Tag Archives: chile

let’s remember jane doe, not willy pickton

there is a sad mystery in the trial of william pickton, the trial of canada’s most gruesome serial murder. dozens of women disappeared between 1997 and 2002 from vancouver’s downtown eastside, and today william pickton, a pig farmer from coquitlam, a city part of great vancouver, was charged with second degree murder of six of them.

all in all, willy pickton is accused of murdering 26 women. however, the remains of one woman were never identified, and he could only be charged for killing 25. the truly missing woman, we call her jane doe.

let’s just take a moment and remember all the john and jane does of this world.

the jane doe of vancouver, who was used, killed and thrown away like a candy bar wrapper.

all the soldiers that were and are still being used as cannon fodder. the grave of the unknown soldier in canberra, australia

the desaparecidos of argentina and chile – thousands of people who disappeared in cruel dictatorships.

and people who are still alive today – people whose homelessness and poverty makes them so invisible, they are close to dead.

i’m writing this in a warm, spacious, loving home, my belly full of a good supper that i had in the company of a handful of wonderful people.

i don’t really know what to say.

only that i can’t just look away from the unknown soldier, from the madres de plaza de mayo who never found their children again, from the person who is homeless just a mile away, and from jane doe.

may you rest in peace, jane. and may we not fall asleep in our comfort but continue to be restless in our search for peace justice, and social justice.

i was going to stop here. and then it occurred to me – let’s not remember these people for being desaparecidos.

i truly believe that there are few greater needs in life than to feel that we belong, that we are part of, that we contribute. we don’t know all these unknown, disappeared people but at least we can imagine how they enriched the world …

… jane doe’s laughter, and the cigarettes that she shared with her neighbour …

… the unknown soldier’s buddy – oh, wait, let’s give the unknown soldier a name, too. let’s call him tommy hawkings. tommy’s buddy met his wife at one of the barn dances that tommy was so famous for organizing …

maria beatriz maroni, a young argentinean woman, who had dedicated her spirituality to social justice …

… and – see how the circle comes round again: young homeless gay men in new york, who help each other deal with the struggles in the survival sex trade …

people who contribute.

let’s give the last word to sting here on you tube as he sings

one day we’ll dance on their graves
one day we’ll sing our freedom
one day we’ll laugh in our joy
and we’ll dance
one day we’ll dance on their graves
one day we’ll sing our freedom
one day we’ll laugh in our joy
and we’ll dance

(thanks to kamasupra for the lyrics and madsta for the image of the tomb of the unkown soldier)

(this post was mentioned in the carnival against sexual violence, one of the best blog carnivals around) 

thanks, violeta

the other day, i came across pensieve, who is challenging the blogosphere to come up with a thanksgiving limerick.

since i’ve been digging back into my chilean songs lately, i came up with this harebrained idea of trying to turn violeta parra’s gracias a la vida into a limerick. it doesn’t do justice to violeta’s beautiful poem and music – but it was a great opportunity to look more deeply into violeta parra’s art. maybe i’ll write a post about her one day – the story of her struggles with mental illness, her creativity and her social activism certainly fits well into this blog.

so, pensieve, here’s my thanksgiving limerick:

life, thank you, you’ve given me so much:
stars, mountains, words, legs, eyes and love.
a heart full of joy
and room, too, for sorrow,
and a song to share with my brothers.

for a link to mercedes sosa singing this song, the spanish lyrics and a translation into the english, visit mikkelina.

the last remembrance day song for 2007: canto libre by victor jara

yesterday i promised you a translation of victor jara’s canto libre. here it is (and here is the MP3 version).

dove of peace

my verse is a dove
looking for a place to nest.
and with a roar it opens its wings
to fly, to fly.


my song is free
and wants to give itself
to whoever opens his hand
yearning to set the world free.


my song is a chain
without beginning, without an end,
and every link contains
the song of everyone else.


let’s never stop singing together
to all humanity.


a song is a dove
who flies so that it may discover.
with a thunder it opens its wings
to fly, to fly.


my song is a free song.

(image by mafleen)

remembrance day songs for a different kind of soldier

don’t know why remembrance day fascinates me so – at any rate, here’s another post about it, following the one last week and this and this last year.

today i’d like to honour some soldiers for peace and democracy who died upholding their convictions.

  • ephialtes, a fighter for democracy 400 BCE
  • martin luther king, fighter for racial equality
  • gregoris lambrakis, greek anti-fascist and inspiration for the movie “Z”
  • mahatma gandhi, non-violent anti-imperialist and indian president
  • bishop oscar romero, liberation theologist from el salvador
  • john lennon, activist and ex-beatle
  • victor jara, chilean poet, singer-songwriter, educator and political activist
  • john f. kennedy, US president

two of them made music, wrote songs. here’s one by john lennon:

we are all water from
different rivers
that’s why it’s so easy to meet
we are all water in this vast,
vast ocean
someday we’ll evaporate

there may be not much
between rockefeller and you
if we hear you sing.

there may be not much
between rockefeller and you
if we show our dreams

the other one is victor jara. watch this youtube video, it shows his beautiful and very distinctive voice and guitar playing. victor jara was a bit of a national hero – the way poets and musicians are heroes in south america – i wish we had such a culture here!

he died shortly after the coup in chile on september 11, 1973. he was one of thousands of people rounded up by the military, tortured and killed.

one of the many songs that i’d like to remember him for is canto libre. i couldn’t find any translation of it into english here on the internet so i’ll work on that and serve it up to you tomorrow.