the birthmarks

Image: Robert Rauschenberg


Poem and commentary on the various inequalities that prevail in Brazil


remember the grandmothers
upset kills
remember the mothers
rushed exhausted
remember the daughters
cornered helpless
remember the sisters
raped pregnant women
From the granddaughters…
sad children

think of women
In the lull of life
In the ancestral womb

But don't forget the violence
of clandestine abortions
From private prisons
From the degraded corners
From the hard ground of the streets
In the cold of dawn

Think of the illusions contained
In jobs, explored
In the endless queues
In the muddy houses
On unfulfilled promises
In the announced deaths

Think of the dreams denied
In the pain of abandoned children
On the wheel of the foundlings

Remember the lost children
For the militia war
In battles with the police
On dirty traffic routes

But don't forget
Do not forget…
Profits never taxed
Of unexplained interest
of unpayable debts
Marking the inequality

From eyes that don't see
a crazy system
source of so much evil[1]



According to the IBGE Social Indicators Synthesis, published in 2020 and based on the 2019 PNAD-C, half of the Brazilian population lives on less than the minimum wage. It can be said that the majority live in poverty or around it. When information on race, gender and income is crossed, the data are shocking. Black women stand out among the poorest. Although they are 28,7% of the total population, they are 39,8% among the very poor and 38,1% among the poor. Black women, without spouses, with sons and daughters under 14 years of age to raise, are the family arrangements that suffer most from inequality. According to the IBGE, these groups concentrate the highest incidence of poverty, with 86,4% poor or extremely poor.[2]

*Sergio Gonzaga de Oliveira is an engineer from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) and an economist from the University of Southern Santa Catarina (UNISUL).


[1] These verses are inspired by the beautiful poetic structure of hiroshima rose by Vinícius de Moraes written in 1946. I committed this transgression to join the protests against the poor living conditions of most women in Brazilian society, especially the black and poor women who suffer most from everyday violence. I apologize to Vinicius poetry lovers for this boldness.

[2] These data were analyzed in more detail in the article “The knot that does not untie” that I published on the blog Democracy and Socialism in August 2021.

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