When Pinochet seized Chile they arrested Victor then -
They caged him in the stadium with 5000 frightened men
Victor picked up his guitar his voice resounded strong
And he sang for his comrades till the guards cut short his song
They broke the bones in both his hands and beat him on the head
Tortured him with electric wires then they shot him dead
Victor Jara of Chile lived like a shooting star
He fought for the people of Chile with his songs and his guitar
His hands were gentle and his hands were strong
- from Victor Jara by Christy Moore (written by Guthrie/Mitchell)
Christy Moore is an Irish singer who sings of Irish ways and Irish issues but he does not limit himself to songs of oppression at home. He has collected, performed and recorded songs about various freedom fighters across the world. Biko Drum about Steve Biko and a nod to Mandela in South Africa, The Disappeared mentions the martyred Catholic Bishop Oscar Romero and this song that seems to be a live favourite of Moore’s Victor Jara.
Jara was a Chilean singer songwriter like Moore. He used his art to speak out for the socialist leader Salvador Allende who won the Chilean elections in 1970. A coup set up by right wing dictator Pinochet with the help of America overthrew Allende in 1973. Allende featured with Jara in a Moving Hearts' song Allende. Many of Allende’s supporters including Jara was taken to the Chilean national stadium where they broke the bones in Jara’s hands so he couldn’t play guitar and asked him to sing, similar cruel fun poking humiliation that Christ experienced at his cross. Jara sang We Will Win and they beat him some more before riddling his body with 44 bullets and dumping his body in the streets. In 2003 the stadium was renamed Victor Jara Stadium. Christy Moore’s sings it with a beautiful defiance full of dignity and inspiration.