Thursday, 11 September 2008

Victor Jara



They try to conceal the infamy
they have inherited from past centuries,
but the mark of murderers
cannot be wiped from their faces.

From "Vientos del Pueblo"

Victor Jara, much-loved poet, singer and political activist was
supposed to sing at the Technical University that 11th of September
1973 in Santiago, Chile.

They were opening an exhibition on the horrors of fascism and
civil war. President Salvador Allende was also expected to attend.

Early that morning it became evident that the feared fascist military
coup had started.

Victor still went to the University, where he was also a teacher, and
he did sing: to the 600 students and teachers trapped on the campus
that night by the curfew - the university buildings surrounded by tanks
and troops.

The tanks and heavy artillery attacked next morning. Victor was one
of the many taken prisoner and force marched to the Chile Stadium.

He was repeatedly vilified, tortured and beaten, his ribs and wrists
broken.

On Sunday 16th September his machine-gunned body, dumped near
the Metropolitan Cemetery with five others, was recognized by local
people just before an unidentified van appeared and picked up the bodies.

He wrote one more poem during those four last days in the Stadium,
unfinished as he was finally dragged away.

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...


Victor's wife, Joan, was English.

Today on the web:

http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/jaraunfinsong.html

I found three chapters of her book Victor: An Unfinished Song.

Worth reading, especially for the translation of one of his songs:
Cuando voy al trabajo, written when a young militant worker he
knew was shot dead during a peaceful demonstration. It's a love
song.


Victor believed in love.


2 comments:

Jon said...

Thanks for reminding the world about what happened on September 11th.

Valerie said...

Another September 11th. Somewhere else, but connected.

One man, one life...