Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Victor Jara - Butchered By Pinochet & The American People

Here is a bit more on Victor Jara who has been a great influence in folk Music and in politics or social reform throughout the Americas. But very little on the United States since the Americans are quite content to live in a country run by an elite. It is of course the very nature of a class based society that those in the upper-classes promote the lie that the society is an egalitarian society. Yes everybody gets to vote though your vote may or may not be counted and the difference between the two parties is more a matter of style and rhetoric rather than substance. From earliest childhood on we are taught the great myth that our society is the best ;it is the most egalitarian; it is the most just ; it is the most compassionate. Meanwhile the rich get richer and the middle class dream of becoming members of the class of the rich and the privileged .

Victor Jara-Plegaria a un labrador

Victor Jara- Vamaos por Ancho Camino


Victor Jara
words by Adrian Mitchell, music by Arlo Guthrie
see video at YOUTUBE
Victor Jara of Chile
Lived like a shooting star
He fought for the people of Chile
With his songs and his guitar
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Victor Jara was a peasant
He worked from a few years old
He sat upon his father's plow
And watched the earth unfold
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Now when the neighbors had a wedding
Or one of their children died
His mother sang all night for them
With Victor by her side
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

He grew up to be a fighter
Against the people's wrongs
He listened to their grief and joy
And turned them into songs
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

He sang about the copper miners
And those who worked the land
He sang about the factory workers
And they knew he was their man
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

He campaigned for Allende
Working night and day
He sang "Take hold of your brothers hand
You know the future begins today"
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Then the generals seized Chile
They arrested Victor then
They caged him in a stadium
With five-thousand frightened men
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Victor stood in the stadium
His voice was brave and strong
And he sang for his fellow prisoners
Till the guards cut short his song
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

They broke the bones in both his hands
They beat him on the head
They tore him with electric shocks
And then they shot him dead
His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

Repeat first verse

(©1977, 1990 by by Adrian Mitchell & Arlo Guthrie
All Rights Reserved.)

And from American Nihilist: Please Remember Victor Jara(sept. 11, 2007 )

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 compañero,
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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take care,

Monday, March 3, 2008


Victor Jara- el cigarrito

Anyway here is some music dedicated to those struggling against oppression in the Americas or in Burma/Mynamar or Iraq or the Middle East or America wherever the Fascists and Neocons are trying to undermine Democracy, Freedom and Justice .

Here's an english song by Christy Moore about Victor Jara:

Victor Jara Manifiesto

Artist: Victor Jara
Song: Manifiesto

Yo no canto por cantar
ni por tener buena voz
canto porque la guitarra
tiene sentido y razón
tiene corazón de tierra
y alas de palomita
es como el agua bendita
santiguas glorias y penas
aquí se encajó mi canto
como dijiera Violeta
guitarra trabajadora
con olor a primavera

Que no es guitarra de ricos
ni cosa que se parezca
mi canto es de los andiamos
para alcanzar las estrellas
que el canto tiene sentido
cuando palpita en las venas
del que morirá cantado
las verdades verdaderas
no las lisonjas fugazes
ni las famas extranjeras
sino el canto de una lonja
hasta el fondo de la tierra

Ahí donde llega todo
y donde todo comienza
canto que ha sido valiente
siempre será canción nueva
siempre será canción nueva
siempre será canción nueva

Joan Jara:
"I don't sing for love of singing
or to show off my voice
but for the statements
made by my honest guitar
for its heart is of earth
and like the dove it goes flying
tenderly as holy water
blessing the brave and the dying
so my song has found a purpose
as Violetta Parra would say
yes, my guitar is a worker
shining and smelling of spring
my guitar is not for killers
greedy for money and power
but for the people who labour
so that future may flower
for a song takes on a meaning
when its own heartbeat is strong
sung by a man who will die singing
truthfully singing his song

I don't sing for adulation
or so that strangers may weep
I sing for a far strip of country
narrow but endlessly deep
in the earth in which we begin
in the earth in which we end
brave songs will give birth
to a song which will always be new"

Lyrics and translation from ST Lyrics.com

Commandante Che Guevera-Victor Jara

Victor Jara Manifiesto
Brief Biography of Victor Jara

On September 16, 1973, Chilean political songwriter and activist Victor Jara was brutally murdered in Santiago's boxing stadium during the aftermath of the U.S.-backed September 10-11 coup d'etat which resulted in the death of the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, and the installation of a repressive military dictatorship. The US-influenced regime change frustrated the Chilean people's hope for a government that would bring their country socio-economic justice, replacing it instead with a despair that would continue for the next 17 years under the repressive leadership of Augusto Pinochet, who after the coup abolished civil liberties, dissolved congress, banned unions activities and workers' strikes, and reversed the agrarian and economic reforms of Allende's socialist government. More than twenty-two hundred people were 'disappeared' under Pinochet's authoritarian rule.

Victor Jara was born in the small town of Lonquen, Chile on September 23, 1932 to Manuel and Amanda Jara. As a child, Victor experienced first-hand what it was like to live a humble life. His father provided for his family with the wages he earned as a day laborer while his mother added to the family's income by working odd jobs. When Victor was still a young child his father, who had an alcohol problem and was an abusive husband, left home to work as a field laborer in the countryside. Conditions were rough for his mother who was left alone to raise Victor and his siblings. Notwithstanding, she managed to spend a great deal of time with her children, often playing the guitar and singing Chilean folk songs for them. Victor's mother died when he was only fifteen years old.

After spending a short time in a seminary and then in the military, Victor went on to study theater at the University of Chile, where he developed an interest in directing. After finishing school, he began his career as a director and was involved in numerous theater productions. It was during this time that Victor Jara experienced a renewed interest in traditional Chilean folk songs as well as national politics. Also during this time, he met Violeta Parra, another Nueva Cancion artist, who was the owner of a small café. In 1966, Victor Jara released his first LP, the self-titled "Victor Jara." That same year, he joined another Nueva Cancion group, Quilapayún, serving as the band's art director until 1969. In 1970, Victor ended his career as a director and turned his energy towards furthering the Chilean people's struggle for peace and justice through his songs, political activism, and support for leftist Chilean President Salvador Allende.

Allende, who belonged to the leftist coalition party, Unidad Popular, had been voted into office on a platform promising to take-over large foreign companies and monopolies, expropriate all landholdings over 80 hectares, and increase spending on social programs. His first year in office was a remarkable success - the working population saw their income increase by 50% while the real income of all Chileans rose an equally impressive 30%. But in spite of these early advances, by 1973, dissatisfaction with his presidency grew when economic conditions soured. While these difficulties were in part due to general market conditions and the side effects of his socially progressive policies, a major factor in the decline were the activities of his domestic and foreign critics. At home, the entrenched conservative elite controlled 95% of the radio stations, 90% of the newspapers, and all of the weekly magazines. The Catholic Church was adamantly opposed to his policies and the working class was divided largely as a result of the conservatives' stranglehold over public discourse. Overseas, hostile foreign interests had successfully influenced a significant reduction in both foreign investment and multilateral aid. Moreover, between 1970 and 1973, the United States Government spent $8 million pursuing a policy intentionally aimed at destabilizing the Chilean economy - a policy that had been authorized by then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (who was just recently honored by President George Bush with an appointment as the chairman of the 'Independent' 9/11 Investigative Commission, which Mr. Kissinger declined)

Take care,