Book features the role of Dom Pedro II in Arab immigration

04 de dezembro de 2017

São Paulo – The role of emperor Dom Pedro II in encouraging Arab immigration in Brazil and the importance of this demographics flow to the formation of Brazilian identity will be the topic of comic book “Brimos” (meaning “Cousins”, a way the Arabs would call anyone of the same descent) by publishing house Editora Zahle, based in Teresina, Piauí, in the middle of next year.

The book is in being written by journalist and historian, Marta Tajra, the publishing house ‘s owner, and an architect and designer called Paulo AKL, both Syrian and Lebanese descendants. Tayra is also responsible for the script and Akl for the illustrations.

Dom Pedro II visited Palestine, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt in two long trips he took abroad in 1871 and in 1876/77. The authors will tell that in these trips the emperor laid the foundation of the migration movement that would start a few years later, and that he did that not only to encourage the occupation of the Brazilian territory, at the time very sparsely populated, but also as part of the process of the creation of a national identity.

Brazil welcomed many immigrants, starting in the end of the 19th century. This movement started in the time of the Empire still, but continued during the Republic, in 1889, and remained strong throughout the 20th century. Italians, Spanish, Japanese, Arabs and people of other nationalities came to join the Portuguese, Africans, Indians and locally-born people that lived in Brazil.

Many of the immigrants went on to work in agriculture and livestock, but not the Arabs, who preferred trade and crossed the country from end to end selling their products as vendors. The authors plan to show that the effects of this are still felt today in Brazilian society.

They have been researching the topic for four months and plan to finish the job in February, including information on the Royal Family’s descendants, to then launch the book. There’s a draft of the beginning of “Brimos” that the authors have been using as promotion material, but with illustrations by João Torres.

The pair has the support of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce and of the Social Service of Industry (SESI) for their work and have been promoting the initiative in events involving the Arab diaspora, including events abroad.

Besides telling the immigration history with an emphasis in the role of the emperor, the book will show “success cases” within the Arab community, but without mentioning names.

According to them, the choice for a comic book arose because it’s a universal, accessible language that can be read by young people, children and adults.

Quick info
Publishing house Editora Zahle, with Marta Tajra
Phone: 55 86 3234-3121

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani