A blog on reading, writing and life

Thursday, November 17, 2016

English Translation of El Derecho de Vivir en Paz

Earlier today when I imported posts from an old blog, I came across my translation of "Alfonsia y el Mar." I had always wanted to do more translations of my favorite songs, so today I did "El Derecho de Vivir en Paz" by Victor Jara. You can listen to the song here. Jara was a Chilean folk singer who was brutally murdered by the 1973 coup. Legend has it that even as he was being tortured, he never stopped singing songs of revolution.

My translation isn't quite literal. It is written so it can be sung to the original tune.

El Derecho de Vivir en Paz
by Victor Jara

We have the right to live.
The poet Ho Chi Minh
exposes his Vietnam
to the rest of humanity.
The trenches where green rice grows
won't disappear in gun smoke.
We have the right to live in peace.

Indochina is the land
beyond the ocean and sand
where flower blossoms bloom
with genocide and napalm.
An explosion replaces the moon,
and silences all but doom,
We have the right to live in peace.

Uncle Ho, we have a song,
that's burning with our pure love.
It's a dovecote with a dove,
an olive fruit in the grove.
It's the universal song--
a chain that links all of mankind.
We have the right to live in peace.

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