Once upon a time in a land as dark as night…

Once upon a time in a land as dark as night…

Maybe you have heard of Marielle Franco, assassinated in March of 2018 in Rio de Janeiro?

Marielle Francisco da Silva, was born in July 1979, the same year I joined the Liberal Ecology Group and the same year Mrs Thatcher was elected Prime Minister. Marielle was a feminist Brazilian politician and human rights activist, elected to the Municipal chamber of Rio de Janeiro as a councillor for the Socialism and Liberty Party (PSOL)

She had been an outspoken critic of police brutality and extrajudicial killings. She was also highly critical of the federal intervention by Brazilian president, Michel Temer, in the state of Rio de Janeiro which resulted in the deployment of the army in police operations. After a long period when it seemed likely that her killers would “never be found” and were somehow being protected by the system, two former police officers were arrested, charged and convicted of her murder.

Brazil has an unenviable record for killings by its police force. Human Rights Watch, reporting in 2019 put the figure for 2017 (their latest data) at over 5000 – averaging 14 per day. If these numbers are anywhere near correct, that is around five times as many as are killed by police action in the USA. Worse, the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, not only sanctions brutal police action but made his way into power with a slogan “30 bullets for each bandit” and looks fondly back to his days as a military Captain during the Dictatorship years in Brazil.

That any beauty can come out of such brutality, shows a fascinating “other side” to the human spirit – but this poem came into my purview recently and I pass it on to you with no further comment. It is spoken alongside a video of some delightful sculpturing skill which you can see here… well worth your time to see and listen. Enjoy and then read the poem again for yourself.



Once upon a time in a land as dark as night

Where nothing would grow

In despite of every woe

There was an unusually happy girl

And, since she loved life and, since she loved beauty

She decided that it was her duty

To plant sunflowers on dry hard sand

And perhaps her heads would help to mend

Through the soil and turmoil of that land

The people there, seeing her endeavour,

Smiled again and thought they would forever,

As they noticed flowers strong and bright

And thought they were tired of the night

The evil forces however frowned

And opening a hole up in the ground…

… [sound of shot fired]…

Watched her being swallowed deep

Until she could no longer speak

Or see, or dream, or sigh, or resist

But what they could not predict was this

Her love was such that it spread across the mud,

And thousands of flowers grew nourished by her blood

And now every time a flower`s pluck`d

Many more will grow at present speed

And the girl will always, for her deed,

Be remembered by the name – of “Seed”


Poem by Renato Campello



About Keith Melton - Green Lib Dem

Retired English liberal environmentalist living in Nottinghamshire; spent six years in Brazil. Author of Historical Novel - Captain Cobbler: the Lincolnshire Uprising 1536. Active member of the Green Liberal Democrats - (pressure group in Liberal Democrats) - was Founding Chair of GLD in 1988
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