Music for a Sunday: Not to say I did not speak of flowers

A small reminder of why it’s so important that Brazil has lent its embassy as a haven to democracy in Honduras. Just twenty years ago, they emerged from a 25-year era of military dictatorship, in which generals ran the show, and the CIA pulled the strings behind the scenes, training the death squads in the not-so-fine art of thuggery. Torture, disappearances and murders were the lot of many who protested.

This tune has been on my mind for many a week now. Geraldo Vandré’s beautiful folk song, celebrating the common courage of people in simple acts of bravery, dates to the late 1960s, when people marched en masse in the streets demanding an end to the dictatorship. It took a long time, but when that day came, it was inevitable. In the meantime, voices kept rising, and this man was just one of them. Others, like Caetano Veloso and his friend and sometime brother-in-law, Gilberto Gil, were first imprisoned and tortured, then had to go into exile. When Lula came to power, he made Gil his minister of culture–a fitting role for one who helped build it in the teeth of a culture-hating junta.

A salute to the people of Brazil, who know what democracy is worth from having lacked it too long themselves.

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