Saturday, September 11, 2010


The other September 11

On this date in 1973 in Chile, a coup began in which the military overthrew the elected government of that country. The Chilean military did so with the military and financial aid of the U.S. government. Acts of terrorism committed that day included the bombing of the Chilean presidential palace by military aircraft, which (among other effects) resulted in the death of President Salvador Allende.

From 2003, an account and analysis of the events of those days by Roger Burbach, in the website of the magazine CounterPunch, here. Burbach was in Santiago, Chile, at the time of the coup, and witnessed many of the events first-hand. As he relates in his article, two of his friends were among the untold thousands who were killed by the military regime that seized power.

When I Googled "september 11, 1973" it brought up links to many other sources of information about the events of that day in Chile. I encourage you to go looking.


On a related topic: I recently read Clandestine in Chile by Gabriel García Márquez (published 2010 by New York Review Books; originally published in Spanish sometime in the late 1980's). The book is an account (non-fiction, not a novel) of the experiences of Chilean documentary filmmaker Miguel Littin, when Littin returned clandestinely to Chile in 1985 (after 12 years in exile in Mexico and Spain) to make a film documenting political and economic conditions in Chile under the Pinochet regime.

García Márquez wrote the book after interviewing Littin about the two months he spent in Chile filming illegally, and the book is written in first-person from Littin's viewpoint. I found the narrative intensely gripping throughout -- it gives a vivid picture of the living conditions and political and psychological atmosphere Littin observed and encountered, and the constant danger he was in while he remained there doing the filming. I also found it useful in the insights it gives into how people will find ways to persist with political resistance even under the most brutally oppressive conditions.

The publisher's webpage for the book is here.


"Bring to the cup of this new life
your old buried sorrows."

-- Pablo Neruda, from "Alturas de Macchu Picchu," my own translation.

It reminds me of Espada's poem 'Something Esacapse the Bonfire' which I recently translated (into Hindi) to commemorate Victor Jara's martyrdom.

Really powerful and thought-provoking. Nice to be informed and entertained as well. Thanks for this awesome share.
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