• Michael Laxer

"What horror the face of fascism creates!" - Víctor Jara

Updated: Sep 13

Víctor Jara was murdered by the Chilean coup regime, September 16, 1973.

"What horror the face of fascism creates!" - Víctor Jara

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 …- Estadio Chile

Víctor Jara, murdered by the Chilean coup regime, September 16, 1973.

Jara -- a poet, singer, teacher and leftist activist was tortured and killed by the forces of Augusto Pinochet after the US backed coup against the democratically elected Marxist government of Salvador Allende in Chile.

He, along with thousands of others, was herded into the Estadio Chile. They smashed his hands to taunt him as a guitar player and musician before shooting him and dumping his body on the street.

During the few days before his murder he wrote the poem above and it was smuggled out of the stadium.

In 2004 the Estadio Chile was renamed Estadio Víctor Jara

To read more about his murder and the poem see: victor jara and the story of his last poem