Sunday, February 12, 2012

Revisiting Estadio Chile

Victor JaraPenned by Victor Jara prior to brutal torture and death, the poem known as Estadio Chile delivers history in a manner which disrupts ordinary recollection. Victor's last poem was smuggled out of the stadium by a survivor of Pinochet's cleansing of socialist adherents. Beyond a testimony of the nueva cancion singer, the poem magnifies the contrasts between the 5,000 detainees and their executioners, the bouts of madness encouraged by torturers, the rapid assassinations striving to eliminate any traces of identity.

The lyrics cease abruptly as Victor was seized by soldiers to be mocked, tortured  and eventually murdered. Despite repeated attempts to discover the identity of the general nicknamed 'The Prince' who, upon recognising the singer, specifically ordered that he was to oversee Victor's torture and murder, Victor's family and indeed Chileans, keep combating the oblivion shrouding the torturer's identity. 

Victor's poem translates the history of Estadio Chile into an almost tangible reality, exhibiting the dynamics of Pinochet's dictatorship to the reader. A reality which risked being cloistered within the realm of oblivion; a sliver of history failing to provoke concern in a world acquiescing to the structure of imperialism.

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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