Nae Pasaran

A few months ago I came across a Kickstarter project called Nae Pasaran.  I was intrigued to read that a Chilean documentary-maker working in Scotland had completed filming the story of Rolls Royce workers at East Kilbride, near Glasgow, who in the 1970s had blocked the servicing of jet engines from the planes of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Pinochet who, with US connivance, had overthrown the democratically elected socialist régime of Chile in 1973, was cracking down ruthlessly on the population of his country.  He interned as many as 80,000 people, torturing thousands more, and executed somewhere between 1200 and 3200.  (There is a wonderful Jack Lemon film set during this time, called “Missing”).   He also bombed civilians in Santiago.

It was this persecution that prompted the workers at East Kilbride to boycott the servicing of the Chilean jet engines, thereby grounding many airforce planes, and undoubtedly saving civilian lives.

The engines were put under wraps and sat untouched in the works yard for several years until one day they mysteriously disappeared.

The story so intrigued Chilean filmmaker, Felipe Bustos Sierra, that he raised the money to make a documentary about it, which he called “Nae Pasaran” – a kind of Scottish version of the Spanish for “thou shalt not pass”.  Unfortunately, he ran out of money to pay for the post-production editing of film and sound, and launched a Kickstarter project to raise the funds to finish it.

Since I was very much around in the seventies when this was all happening, working as a journalist in Glasgow, I felt that it was a project worth a donation.  I, along with others, provided the cash that has enabled Felipe to bring the project to a conclusion.  And the Glasgow Film Festival has now invited “Nae Pasaran” for a screening at its closing night gala on March 4th, when it will have it’s world première.

Sadly, I wont be able to go, but have been promised a DVD as compensation.

And one of those Rolls Royce workers, Stuart Barrie, renowned over the years for his poetry, has written a poem in my honour, which I found very touching.  Here it is:

‘Nae Pasaran’ was in a knot 

Needing finance booster shot 

When from mists Peter walked out 

Planted seeds that soon would sprout 

No story of Scot’s engineers ! 

No story of the Chilean tears ! 

No story of the engines ‘blacking’ ! 

Without your coins, without your backing 

This poem is part, of the barter 

For your generous Kickstarter 

donation given with fine heart 

Enjoy these verses a la carte 

PETER MAY

Born Glasgow nineteen fifty-one 

Keelys were pale from lack of sun 

Lead in water pipes way back then 

Made keely’s depressed now and again 

But Peter was fine, that was until 

He got ground down in the ‘Savings’ mill 

Lines of figures, endless numbers 

Sinking fast in toxic slumbers 

So being pure gallus, being a chancer 

(He wisnie dolly, he had an answer) 

“If I stay here, I’ll melt down” 

So Peter did a runner to London town 

Then back to Glasgow, back he came 

Trainee Car Salesman, (job without shame) 

Left in a year, then did a course 

That fed his heart and vital force 

To work in Paisley to report 

On Buddie’s lives, their days in court 

So up the ladder, on his bike 

Over to the Scotsman, that was a hike 

Worked for Roy then Ken the son 

Building his craft for the long end run 

Like tousled hair, looking for a comb 

Glasgow called its own son home 

As Evening Times, ‘Background Writer’ 

Honed his skills, pulled it tighter

Then off to the ‘telly’, to use his theories 

Purvey his art in scripts and series 

Words vocation, a spate in flood 

Story and synopsis ran in his blood 

Standard, Squadron, High Road, Machair 

Literary dervish, apprentice Voltaire 

At the ripe old age of forty five 

From chrysalis came a butterfly 

Peter May … word gourmet 

Left the telly … flew away 

His first love once again embraced 

His appetite was most unchaste 

His trade now learned, his art refined 

Li Yan forensic mastermind 

appeared from out of Peter’s head 

To solve the riddles of the dead 

Now west to France for cold case files 

Peter and Enzo, Scottish exiles 

Produced Cast Iron, Blowback, Freeze Frame 

Half of half dozen that brought French Fame 

Next north to Lewis where spells are cast 

Dark streams flow from Fin Mac’s past 

Ah Pete my man ! Heyoka empaths ! 

Plumbing the soul in warm bloodbaths 

Now in Saint-Céré you domicile 

in some style, a Francophile 

But nae good curries for some whiles 

(The price that’s paid by Scotch eggs isles) 

Hope you live long, hope you live well 

Crack heart’s code for citadel 

Now in autumn of your life 

Within the grasp of freedom’s knife 

Cooked all your meals, had your fill 

Last page, last words, behold, be still.

About Author Peter May

International best-selling author of several series of books: the Lewis Trilogy - "The Blackhouse", "The Lewis Man" and "The Chessmen" - The Enzo Files and the China Thrillers, as well as standalone novels including "Entry Island", "Runaway" and "Coffin Road".
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7 Responses to Nae Pasaran

  1. sally brown says:

    So enjoyable! Thank you for sharing and for the books. It feeds my weary soul.

  2. Margaret Devine says:

    Lovely story. Great Poem. Sums you up pretty well.

  3. Pat Buchanan says:

    Most enjoyable as are your books- I have and have read them all. Looking forward to your next book. Thanks for giving me many hours of pleasure.

  4. luvviealex says:

    Ooh I’d like to see that film for sure.

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