Song of a Middle-Class Man (Canción de un hombre medio)

Author:
Sergio Vesely
Testimony by:
Sergio Vesely
Place & date:

In our political discussions, we always spoke disdainfully of the middle class. In the view of the Marxist ideologues in prison, that sector of society supported the dictatorship and it was necessary to reverse that trend. It was not an active support but rather a passive support that involved laying low and getting by with the dictatorship.

Where possible, it was a case of don't see, don't hear and don't say anything that might smell of politics. There was general agreement that it was necessary to do something to awaken those people, the only disagreements being as to the means to achieve this end, and this depended on whether you were a MIR supporter, a communist, a socialist or an ideologue of any other party or group. In this respect, prison did not bring us any progress.

The daily regime at Valparaíso Jail obliged you to spend most of the day locked in your cell. If I was lucky to have a guitar to keep me company, I could transform that reclusion into a fleeting freedom that lasted until the prison guard opened the latch the next morning. Something of the sort must have happened the night I wrote this song.

I forgot my troubles and the idea occurred to me to describe a typical middle-class guy, somewhat submissive and timorous, modestly singing verses that end with him saying that phrase we so hoped to hear him say: “now I like the reds”.


Published on: 23 September 2015


I ask permission of those here,
I am Mr. Nobody and I come to chat with you.
I will tell you about it in tune,
with a pretty melody.
I ask permission of those here,
I am Mr. Nobody and I’ve come to chat with you.

In this country were seen
strange things a while back.
I will tell you about it in tune,
with a pretty melody.
A bunch of soldiers arrived
bullets flew, what brutality.

Then they proclaimed order
and swore to defend our nation.
I will tell you about it in tune,
with a pretty melody.
And now dollars come
to consolidate our freedom.

Look, it’s not that I hold a grudge.
I’m down and can’t shout.
I will tell you about it in tune,
with a pretty melody.
They imposed curfews
and there was no war here, what a disaster.

They say you’re white
and if they say you are black, they tell you to get out of here.
I will tell you about it in tune,
with a pretty melody.
They take you for a fool
and they jail you if you start shooting.

I may not be tactful
but this smells bad to me.
I will tell you about it in tune,
with a pretty melody.
If one disagrees
and sees a uniform, better take off fast.

I have always been a democrat,
a middle-class Chilean and apolitical.
I will tell you about it in tune,
with a pretty melody.
Now I like the reds,
just between you and me, but it’s the truth.

I ask permission of those here,
I am Mr. Nobody and I’ve come to chat with you.