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Introduction
making and remembering ∞Ω∏∫ in military brazil
In 1968 the song known as ‘‘Pra não dizer que não falei das flores’’ (So they
don’t say I never spoke of flowers) by the singer and songwriter Geraldo
Vandré enjoyed immense popularity among university students and other
young people. Its rhythmical and lyrical invocations of street marches,
encapsulated by its o≈cial title ‘‘Caminhando’’ (Walking), made this poi-
gnant protest song resonate especially powerfully in that moment, four
years after military o≈cers and their civilian allies had deposed the demo-
cratically chosen president and inaugurated what would become twenty-
one years of military rule (1964–85). As student demonstrations against
the military government led to national discussions about the legitimacy of
the current regime, the role of student activism, and the meanings of police
and opposition violence, the song touched a nerve—both in its fans and in
its detractors. In September 1968, at the finals of the Third International
Song Festival, for example, large groups of young supporters bearing lau-
datory banners and placards came out specifically to cheer for the song.
When the jury nonetheless denied the piece first prize, the youthful crowd
vociferously protested the perceived foul play and pointed to the inclusion
of Donatelo Griecco, chief of the Cultural Division of Itamaraty (the Bra-
zilian foreign relations department) on the jury as evidence of military
interference. He in fact later publicly commented that the piece was ‘‘a
dangerous left-wing song.’’∞ Another military o≈cial, Octávio Costa, be-
came so incensed by Vandré’s composition that he felt compelled to re-
spond to it by writing a literary analysis of its lyrics for the Rio de Janeiro
newspaper the Jornal do Brasil. Costa claimed to speak for the whole military
class, including ‘‘the immense majority of anonymous functionaries,’’
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