The other September 11: Ken Loach’s short film on the US-orchestrated coup in Chile


The great investigative journalist, Paul Foot, wrote this in September 2001, after Ken Loach sent him his short film about the CIA-directed Chilian coup. Paul Foot died 12 July 2004.
Source: The Guardian

Ken Loach’s film (see below) goes some way to explaining, though not excusing, the twin towers atrocity of 11 September 2001.

Ken Loach sends me a tape of the film he made on the events of September 11. His was one of 11 such films, all of them 11 minutes nine seconds and one frame long, by well-known directors all over the world. The films were shown at the Venice film festival, where Ken’s won the critics’ Fipresci award as the outstanding short film.

The film highlights the coincidence that an even more appalling manmade disaster took place on Tuesday September 11 1973, 28 years before the attack on the twin towers. This was the armed overthrow of the elected social democratic government in Chile. The film features Vladimir Vega, a refugee from Chile to Britain in the late 1970s, writing a letter of sympathy and solidarity to the “mothers, fathers and loved ones” of those who died on last year’s September 11. It includes a contemporary clip of George Bush proclaiming: “The enemies of freedom have committed an act of war on our country”.

Mr Vega points out that in 1973 the enemies of freedom committed an act of war on his country, ousted the elected government, murdered the elected prime minister Salvador Allende, and set up a military dictatorship under Margaret Thatcher’s friend Augusto Pinochet. The dictatorship slaughtered up to 30,000 of its opponents on some estimates.

Mr Vega, then a young man, was a keen member of Allende’s literacy brigades and devoted himself to teaching people to read. For this he was arrested, beaten unconscious by Pinochet’s thugs and, without charge or trial, imprisoned for five years. His friends and associates were not so lucky. Many were murdered by the enemies of freedom. Mr Vega’s gentle tone disguises his angry message: that the enemies of freedom on that September 11 were inspired, organised and subsidised by the government of the US.

There was no time to make the point, though it may occur to anyone who sees the film, that the same enemies of freedom inspired, subsidised and assisted hideous atrocities on civilian people in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Angola, the Congo, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Lebanon and Afghanistan, just to name a few of the territories they plundered.

Ken Loach’s film, and several others in the same collection, went some way to explaining, though not excusing, the twin towers atrocity of 11 September 2001, rather than simply mourning it, as most of the media have done.

Salvador Allende’s last speech

My friends,

Surely this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the towers of Radio Portales and Radio Corporación.

My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. May they be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, titular commanders in chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself commander of the Navy, and Mr Mendoza, the despicable general who only yesterday pledged his fidelity and loyalty to the government, and who also has appointed himself chief of the Carabineros [national police].

Given these facts, the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign!

Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seed which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever. They have strength and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested neither by crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

Workers of my country: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you always had, the confidence that you deposited in a man who was only an interpreter of great yearnings for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the constitution and the law and did just that. At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the armed forces broke their tradition, the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same social sector which will today be in their homes hoping, with foreign assistance, to retake power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.

I address, above all, the modest woman of our land, the campesina who believed in us, the worker who labored more, the mother who knew our concern for children. I address professionals of Chile, patriotic professionals, those who days ago continued working against the sedition sponsored by professional associations, class-based associations that also defended the advantages which a capitalist society grants to a few.

I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours — in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to protect them. They were committed. History will judge them.

Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to [inaudible]the workers.

The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.

Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again where free men will walk to build a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.


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