(MR Zine, 19 April 2015)
Now we have lost the physical presence of our comrade Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan by birth, Caribbean and Latin American by life choice and political activism.
The political persecution that he suffered at the hands of the dictatorships that devastated the Latin American continent, sponsored by the government of the United States, forced him to live in exile for twelve years (1973-1985) — a failed attempt to isolate him from his people and weaken his love for his country. His tormentors didn’t know the Latin American blood that ran through his veins.
The exile and the Latin American dictatorships forged his revolutionary temper. And the radicalism of his political actions was always fed by an uncompromising humanism and solidarity in defense of all the victims of the oppressing system. He knew that the creation of a new reality would be led by the oppressed people acting as protagonists. He wrote: “The body is not a machine as science tells us. Nor is it a sin as religion makes us believe. The body is a fiesta.” A fiesta that one day, thanks to the legacy that this comrade has left us, will be held on this continent, where there will be no exploiters and exploited.
Master of an exquisite style, without giving up his political convictions and the cultural identity of his people, he knew, wise as he was, that true learning is what springs out of the people. That is why he did not hesitate to say that “solidarity is horizontal: it respects and learns with the other. Most of us have a lot to learn from other people.”
Always on the side of the poorest, revered worldwide for his literary works, he was a tireless comrade of the nobodies.
The nobodies: nobody’s children, owners of nothing.
The nobodies: the no ones, the nobodied, running like rabbits,
dying through life, screwed every which way.
Who are not, but could be.
Who don’t speak languages, but dialects.
Who don’t have religions, but superstitions.
Who don’t create art, but handicrafts.
Who don’t have culture, but folklore.
Who are not human beings, but human resources.
Who do not have names, but numbers.
Who do not appear in the history of the world,
but in the police blotter of the local paper.
The nobodies, who are not worth the bullet that kills them.
The impossibility of writing about Galeano without turning to what he has left us is the strongest proof that he remains among us. We will always turn to him to supply ourselves with utopia, an unreachable utopia that yet makes us walk towards it.
This is a little of what Galeano has left us. We already miss his companionship and his physical presence, always present in the frontline of the struggles against oppression and injustices and in the defense of a socialist society. He will continue living among us through his teachings and example of life that he left for posterity. We are his heirs, and we are committed to follow his ideals of a socially just, egalitarian, and democratic society.
Galeano lives, among us, because his legacy is eternal.
Viva Latin America and the Caribbean!
Viva Eduardo Galeano!
Landless Workers’ Movement (MST)
São Paulo, April 13, 2015
Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), is a social movement founded in 1984. Em Português.