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).
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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 te 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

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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)

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"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.

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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.

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