Friday, December 19, 2014

Sá e Guarabyra: "Sobradinho".

“And he gathered them [i.e. 'the kings of the earth and of the whole world'] together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon”. Revelation 16:16 (KJV)

The prophesied war of the end of the world refers -- naturally -- to future events, yes?

Well, maybe. But, just for the sake of the argument, what if the war had already been fought? And, what if the good guys had actually lost?

If you ever read a Spanish language novel (even in an English translation), you could do much worse than picking Mario Vargas Llosa's 1981 "La Guerra del Fin del Mundo" ("The War of the End of the World" is its English title), based on true historical events (the War of Canudos, in Brazil).

Sobradinho (o sertão vai virar mar -- i.e. the desert will turn into a sea), by Sá e Guarabyra (Portuguese lyrics, my adaptation from this version)

O homem chega e já desfaz a natureza
Tira gente, põe represa, diz que tudo vai mudar
O São Francisco, lá pra cima da Bahia
Diz que dia, menos dia, vai subir bem devagar
E passo a passo, vai cumprindo a profecia
Do beato que dizia que o sertão ia alagar

O sertão vai virar mar, dá no coração
O medo que algum dia o mar também vire sertão
Vai virar mar, dá no coração
O medo que algum dia o mar também vire sertão

Adeus Remanso, Casa Nova, Santa Sé
Adeus Pilão Arcado, vem o rio de engolir
Debaixo d'água, lá se vai a vida inteira
Por cima da cachoeira, o Gaiola vai subir
Vai ter barragem no salto do Sobradinho
E o povo vai se embora com medo de se afogar

O sertão vai virar mar, dá no coração
O medo que algum dia o mar também vire sertão
Vai virar mar, dá no coração
O medo que algum dia o mar também vire sertão

Remanso, Casa Nova, Santa Sé, Pilão Arcado
Sobradinho, adeus, adeus, adeus


It happened, somehow.

Canudos, circa 1895. [A]
Canudos survivors surrounded by the Brazilian Army, 1897. [B]
Antonio Conselheiro, by Flávio de Barros. [C]
"After 17 years [i.e. in 2013], Canudos re-emerges with drought". (source)


"Colonel Macedo nods. 'Did you see him die?'
"The little old woman shakes her head and clacks her tongue, as though sucking on something.
" 'He got away, then?'
"The little old woman shakes her head again, encircled by the eyes of the women prisoners.
" 'Archangels took him up to heaven,' she says, clacking her tongue. 'I saw them.' "
There is redemption, even for us, the rabble.


And the desert did turn into a sea (o sertão alagou mesmo, né?), as the saint Counselor (o beato Conselheiro) said.

Image Credits:
[A] Canudos. Image in the public domain. Source: Wikipedia.
[B] Survivors. Image in the public domain. Source: Wikipedia.
[C] The only photograph of Antonio Conselheiro, the mystic rebel and spiritual leader of the War of Canudos (1896-1897). Author: Flávio de Barros. Image in the public domain. Source: Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Your ABC: The Hunger Games.

"Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life", Oscar Wilde.

Maybe the best way to break the news is paraphrasing the IMDb:
In the dystopian present, the totalitarian nation of Australia is divided between big miners, bankers, “conservative, right-of-centre, libertarian” propagandists think-tankers and other Ubermenschen, ruled by PM Coriolanus Snow, and the rabble. This year 100 staff from ABC were selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal retribution for their journalism, the ABC will not televise the games throughout Australia.
The short version: last week ABC managing director Mark Scott announced 100 out of 300 ABC staff were selected for potential redundancy. The process was something like this: if in NSW, for instance, there are 25 senior reporters band 6-8, then 6 had to be sacked. So, if you are in the list (say, you are one of the 6) and don't want to become an actual redundancy, you better convince your boss why you are needed, while any of your colleagues left out of the list (the other 19) is not; otherwise, you must convince a Katniss Evergreen to take voluntary redundancy in your place (see here)

The list of 100 potentially redundant staff was released yesterday (after covering the Lindt hostage-taking incident, obviously, and the masterly touch in timing: before Christmas). Fairfax Media and other news outlets have been covering the news since last week, including the list release. Curiously, I haven't found any reference to this ongoing story by ABC News (12:20 PM AEDT, Thursday, 17/12/2-014): which suggests that the Minister for Communications, Master of Ceremonies, Caesar Flickerman, is conducting the show his audience wanted to (not) see.


You have to give these people the credit they deserve: that is not merely sadism, it's creative sadism.


So, Merry Xmas everybody and keep voting for them! Capitalism is great!