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December 10, 2006



This post illustrates the reason I don't listen to WFMU as much as I used to. Sorry, but that's something I had to get off my chest. Having said that, Victor Jara was a great singer, and it's great to see him get his due, even if it is as a footnote to a political rant.

Vic Perry

Yes, where are the posts celebrating "our boys" and their glorious exploits around the globe that have brought such joy to millions of good people and consternation to the forces of evil? I would prefer to believe such things and would prefer if you would help me in my struggle to believe them instead of posting such "bringdown" material. By the way, you totally rock. Keep up the good work, but please don't let us know about anything that might hurt our self-image as a country. That is called, "non-patriotism."


A cleverly aped statement, Vic, but it has nothing to do with anything that I was trying to say.

My point is simple: I wish that politics of any sort would take a backseat to music here, of all places. I'm sorry if that idea offends you, but I thought that's what all of this was supposed to be about.


While I agree with Thom that it would be nice to focus attention on a musician without bringing politics into it, with Victor Jara, that's pretty much impossible. In Chile at the time, it actually was a revolutionary act to sing a song to people. Jara was a freedom fighter, a popular hero, and a leading member of the Nueva Canción. Brazil's populist musical heroes were jailed and exiled -- Chile's were murdered, often publicly. Victor Jara was tortured and machine-gunned in a stadium Pinochet's military used to stash and dispose of dissidents. It's claimed he was forced to play his guitar after his captors had broken his fingers. Victor Jara's murder was a direct result of the US-backed 9/11/73 Pinochet coup; this unavoidable truth has to forever be more than just subtext in any discussion of his life. I agree tho, it is very sad to see Victor Jara become a footnote to a Pinochet obituary. One small piece of justice: that stadium where he was murdered is now named Estadio Victor Jara.

(Here's Victor Jara in the WFMU archives Here's Robert Wyatt covering his most well-known song "Te Recuerdo Amanda". And big ups to DJs Acapulco Rodriguez and Hatch for both including Jara tracks on their 2006 Marathon premiums!)


Sorry for the misunderstanding, but this was not meant to be an obituary for Pinochet, and the Victor Jara reference was not meant to be a footnote. My intention is probably best summarized by this quote from the Santiago Times about the celebrations in Chile:

"We don't need to celebrate his death, we need to remember our own people, the detained, the murdered," said Axel Gottsshalg, a middle-aged Chilean who lived through the dictatorship, though it was clear from his chanting - and the feverish energy of the crowd - that Pinochet's death will be more than an occasion to mourn the past.

And Thom, this blog is not (only) about music, and has never been. Recently, there have been posts about drywall, industrial safety, sun spots, crapping your pants, cookie-scented ads, french movies, holy action figures, and Qur'an instruction, to name but a few.


Don't mean to pour salt into a festering wound, but this type of stuff in latin america began well before the 60's, as seen with the orchestration of the creation of Panama to facilitate a canal in the 1920's, and punctuated by a brutal overthrow of the elected president of guatemala in 1954. That said, without these brutalities, the "nueva cancion" genre may never have emerged.
Have a nice day.


The story about the soccer stadium is, I am pretty certain, an urban myth. Pinochet certainly murderered enough people to fill a soccer stadium, Victor Jara among them. Think for a minute about the logistics of filling a soccer stadium with people and then proceeding to torture and kill the most famous one before the crowd and then murdering the rest. Unless of course it hurts your head to think about anything but entertainment, in which case there are still a few safe places to hide if you have the cash.


Thanks for this post Lukas.

For me as a second generation exile-Chilean these are historic times indeed, and I am glad that this blog doesn´t hesitate to steer into these more serious territories.

Bartleby, just do the research..

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