Friday, January 14, 2011

[uncensored]: Love / Haiti

As salaam alaikum,

So...I love him. Who? B. Yep. That's all.

Yesterday, I was so inspired, since I didn't have any reading for my Community Health Centers class, to translate the lyrics to the song, "Haiti" by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. So I did. It's probably rough in parts because I don't understand nearly any of the references in the third stanza. All with the help of Google translate.

Here's my favorite version of the song--the long version with Caetano Veloso only:

And here are the lyrics:

If you’re ever invited to ascend up to the courtyard
Of the House of Jorge Amado Foundation*
To see the front row of soldiers, almost all black
Wringing the necks of black delinquents,
Of mulatto thieves and others, almost white
Treated like blacks
Just to show the other almost-blacks,
(And they’re almost all black)
And the poor almost whites like blacks
How it is that blacks, the poor and mulattoes,
And the almost white/almost black that the same poor, are treated
And it doesn’t matter if the eyes of the whole world
Could, for a moment, rewind to a time
Where slaves were punished
And today, a drumming, a drumming
With the purity of uniformed high school kids
On the day of a parade
And the epic grandeur of a developing people
Attracts us, dazzles us, stimulates us
Nothing matters:
Not the trace of excess  
Nor the lens of Fantástico**,
Nor a Paul Simon CD
Nobody, nobody is a citizen
If you are going to see the party in Pelô***, and even if you’re not
Think of Haiti, pray for Haiti
Haiti is here
Haiti is not here

And on TV if you see a congressman in ill-concealed panic
Presenting any, but really any, any, any
Education plan
That sounds easy
That seems easy and fast
And it will represent a threat to democracy
On primary school level
And if that same congressman defends the adoption of capital punishment
And the venerable Cardinal says he sees so much spirit in the fetus
And none in the criminal
And if, while running the light, the old light, red, habitual
You notice a man pissing on the street corner over a glossy bag of garbage from Leblon****
And when you hear the smiling silence of São Paulo
Before the massacre:

111 defenseless prisoners, but prisoners are almost all black
Or almost black, or almost white/almost black that are the same poor
And the poor are like the rotten and everyone knows how blacks are treated
And when you go, turn towards the Caribbean
And when you fuck without a condom
And submit your intelligent participation in the blockade of Cuba...

Think of Haiti, pray for Haiti
Haiti is here
Haiti is not here

*Jorge Amado was a Brazilian author whose works dealt mainly with the poor black/mulatto populations of Bahia. His estate is preserved in Salvador and its supposed to promote the culture of Bahia.
** Fantastico is a popular Brazilian newsmagazine that shows up on their superchannel, Globo. It's like a week-in-review.
*** Pelo is a neighborhood in Salvador (as it's known to people in Bahia) that is a popular tourist attraction. It's the Historic Center of the Salvador, one where slaves were publicly beaten. The neighborhood is home to the first slave market on the continent.
****Leblon is the richest neighborhood in Rio. That's why the trash bag is glossy. It has the highest property values in all of Latin America.

I love B because I can translate this song, send him these lyrics, and he'll absolutely appreciate this more than anyone else I know. This is from an email I sent him yesterday. And of course, that's not the only thing...but it's little things like this that make us realize how much we make sense...

Keep me in your du'as!

1 comment:

  1. Whatever happens for you I am glad that you now realize there are individuals out there who can make you feel whole or 'make sense' as you put it :) You are in my duaa, please keep me and my family in yours.