It is 40 years since Thatcher became PM in Britain. Her election ushered in change that damaged the fabric of society, destroyed communities and began the steady dismantling of the country’s infrastructure. I have a strong and abiding loathing of her and all she stood for.
It is arguably not widely known that Thatcher regarded Pinochet of Chile as a good friend and ally. I am currently re-reading Andy Becket’s excellent book Pinochet in Piccadilly which details the strange, fascinating and disturbing story of Thatcher and Pinochet.
When I first read the book I wrote the poem below. The poem returned to me as I read comments fawning over Thatcher and as I picked up the book again.
The trucks began to arrive
and cries rang from those
who dragged themselves
up the glass-strewn nitrate slopes.
No Red Cross.
Executions took place
beside the cemetery.
Now an unscarred monument
in black and blue and red
guards the place of the dead.
Vultures still circle overhead.
There is a memorial to the dead in Pisagua, pictured above; a solemn and frightening piece of wall art that tells the story of those taken, tortured, murdered and left in a mass grave under Pinochet’s orders.