Tribute to Chilean Political Singer and activist Victor Jara murdered by dictator Pinochet's troops on 15th September 1973.
This followed the military coup on 9/11/73 which overthrew the democratically elected government led by Salvataor Allende. Allende was found dead in La Monda ( presidential Palace) beside an AK47 given to him by Fidel Castro.
After singing a political song to the other prisoners in the National Stadium, Jara had his fingers, hands and ribs smashed by Pinochets troops. He had been tortured for 4 days. Such was his determination and will, legend is, that he carried on singing until his brutal demise, he was last seen on the 15th of September when he was left abandoned by a roadside , only for his body to be discovered a day later..
In his lifetime, the Chilean folksinger Victor Jara had become the voice of Chile's dispossessed. He became a symbol for their aspirations of equality and a figure of hope to progressive movements worldwide.
Over 3,000 other political prisoners would suffer a similar fate, but such was Victor Jara's power , his voice will never die. It resonates through the ages, a beacon, that we should not forget, standing strongly against oppression.
In this small part of the city.
How many of us are there in all
In the cities and in all the country?
Here we are, ten thousand hands
Who plant the seeds and keep the factories running. So much humanity,
hungry, cold, panicked, in pain,
Under moral duress, terrified out of their minds!
Six of ours lost themselves
In the space of the stars.
One man dead, one man beaten worse than I ever thought
It was possible to beat a human being.
The other four wanted to free themselves of all their fear.
One jumped into the void.
Another beat his head against the wall.
But all had the fixed look of death in their eyes.
What fear is provoked by the face of fascism!
They carry out their plans with the utmost precision, not giving a damn about anything.
For them, blood is a medal.
My God, is this the world You created?
Is this the product of your seven days of wonder and labour?
In these four walls, there is nothing but a number that does not move forward.
That gradually, will grow to want death.
But my conscience suddenly awakens me
And I see this tide without a pulse
And I see the pulse of the machines
And the soldiers showing their matronly faces, full of tenderness.
And Mexico, Cuba, and the world.
Let them cry out this ignominy!
We are ten thousand fewer hands that do not produce.
How many of us are ther throughout our homeland?
The blood of our comrade the President pulses with more strength than bombs and machine guns.
And so, too, will our fist again beat.
Song, how hard it is sing you when I have to sing in fear.
Fear like that in which I live, and from which I am dying, fear.
Of seeing myself amidst so much, and so many endless moments
In which silence and outcry are the tragets of this song.
What have never seen before, what I have felt and what I feel now
Will make the moment break out...
We are five thousand
Confined in this little part of town
we are five thousand
How many of us are there throughout the country?
Such a large portion of humanity
With hunger, cold, horror and pain
Six among us have already been lost
And have joined the stars in the sky.
One killed, another beaten
As I never imagined a human being
could be beaten
The other four just wanted to put an end
To their fears
One by jumping down to his death
The other smashing his head against a wall
But all of them
Looking straight into the eyes of death.
We are ten thousand hands
Than can no longer work
How many of us are there
Throughout the country?
The blood shed by our comrade President
Has more power than bombs and machine guns
With that same strength our collective fist
will strike again some day.
Song, how imperfect you are!
When I need most need to sing, I cannot
I cannot because I am still alive
I cannot because I am dying
It terrifies me to find myself
Lost in infinite moments
On which slence and shouts
Are the objectives of my song
What I now see, I have never seen
What I feel and what I have felt
Will make the moment spring again.
In the following clip the music and tragic death of Victor Jara are discussed and there is some rare footage of Victor singing and playing guitar.