Last week I had a post with a version of 'Umbabarauma' featuring Mano Brown, the emblematic rapper of the rap band Racionais MCs. This week, I want to post a song by the Racionais MCs themselves, and not just any song: 'Diario de um detento', the diary of an inmate (the lyrics were written by a former inmate). It was ranked 52nd best Brazilian song of all times by the Brazilian Rolling Stone magazine in 2009.
The song is about the episode which became known as 'Carandiru massacre'. Carandiru was a penitentiary (demolished in 2002), one among many in the cruel Brazilian prison system. On October 2nd 1992, a prison revolt arose, and before attempting any kind of negotiations, the military police was sent in; 111 inmates were killed. The episode is now widely considered as one of the major human rights violations in the history of Brazil. (I remember it very well; I was in high school at the time and the massacre was one of the main topics of conversation even during classes for months.) Still now, it represents all that is (still) wrong with Brazilian prisons: overpopulation, police brutality, overrepresentation of Afro-Brazilians in the prison population. The song narrates the moments just before the revolt erupted (lyrics here in Portuguese, you can try your luck with Google translator); it was the first time ever that the life of inmates hit the music charts in Brazil.
It's been almost 20 years since the massacre, and it's good to be reminded from time to time that something as horrible as this could have taken place.