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Forum LockedSanta Maria School Massacre

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    Posted: 21-Sep-2007 at 22:34
The worst massacre in Chilean history was the massacre of Santa Maria School, in the city of Iquique, year 1907.
 
That date a strike of miners started. They worked in the worst condition imaginable extracting saltpeter in the Chilean northern desert, for the benefit of British employers. They were payed in leader coins instead of money, and they could only buy goods in the shops of the company they worked.
 
Tired of suffering hunger, the workers of Chilean, Bolivian, Peruvian and even European nationalities, with theirs women and children, marched from the mines in the desert into the port city of Iquique. There they were stopped by the army and conducted to the primary school called Santa Maria. There were 15.000 people crowed there.
 
After some days, the army received the order to push the workers out of the city. Machine guns were mounted in the sourronding buildings. The army then called them to abandoned the school. They dissobey and the army started fired killed and undeclared number of people that vary from 300 up to perhaps 3.000 men, women and children.
 
They were buried in a common ground prepared for that purpose before the killings.
 
That's the worst massive crime in Chilean history, before the military coup of Pinochet. Perhaps is also one of the most violents strikes ever in the face of earth. It is also a shame we would never forget.
 
Pinguin
 
Santa Maria, School
 
  
 
 
workers of the time
 
 
 
 
just hours before the massacre..
 
workers were payed with letter tickets, not real money
 
 
Tracing remains of workers massacred 100 years ago in Chile
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
 
 
Santiago, Aug 29 (IANS) One hundred years after the massacre of over 3,000 mainly Peruvian and Bolivian nitrate miners in the deserts of northern Chile, experts are seeking their remains in an act of reparation and recovery of historical memory.


Although precise figures do not exist, popular accounts speak of 3,600 people killed at the hands of soldiers sent by the 1906-10 government of Chilean President Pedro Montt to suppress a strike, the Spanish news agency EFE said.

'Any genocide is terrible and we don't remain at the margins of that. It really shocks me how the state functioned,' said archaeologist Francisco Tellez, who is in charge of a team of eight experts.

The team has been sent to undertake the arduous task of recovering the skeletal and mummified remains and identifying them.

According to oral accounts, the murdered workers were originally thrown into a common grave near the scene of the slaughter but later exhumed and transferred to a grave close to the coroner's office in the city of Iquique, 1,857 km north of Santiago.

The 'Santa Maria School Massacre' of Dec 21, 1907, became the landmark event in the history of Chilean unionism, marked by massacres that are scarcely noted in the official history of the time.

'Memory is so short and this happened 100 years ago. There's a lot of myth about what happened here. The accounts say that they were killed by submachine guns... and that they were thrown naked into a common grave in the cemetery,' said the archaeologist.

So far, 1,282 sets of remains have been exhumed, from newborns to quite elderly people, along with shoes, clothing, religious medals, a mirror and other commonly used objects, as well as pages from newspapers of the day and personal documents, Tellez said.

'We have skeletons, mummified, dehydrated corpses and bodies that are completely fragmented,' said Pedro Iriondo, an official with the medical examiner's office.

'We have not done a report yet, and it would be irresponsible, for now, to say that they are or aren't victims of the Santa Maria School massacre,' he said.

'We've done 75 percent of the work and we still have a quarter left to go, and perhaps in that remaining 25 percent we'll find the evidence we're seeking,' he added.

Iriondo said that although the forensic team had found sets of remains with gunshot wounds to the head, they still cannot say that the bodies in the grave are those of the workers who extracted sodium nitrate - used to make gunpowder - from deposits in the desert.

The 1907 strike paralysed most of the 102 sodium nitrate deposits then being exploited in the northern Chilean desert, where the workers worked in subhuman conditions.

The workers did not receive money as pay for their labour but rather chits that they could only exchange for food and other articles in the company store.

Tired of the exploitation and after striking for several days, on Dec 10 the workers marched with their families to Iquique, where the authorities set up the Santa Maria School as a shelter for them.

On Dec 21, however, troops surrounded the school and opened fire on the workers, 60 percent of whom were Peruvians and Bolivians.

Indo-Asian News Service


Edited by pinguin - 21-Sep-2007 at 22:44
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2007 at 13:26
Santa Maria School Massacre was the inspiration of music as well. Revolutionary (I mean socially motivated) music boost in the late 60s and early 70s. Between them, a masterpiece was the "Cantata" Santa Maria, which applied barroque technique to Andes folk music for the first time. Today even Bach is played with charangos and quenas, but back them it was amazing to listen to a polyphonic work of that kind.
 
Pictures of the famous (in here) Cantata Santa Maria and some youtubes
 
This is from Wikipedia:
 
 

Santa María de Iquique (or Cantata Santa María de Iquique: Cantata Popular) is a cantata composed in 1969 by the Chilean music composer Luis Advis Vitaglich, combining elements of both classical and folkloric/indigenous musical traditions to produce what became known as a popular cantata and one of Quilapayún’s most acclaimed and popular musical interpretation. The theme of the cantata is an historical industrial dispute that ended with the massacre of miners in the northern Chilean city of Iquique in 1907. The reading is impeccably executed by the Chilean actor Hector Devauchelle, who captures the increasingly tense struggle between the miners and their exploiters in the narrative. Instrumental interludes and songs empower the progression of the story leading to a final song which voices the miners demand for an end to exploitation with visions of an egalitarian and free world.

 
 
 Composer's Notes

The following are the statements made by Luis Advis, that appeared on the original booklet that accompanied the record release in 1970.

“This work, dedicated to Quilapayún, was composed following the general guidelines of a classical cantata. There is, albeit, a variant which refers to: literary-thematic aspects: the traditional religious motive has been replaced with one based on real events from the social order.”

