15 September

'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 Jara, Estadio Chile, September 1973

September 15, 2009 · 2 min read

Poet and singer-songwriter Victor Jara along with some 3000 other Salvador Allende supporters were rounded up and taken to the Chile Stadium on the morning of 12 September 1973. Throughout the following days Jara was beaten and tortured, he is reportedly said to have kept singing ‘Venceremos’ – the anthem of Allende’s ruling Popular Front until his hands were burned and broken. Finally, he was machine gunned to death on this day in 1973, his body then discarded by the side of a road.

‘The morgue is so full that the bodies overflow to every part of the building, including the administrative offices. A long passage, rows of doors, and on the floor a long line of bodies, these with clothes, some of them look more like students, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty … and there in the middle of the line I find Victor.

It was Victor, although he looked thin and gaunt … What have they done to you to make you waste away like that in one week? His eyes were open and they seemed still to look ahead with intensity and defiance, in spite of a wound on his head and terrible bruises on his cheek. His clothes were torn, trousers round his ankles, sweater tucked up under his armpits, his blue underpants hanging in tatters round his hips as though cut by a knife or bayonet … his chest riddled with holes and a gaping wound in his abdomen. His hands seemed to be hanging from his arms at a strange angle as though his wrists were broken … but it was Victor, my husband, my lover.’

Joan Jara, Victor: An Unfinished Song


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