They Say the Homeland Is - Soldier's Song

Author:
Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio
Testimony by:
Sergio Reyes Soto
Place & date:

This song, like so many others, was not at all “captive”. The revolutionary songs we sang behind bars imbued us with a sense of freedom. Rolando Alarcón, and later Quilapayún, introduced “Dicen que la patria es” (or “Canción de soldados”) to Chile.

I sang this song often because it accurately described our situation. The words plead to soldiers not to fire against their own people. Rarely did this occur in Chile, but we shared our prisoners’ barracks, called Remo, with three members of the Air Force.

Freedom songs travelled with those who sang them. This song travelled from Pudeto Military Base in Punta Arenas, to Dawson Island, to the Municipal Stadium occupied by the Air Force, and then to the Punta Arenas Jail. However, I don’t recall singing it much at the Cochrane Military Base next to Los Ciervos River, to the south of Punta Arenas.


Published on: 07 September 2015


They say the homeland is
a gun and a flag
my homeland is my brothers
who work the land.

My homeland is my brothers
who toil the earth
while here they teach us
how to kill at war.

Oh, I won’t shoot, no
Oh, I won’t shoot, no
Oh, I won’t shoot at my brothers.
Oh, if I were to shoot, yes
Oh, if I were to shoot, yes
against those who choke the people with their bare hands.

If my brother raises himself up
when I am in the regiment
I take the gun and blanket
and I take for the hills with him.

The war they so fear
doesn’t come from foreign lands
these are strikes just like those
the miners won.

Oh, I won’t shoot, no…

Officers, officers
you are so brave
we’ll see if you are still brave
when our day comes.

The war they so fear
doesn’t come from foreign lands
these are strikes just like those
the workers won.

Oh, I won’t shoot, no…

They train us to fight
against workers,
may lightning strike me
if I attack my comrades.