in wages. All besides the blacks, the descendants of slaves, who didn’t know how again. This is the strategy of crooked plow, by Itamar Vieira Junior (revealed in Spanish by Pepitas de Calabaza), a e book that’s overwhelming as a result of fierceness of its folks, their issues, their realities and the seek for roots the place they don’t allow you to take root.

Destined to make mud huts in different folks's fields and to rebuild them when the floods devoured them, this was the best proper they dared to say: that of rebuilding their adobe partitions washed away by the rains, however by no means of brick, masonry, ceramics. nor every other materials that might be thought-about fastened. Because it was forbidden to remain. And as a result of when slavery was prohibited they started to be referred to as “workers” or “residents”, however they remained slaves. Their uprooting, due to this fact, was double, everlasting: from their origin and from the place of their dwellings.

“This story is inspired by reality,” responds Vieira Junior (Salvador, 1979) by electronic mail from Brazil. “Slavery left deep marks on our society and these marks are felt and divide us to this day.”

And this e book tells a narrative from the day earlier than yesterday or, extra particularly, from the twentieth century. From the discover that launches its personal title, crooked plow immerses us within the tortuous story of a household descended from slaves by means of the eyes of two sisters as united as they have been confronted by an accident that occurred because of a standard prank: one in every of them misplaced her tongue, the opposite was saved. One is silent, the opposite speaks. Through them, Vieira explores the harshness of virtually up to date slave labor and the dedication of the whole household to the property of some millionaires who, as quickly because the enterprise doesn’t swimsuit them, will wish to promote.

Ask. He has chosen two girls who mix luck and misfortune, speech and silence. The one who has been left mute has discovered to struggle alone and tells us a part of the story. Why did she select these two narrators?

Answer. Because colonialism relegated girls to silence and inequality. I consider that literature ought to make clear girls, on those that stay invisible.

P. It narrates an unlimited precariousness within the lives of those farmers: drought, youngster labor, illiteracy. Is that also legitimate? Don't we all know the fact of Brazil?

R. Brazil is a rustic of deep inequalities. It is frequent to search out folks working in conditions of slavery and experiencing the dangerous results of local weather change.

“Fear had crossed time and had always been part of our history,” says the novel. “It was the fear of one who was torn from his land. Fear of not being able to endure the journey by land and sea. Fear of punishments, of work, of the scorching sun, of the spirits of those people. Fear of moving, fear of disliking, fear of existing. Fear that they wouldn't like you, or what you did, that they wouldn't like your smell, your hair, your color. Don't let your children like it, the songs, our brotherhood.”

This is the tone of a book that has been brought to the theater by Christiane Jatahy in a play performed a few months ago in Madrid and that also focuses on the strong weight of ancestors and healers, a figure that Vieira Junior, geographer and doctor of Studies Ethnic and African from the University of Bahia, he models here with the respect of someone who knows his role well: these healers, he says, are “spiritual leaders who transmit comfort to their community, but also political leaders because they organize and keep people united in “a context of great adversity.”

P. Are we listening enough to African American communities? What should we still repair in the history of slavery?

R. Centuries of slavery created a classification of life and its value (lives worth more and lives worth less) that has never been deconstructed. I believe that today black people have more voice and space to demand equality. But the principle of equality says that we must treat unequals unequally. Reparation policies and time are needed to reverse the immense social gap that has emerged between blacks and whites.

Its protagonists, the whites and the blacks, will fight battles that the healers will not be able to face. Because murder, crime and exploitation will accompany the empty hands of those who cannot even hope to establish roots.

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