Enough of me! I visited the cemetery because I wanted to offer a sincere and respectful salute to my host mom’s family and a few of the most emblematic figures of Chile: President Salvador Allende, 1951 Nobel Prize Laureate Gabriela Mistral and some others.
First of all, I went to a secluded area of the cemetery. Pretty much all gravestones were in German, English or Hebrew. This area of the cemetery was selected for “The Dissidents,” or all of the Protestants in Santiago. That is the area where I found my host mom’s family. Although I did not meet them, I felt some type of connection with them… Maybe it was the fact that I am Protestant like them? Or perhaps the fact that we share the same political beliefs? I don’t know. There’s no way I will ever know why I felt pleased to be there.
My trip continued as I decided to look for President Salvador Allende’s tomb. It took me about an hour to do so, but when I saw it, I had an immediate reaction. There I was, by the tomb of one of the most symbolic men for the cause of equality in Latin America. There I was, by the tomb of a man that was shamefully assassinated by the Chilean Armed Forces and the CIA, authorized by U.S. President Richard Nixon. There I was, by the tomb of a man whose words make me feel Chilean, “Trabajadores de mi Patria: Creo en Chile y su destino.” Shortly after those words emanated from Allende’s mouth, the presidential palace was bombarded. He died with humility, honor and patriotism. He died, and then Chile died along with him for the next 17 years.
To add more symbolism to my trip to the cemetery, I visited the 1951 Nobel Prize Laureate Gabriela Mistral. This eccentric, serious but wise woman became Chile’s first Nobel Prize receiver, followed by Pablo Neruda in 1971. Also, it is important to notice that she is the only woman to have received a Nobel Prize for Literature. For me, she is the “Iron Woman of World Literature.”
After that I looked for Victor Jara’s and Violeta Parra’s tombs but I wasn’t able to find them. Too bad. Despite of that, I am satisfied with my Saturday. One small thing I would like to share is a poem I wrote (in Spanish) as I sat next to Salvador Allende’s tomb.
“A Salvador,” July 21, 2012; Santiago de Chile
Un amigo y compañero de destino americano.
Emblema de razón, que aún perdido volverá a la vida.
El pueblo sufrido pidió al viento un fresco aliento para el futuro.
El corazón chileno latió al lado izquierdo, estremeciendo al mundo.
El enemigo empezó a batir el mar azul que se tornó obscuro.
Se apagó el volcán de esperanza por el invierno inmundo.
Y por medio de las gafas de equidad pasó la manta negra de dureza.
Sobre La Moneda voló Satán moliendo al pueblo y espolvoreándolo.
El inicuo Zorro rió al sentir que pudo menos la razón sobre la fuerza.
Se fue la poderosa luz, y llegó el tormento a Chile, masacrándolo.
Tu fuiste el pastor de los que aman la simple alegría.
Patriarca de todos los que por soñar, en tinieblas lloramos.