Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Please Remember Victor Jara . . .

On this day I think of the other September 11th which in turn leads me to think of the late great Victor Jara.

. . . Addendum to my initial post:

I first heard the name 'Victor Jara' in the Clash song "Washington Bullets" (from which I cribbed a line for the title of this post) from their great album (my favorite) "Sandinista!", many years later I heard Robert Wyatt's interpretation of Victor's song about his mother and father "Te recuerdo Amanda" (which he can be seen singing in the Youtube-age above). And from there I was finally hooked, I Found a vinyl rip of a Victor Jara compilation called "De Amor y de Bandera" (which I haven't been able to find any information about) and I've listened to that thing to death. I have most of Victor's discography now but that mysterious compilation is still my favorite.

There is a very good Democracy Now! interview w/ Victor's wife from September 16th, 1998 which was the 25th anniversary of his murder (or when when his body was found), it can be found here. It's chilling, I've been listening to it the last few days.

Victor and his wife Joan

Here is the last unfinished poem Victor wrote which was smuggled out of the Santiago boxing stadium where he would shortly be martyred. It has been translated from spanish by his wife Joan:

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 compaƱero,
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 ...

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