Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Posted by Charles II on May 28, 2009

The man himself:

Arlo’s commemorative:

Joao da Silva, Common Dreams:

Among the thousands of political dissidents detained and executed in Chile during the days following the Military coup of 1973 which overthrew the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende (also known as the Unidad Popular), Victor Jara’s brutal death is probably one of the most emblematic. …

Victor Jara was a popular Chilean folk singer/songwriter, educator, theatre director, poet, and political activist. He was involved in the development of the “Nueva Canción Chilena” (New Chilean Song Movement) which gained considerable popularity during the Unidad Popular government which he actively supported. On the morning of September 12 1973, Jara was detained, along with thousands of Chileans, and then held prisoner at the Estadio Chile (renamed “Estadio Víctor Jara” in September 2003) where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured, resulting in the breaking of bones in his hands and upper torso. Fellow political prisoners have testified that his captors, as he lay on the ground after the beating, mockingly suggested that he play guitar for them. Defiantly, he sang part of a hymn supporting the Unidad Popular.

He was murdered on September 15 after further beatings were followed by being machine-gunned (34 bullet wounds were found on his body) and left dead on a road on the outskirts of Santiago.

This is the world that the right wing has to offer us, one in which singing is a crime punishable by death.

Will there be justice?

2 Responses to “His hands were gentle, his hands were strong”

  1. Thanks again, Charles. I was a young girl when this went down, and now my hair is salt-and-pepper. The experience of Chile as one of the Chicago Boys’ victims has been part of the background of my life.

  2. Charles II said

    Yeah, the murder of Victor Jara touches me for reasons I don’t fully understand, PW.

    I can understand, dimly, Pinochet knocking off Allende. But a singer? What possible threat does a singer pose to a dictatorship?

    And his defiance in the face of death, singing when his captors mocked him for the hands they had broken and made useless. Most of us would be shivering in fear, knowing that death was almost certainly coming. Only a man fully at peace could flaunt his freedom in his captors’ faces.

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