Lula: A Spring of Millions

Translated  by Marvin Najarro 

In 1958, the chronicler and poet of the favela, Carolina Maria de Jesus was discovered almost by chance and in her own habitat; she dedicated herself to portray in her diary her day to day life in the favelas of Brazil: A harsh reality, of misery, abuse, exclusion and, a reality, too, of dreams, loyalty and sheer love. Little known in Latin America, Carolina Maria de Jesus captured in her writings the essence of the Brazilian slums; the same which in a display of rapturous love have taken to the streets to defend a worker who dignified them and gave them back the voice and power of dreams: Lula.

To understand the heart of the slum, one must live its privations; its tears; its frustrations; and its illusions. Lula comes from there, from oblivion, and exploitation; from the stroke of the wrinkled hands that tell stories of poems written in the wind; from the place where the Latin America most sublime chimeras have taken shape.

The Brazilian people’s love for Lula is not new; that love has the roots of the trees that embellish the Amazon; the freshness of the Paraná River, and the innocence of the barefoot children who play football in the paddocks. The vitality of women who build and transform Brazil, and fill with pride the Latin American afro-descendant heritage.

That reality of the slums which Maria de Jesus knew full well how to portray it, changed when Lula and Dilma were presidents, the favela became the heart of a class struggle; the bulwark of a cultural revolution that continues to bet on the transformation of Brazil. The favela became the protagonist of its own metamorphosis, and it is unstoppable. The spring in Brazil cannot be postponed; it will not be stopped by anything or anybody; the fields will flourish like the flowers in the morning with the dew of the dawn –even if on the streets bullets rain.

The green bottle mountains will echo the streams of undulating waters trying to meet the alert sea; with the fecund ocean, to return to the coast where thousands of Lulas walk on the favelas streets to make of Brazil the spring of a Latin America in search for its own freewill.

Lula is in the sunburned arms of those cutting sugar cane from sunrise to sunset; in the cracked backs of those hauling packages in the markets; in the cracked hands of the masons; in the word of the day laborers. In the creative hands of the street artists.

Lula is in the sweet tropical mangos; in the shade of palm trees; and in the coconuts watter; in the muddy paths of the open fields; on the hilltops; on the edge of the machete of the farmer; in the afternoon mist on Sunday. In the birds song; in the bark of the oak; in the hands of the girls who learn to write. Lula is present in every word of the poetry of Carolina Maria de Jesus. In the fecund throats of the youth who out on the streets shout from the mouth of the volcano; announcing with passion, the start of spring.

Lula is in the veins of the pariahs; veins that make Latin America an immense Amazonian river that nourishes entire peoples; peoples who come walking, barefoot, dancing with batucadas; in search of the blooming spring that awaits them with the beauty of the flowers.

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Ilka Oliva Corado @ilkaolivacorado

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