Peasant Autonomy
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Story 133

Goías, Brazil– 1974

'It was never my dream'

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(Photo: Jonas Banhos)

Goías, Brazil.

He is sitting there with a sombre look on his face. His two sons Mirosmar and Emival are gone. Will they ever come back? "What has become of our dreams, Helena?" he asks. "It was never my dream, Francisco," his wife answers softly.
"Mirosmar and Emival had to become a singing duo whether they liked it or not," Helena contemplates bitterly, "because Francisco had this idea in his head." They have sacrificed everything to it. Francesco exchanged almost a whole harvest for a guitar and an accordion without giving any thought to paying the rent. "We'll see," he said and so they lost their land and beautiful farm. They were then driven out of their own village. "So what? The land was not from us," Francisco had said. "Believe me. For the boys, the future is in the city, not here."

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Webnos)

Goías, Brazil.

The city was terrible. They lived in a shack in a slum. The city was dirty. They had to work hard and earned little. The children were hungry and couldn't go to school. When Mirosmar and Emival started singing in the railway station, they brought in some money and managed to carry on.
A man had introduced himself as a publicity manager. He promised to make the boys famous. He wanted to take the boys with him to make their appearances on stage and bring them to radio stations. After a week, he would bring them home. Helena didn't trust the man, but Francisco insisted that the boys should go with him. "This is their chance!" he had shouted angrily. Now, months had passed, and there had been no word or sign from them.

How does Helena miss Mirosmar and Emival! And how does she miss their farm! Will they ever return to their village? To the birds who are singing early morning, the clear water, the fresh vegetables from their own kitchen garden, and the sun set behind the fields?

Francisco goes looking for the boys. With a picture of them in his hand, he travels from city to city, from one radio station to another.


In the movie Two Sons of Francisco (2005), the Brazilian film-maker Breno Silveira tells the story of a peasant family moving to the city. In the end, the two sons become famous singers but at a great cost.

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