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RIP Victor Jara

Photo: Antonia Larrea

Photo: Antonia Larrea

Victor Jara, the Chilean folk singer and humans rights activist, was laid to rest a second time this weekend.
Jara was killed just days after General Augusto Pinochet’s violent coup overthrew the elected socialist Salvador Allende September 11th 1973, but as his body was exhumed for the purpose of forensic analysis earlier this year, a second, proper burial took place December 3rd.

The crime of Victor Jara was that he dedicated his artistic abilities for the betterment of humanity and socialism – a crime indigestible for the cronies of Imperialism. Through his songs Jara spoke for the struggle of people against dictatorship, fascism, capitalism, and Imperialism. (Red Diary)

After the coup, Jara, alongside 5000 other Chileans, was taken to the Estadio Chile, a football stadium in Santiago, where he was kept as prisoner, tortured and later shot to death. His body was dumped on a road outside the capital city, and later brought to a morgue. His wife Joan was allowed to come and retrieve his battered body, and after holding a hurried funeral for her husband, Joan Jara fled the country in secret.

During his imprisonment at the stadium Jara secretly wrote a poem commonly known as “Estadio Chile”. The poem was written on a small piece of paper, hidden inside a shoe of a friend, and reads (english translation):

There are five thousand of us here
in this small part of the city.
We are five thousand.
I wonder how many we are in all
in the cities and in the whole country?
Here alone
are ten thousand hands which plant seeds
and make the factories run.
How much humanity
exposed to hunger, cold, panic, pain,
moral pressure, terror and insanity?
Six of us were lost
as if into starry space.
One dead, another beaten as I could never have believed
a human being could be beaten.
The other four wanted to end their terror
one jumping into nothingness,
another beating his head against a wall,
but all with the fixed stare of death.
What horror the face of fascism creates!
They carry out their plans with knife-like precision.
Nothing matters to them.
To them, blood equals medals,
slaughter is an act of heroism.
Oh God, is this the world that you created,
for this your seven days of wonder and work?
Within these four walls only a number exists
which does not progress,
which slowly will wish more and more for death.
But suddenly my conscience awakes
and I see that this tide has no heartbeat,
only the pulse of machines
and the military showing their midwives’ faces
full of sweetness.
Let Mexico, Cuba and the world
cry out against this atrocity!
We are ten thousand hands
which can produce nothing.
How many of us in the whole country?
The blood of our President, our compañero,
will strike with more strength than bombs and machine guns!
So will our fist strike again!

How hard it is to sing
when I must sing of horror.
Horror which I am living,
horror which I am dying.
To see myself among so much
and so many moments of infinity
in which silence and screams
are the end of my song.
What I see, I have never seen
What I have felt and what I feel
Will give birth to the moment…

BBC via BoingBoing

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