40 years on

Today it is forty years since the coup in Chile. While it isn’t primarily a ‘cultural’ memory, it was nevertheless important for me and many others. We might not have known all that much about Chilean music before the day Allende and countless others died, but we soon learned.

My Chilean music

What was so lucky in such dreadful times was the fact that many of the big names in Chilean music were abroad on September 11th. That way they survived, and they were well suited to carry on the fight with the help of their songs.

Whether groups like Quilapayún and Inti-Illimani would have toured Sweden had there been no coup I don’t know. But the way things were they came, and we saw them, and we shared in what they had to offer.

Many other people also came. First it was the more public figures. (I remember when Peruvian peasant leader Hugo Blanco came to my small home town, staying with the friends of a friend.)

By Christmas 1973 those friends were hosts to many political leaders, both Chilean and from other parts of Latin America, who had already sought refuge in Chile, and who had been forced to leave yet another country to be safe.

And then there were people like Víctor Jara who died in Santiago. They have not been forgotten.

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3 responses to “40 years on

  1. The 40th anniversary of the horrific coup against Salvador Allende and his democratically elected government was not forgotten in the U.S. among man, nor the loss of so many beautiful lives.
    Democracy Now had a two-night program with Joan Jara, the spouse of Victor Jara and Joyce Horman, spouse of Charles Horman. Both of their husbands were killed by Pinochet’s military during the coup.
    The two women have courageously devoted their lives to investigating what happened to their loved ones and at whose hand — and in keeping their names alive. They have also investigated and publicized the role of the U.S. government in the coup.
    Cheers to these heroic women and we sing Venceremos in the memory of Victor Jara, Charles Horman and all of the Chileans who sought a better world based on solidarity.

  2. Thanks for this, Kathy. That sounds very good indeed. Over here it does feel as if people have forgotten, and 11th September means only one thing.

  3. Friends and Chilean activists organized an evening in remembrance of the Sept. 11, 1973 events and of those who gave their lives trying to build a better world. It was held at an important union hall in New York City, but I think events were held all over the country.

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