“The musical stylistics: rather than avoid the European traditions, it has been amalgamated with melodic trends, harmonic modulations and rhythmic nuclei of American or Hispanic-American root. “

“Instrumental aspects: of the traditional orchestra we have only preserved the violoncello and the double bass in supporting mode, joined by two guitars, two quenas, one charango and one Bombo legüero. “

“Narrative aspects: the classical recitative chant has been replaced by spoken narration. This contains rhythmic and metrical elements with the aim of not breaking the sonorous totality.”

History

The Cantata Santa Maria de Iquique represented Quilapayun at the Segundo Festival de la Nueva Canción Chilena (NCCh) (Second Festival of the New Chilean Song).

Despite the success of the work, it had its share of critics within the music world at the time of its release; some critics saw this work as too pretentious, complex and classical for it to be part of a popular neo-folkloric movement. This debate over what was authentic, what served “the cause” would grow in the years following the cantata’s release – creating serious dialectical confrontations on what materials were to be included or excluded from the NCCh.

Despite this the work was the highlight of the NCCh and a masterpiece of the Nueva Canción in Latin America and many musicologists and musicians consider it one of the most important recorded musical composition in Latin American music history.

This great appreciation for the work didn’t appear to be shared by some members of Quilapayun who saw in the existing work considerable room for improvement. In 1978, they assigned the Belgian/argentine writer Julio Cortázar to restructure part of the original text and they introduced minor modifications to the original recorded arrangements for a new version and recording. This was done without consulting the composer of the work, Luis Advis, who upon hearing of the recording expressed great dismay and publicly attacked the artistic integrity of both Quilapayun and Julio Cortázar. [1]

------

Santa Maria School Massacre was the inspiration of music as well. Revolutionary (I mean socially motivated) music boost in the late 60s and early 70s. Between them, a masterpiece was the "Cantata" Santa Maria, which applied barroque technique to Andes folk music for the first time. Today even Bach is played with charangos and quenas, but back them it was amazing to listen to a polyphonic work of that kind.
 
Pictures of the famous (in here) Cantata Santa Maria and some youtubes
 
This is from Wikipedia:
 
 

Santa María de Iquique (or Cantata Santa María de Iquique: Cantata Popular) is a cantata composed in 1969 by the Chilean music composer Luis Advis Vitaglich, combining elements of both classical and folkloric/indigenous musical traditions to produce what became known as a popular cantata and one of Quilapayún’s most acclaimed and popular musical interpretation. The theme of the cantata is an historical industrial dispute that ended with the massacre of miners in the northern Chilean city of Iquique in 1907. The reading is impeccably executed by the Chilean actor Hector Devauchelle, who captures the increasingly tense struggle between the miners and their exploiters in the narrative. Instrumental interludes and songs empower the progression of the story leading to a final song which voices the miners demand for an end to exploitation with visions of an egalitarian and free world.

 
 
 Composer's Notes

The following are the statements made by Luis Advis, that appeared on the original booklet that accompanied the record release in 1970.

“This work, dedicated to Quilapayún, was composed following the general guidelines of a classical cantata. There is, albeit, a variant which refers to: literary-thematic aspects: the traditional religious motive has been replaced with one based on real events from the social order.”

“The musical stylistics: rather than avoid the European traditions, it has been amalgamated with melodic trends, harmonic modulations and rhythmic nuclei of American or Hispanic-American root. “

“Instrumental aspects: of the traditional orchestra we have only preserved the violoncello and the double bass in supporting mode, joined by two guitars, two quenas, one charango and one Bombo legüero. “

“Narrative aspects: the classical recitative chant has been replaced by spoken narration. This contains rhythmic and metrical elements with the aim of not breaking the sonorous totality.”

History

The Cantata Santa Maria de Iquique represented Quilapayun at the Segundo Festival de la Nueva Canción Chilena (NCCh) (Second Festival of the New Chilean Song).

Despite the success of the work, it had its share of critics within the music world at the time of its release; some critics saw this work as too pretentious, complex and classical for it to be part of a popular neo-folkloric movement. This debate over what was authentic, what served “the cause” would grow in the years following the cantata’s release – creating serious dialectical confrontations on what materials were to be included or excluded from the NCCh.

Despite this the work was the highlight of the NCCh and a masterpiece of the Nueva Canción in Latin America and many musicologists and musicians consider it one of the most important recorded musical composition in Latin American music history.

This great appreciation for the work didn’t appear to be shared by some members of Quilapayun who saw in the existing work considerable room for improvement. In 1978, they assigned the Belgian/argentine writer Julio Cortázar to restructure part of the original text and they introduced minor modifications to the original recorded arrangements for a new version and recording. This was done without consulting the composer of the work, Luis Advis, who upon hearing of the recording expressed great dismay and publicly attacked the artistic integrity of both Quilapayun and Julio Cortázar.

---------------------------

Cover of a Quilapayun record
 
 
 
 
Youtubes
 
My favorite tune:
 
 
The ending:
 
 
 
----
 
Pinguin
 
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 22-Sep-2007 at 13:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2007 at 13:43
Thanks for posting this. I read through it and one thing which struck me is how much this event resembles something else in Latin American fiction.

In G.G. Marquez's book Cien Años de Soledad the strike at the banana plantation happens in many ways like this, with a striking workforce only able to buy food from their employers being eventually gunned down whilst demonstrating. I think this massacre may have inspired Marquez to include the massacre at the banana plantation in his book.
It is not the challenges a people face which define who they are, but rather the way in which they respond to those challenges.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Sep-2007 at 13:49

Perhaps it inspired Marquez. However, it is more likely he was inspired in other similar massacres in his own country. This kind of brutality was common in the beginning of the 20th century in Latin America. That explain many things that happened afterwards, I am afraid.

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