Estadio Chile

Victor Jara

Victor Jara was one of the leaders of the New Song Movement in Chile which began in the 1960s and continued through the 70s. Shortly after the U.S. backed coup in Chile against President Salvador Allende on September 11th, 1973, Jara was arrested, tortured and gunned to death by the forces of General Augusto Augusto Pinochet.

The crime of Victor Jara was that he dedicated his artistic abilities for the betterment of humanity and socialism – a crime indigestible for the cronies of Imperialism. Through his songs Jara spoke for the struggle of people against dictatorship, fascism, and, capitalism, and Imperialism.

When the time for the forces of counter-revolution approached in Chile and the Chilean Generals got the green signal from Washington to attack the socialist leadership of Chile, Victor Jara become one of the first victims of the imperial aggression. Detained in the Estadio Chile (Chile Stadium) with 5,000 prisoners, Victor penned down an immortal poem that came to be known as Estadio Chile:

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…

***

I will strongly recommend reading three chapters from Joan Jara’s book Victor: An Unfinished Song.

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4 Responses to “Estadio Chile”

  1. I really like Victor Jara. His song about Che makes me weep.

  2. […] it is in the Spanish rough-hewn under the shadow of death; there’s an English translation here. Somos cinco mil en esta pequena parte de la ciudad. Somos cinco mil ¿Cuantos seremos en […]

  3. great poem by a great man with great courage.

  4. […] The crime of Victor Jara was that he dedicated his artistic abilities for the betterment of humanity and socialism – a crime indigestible for the cronies of Imperialism. Through his songs Jara spoke for the struggle of people against dictatorship, fascism, capitalism, and Imperialism. (Red Diary) […]

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