The Poets Morgue

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I came by chance recently upon the German poet Gottfried Benn I read a translation of this little poem which appeared in his five poem chapbook Morgue und andere Gedichte [Morgue and other Poems] Berlin, I had no idea of its provenance but out of curiosity, because I have a little German, I went onto google to see if I could find the original and check it out at the source.

I must say I was fascinated by the poet's life, and by the shock and revulsion this little book caused.

The pain of Schwartz’s poetry is only a pale reflection of the painful life from which it grew.

You see I didn't find the poem shocking at all. It seemed, if anything, quite like a lot of other poems I have read.

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Times have changed. I wonder how much these little poems were instrumental in that change. Michelle Elvy May 9, at AM.

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Victor left Joan to join students defending the university. It didn't seem important. I said goodbye in an ordinary way.

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That was the last I saw of him," she says. Jara was among those rounded up by the military and taken to a stadium that had been turned into a makeshift prison camp. When Joan went to the British embassy for help, it was closed though many other nations had opened their doors to asylum seekers.

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Victor managed to smuggle a message out of the stadium, telling Joan where he had last parked their car and saying that he loved her. That was the last she heard from him.

A week later, she was taken to the morgue and asked to identify his body. Some with their hands tied behind their backs. Despite what she saw, Joan considers herself fortunate.

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According to Chile's truth and justice commission, 3, people were killed during the Pinochet dictatorship, including about 1, who "disappeared". Bodies are still being found today.

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It was only last December that Barrientos and another officer were charged with Jara's murder and five others were named as accomplices. Lawyers said the case was based on the corroborated testimony of a conscript, Jose Paredes, who had earlier been accused of the killing. The suit filed against him in the US last week invokes the Torture Victim Protection Act and the Alien Tort Statute, which gives US courts jurisdiction over rights violations committed in other nations.

It alleges that Barrientos ordered the torture of the poet in the stadium locker room and then played Russian roulette with Jara, shot him in the back of the head at point-blank range and ordered five conscripts to fire dozens of rounds into the body. Barrientos has denied the accusations.

History remains fiercely contested in Chile. Santiago's museum, anniversary events and flood of related TV dramas and radio programmes attest to the growing recognition of the atrocities carried out during the Pinochet era. This week, the Chilean judges organisation made an unprecedented apology for its failure to protest human rights abuses during the Pinochet era.

German Expressionism

But many of the general's former supporters argue the events of are now misrepresented. People talk of abuses of human rights, but that is wrong," said Roberto Mardones, the administrator of the Pinochet Foundation, which has an exhibition of the general's medals and books many on Napoleon and a mock-up of his office. There was a lot of hate. There were strikes, shortages of gas, sugar, matches and nappies. When the junta proclaimed on the radio that they would bring peace and stability, there was euphoria.

I went out with my family to celebrate. It was like a carnival. The gulf between such views and those of the victims shows the difficulty of reconciliation in Chile after 40 years. Joan Jara said the US could now help by recognising its role and supporting efforts to bring the accused to justice.

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I know many in the US condemned the coup and were in solidarity with the people of Chile and the victims of executions, disappearances and torture. This case is for all of us. Topics Chile.

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