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War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

This is a discussion on War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics within the Arts and Culture forums, part of the Miscellaneous category; As-Salaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh, While there have already been a number of beautiful poems posted variously centering around ...

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    Transient Traveler Sharif's Avatar
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    Default War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

    As-Salaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh,

    While there have already been a number of beautiful poems posted variously centering around this topic, I thought I would start a thread in which such pieces could be gathered together.

    The literature can be from Muslims or non-Muslims, and song lyrics are fine too, as long as the actual music is not posted. After all, the real significance in a song should not be in the rhythms and instruments used to produce it, but in the meaning of its lyrics.
    Last edited by Sharif; 18th February 2011 at 03:08 AM.

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    Transient Traveler Sharif's Avatar
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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

    The following song was written by Phil Ochs, who was an anti-Vietnam War protest singer. He has many other songs that are just as poignant, and as relevant today as they were back then.

    What Are You Fighting For?
    By Phil Ochs

    Oh you tell me that there's danger to the land you call your own,
    And you watch them build the war machine right beside your home,
    And you tell me that you're ready to go marchin' to the war.
    I know you're set for fighting, but what are you fighting for?

    Before you pack your rifle and sail across the sea
    Just think upon the Southern part of the land that you call free.
    Oh, there's many kinds of slavery and we've found many more.
    I know you're set for fightin', but what are you fighting for?

    And before you walk out on your job in answer to the call,
    Just think about the millions who have no job at all,
    And the men who wait for handouts with their eyes upon the floor.
    Oh I know you're set for fighting, but what are you fighting for?

    Turn on your TV, turn it on so loud,
    And watch the fool a smiling there and tell me that you're proud,
    And listen to your radio, the noise it starts to pour.
    Oh I know you're set for fighting, but what are you fighting for?

    Read your morning papers, read every single line,
    And tell me if you can believe that simple world you find.
    Read every slanted word till your eyes are getting sore,
    I know you're set for fighting, but what are you fighting for?

    And listen to your leaders, the ones who won the race
    As they stand right there before you and lie into your face.
    If you ever try to buy them, you know what they stand for.
    I know you're set for fighting, but what are you fighting for?

    Put ragged clothes upon your back and sleep upon the ground,
    And tell police about your rights as they drag you down,
    And ask them as they lead you to some deserted door.
    Yes, I know you're set for fightin', but what are you fightin' for?

    But the hardest thing I'll ask you, if you will only try,
    Is take your children by their hands and look into their eyes,
    And there you'll see the answer you should have seen before:
    If you'll win the wars at home, there'll be no fighting anymore.

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    Transient Traveler Sharif's Avatar
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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

    I Ain't Marching Anymore
    By Phil Ochs

    Oh I marched to the battle of New Orleans
    At the end of the early British war.
    The young land started growing,
    The young blood started flowing,
    But I ain't marchin' anymore.

    For I've killed my share of Indians
    In a thousand different fights.
    I was there at the Little Big Horn,
    I heard many men lying,
    I saw many more dying,
    But I ain't marchin' anymore.

    It's always the old to lead us to the war,
    It's always the young to fall.
    Now look at all we've won with the sabre and the gun,
    Tell me is it worth it all.

    For I stole California from the Mexican land,
    Fought in the bloody Civil War.
    Yes I even killed my brother
    And so many others,
    And I ain't marchin' anymore.

    For I marched to the battles of the German trench
    In a war that was bound to end all wars.
    Oh I must have killed a million men
    And now they want me back again,
    But I ain't marchin' anymore.

    It's always the old to lead us to the war,
    It's always the young to fall.
    Now look at all we've won with the sabre and the gun,
    Tell me is it worth it all.

    For I flew the final mission in the Japanese sky,
    Set off the mighty mushroom roar.
    When I saw the cities burning,
    I knew that I was learning
    That I ain't marchin' anymore.

    Now the labor leader's screamin' when they close the missile plants,
    United Fruit screams at the Cuban shore.
    Call it "Peace" or call it "Treason,"
    Call it "Love" or call it "Reason,"
    But I ain't marchin' any more.
    Last edited by Sharif; 18th February 2011 at 03:16 AM.

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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

    A Moment of Silence, Before I Start this Poem
    Emmanuel Ortiz, 11 Sep 2002.

    Before I start this poem, I'd like to ask you to join me
    In a moment of silence
    In honor of those who died in the World Trade Center and the
    Pentagon last September 11th.
    I would also like to ask you
    To offer up a moment of silence
    For all of those who have been harassed, imprisoned,
    disappeared, tortured, raped, or killed in retaliation for those strikes,
    For the victims in both Afghanistan and the U.S.

    And if I could just add one more thing...
    A full day of silence
    For the tens of thousands of Palestinians who have died at the
    hands of U.S.-backed Israeli
    forces over decades of occupation.
    Six months of silence for the million and-a-half Iraqi people,
    mostly children, who have died of
    malnourishment or starvation as a result of an 11-year U.S.
    embargo against the country.

    Before I begin this poem,
    Two months of silence for the Blacks under Apartheid in South Africa,
    Where homeland security made them aliens in their own country.
    Nine months of silence for the dead in Hiroshima and Nagasaki,
    Where death rained down and peeled back every layer of
    concrete, steel, earth and skin
    And the survivors went on as if alive.
    A year of silence for the millions of dead in Vietnam - a people,
    not a war - for those who
    know a thing or two about the scent of burning fuel, their
    relatives' bones buried in it, their babies born of it.
    A year of silence for the dead in Cambodia and Laos, victims of
    a secret war ... ssssshhhhh....
    Say nothing ... we don't want them to learn that they are dead.
    Two months of silence for the decades of dead in Colombia,
    Whose names, like the corpses they once represented, have
    piled up and slipped off our tongues.

    Before I begin this poem.
    An hour of silence for El Salvador ...
    An afternoon of silence for Nicaragua ...
    Two days of silence for the Guatemaltecos ...
    None of whom ever knew a moment of peace in their living years.
    45 seconds of silence for the 45 dead at Acteal, Chiapas
    25 years of silence for the hundred million Africans who found
    their graves far deeper in the ocean than any building could
    poke into the sky.
    There will be no DNA testing or dental records to identify their remains.
    And for those who were strung and swung from the heights of
    sycamore trees in the south, the north, the east, and the west...

    100 years of silence...
    For the hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples from this half
    of right here,
    Whose land and lives were stolen,
    In postcard-perfect plots like Pine Ridge, Wounded Knee, Sand
    Creek,
    Fallen Timbers, or the Trail of Tears.
    Names now reduced to innocuous magnetic poetry on the
    refrigerator of our consciousness ...

    So you want a moment of silence?
    And we are all left speechless
    Our tongues snatched from our mouths
    Our eyes stapled shut
    A moment of silence
    And the poets have all been laid to rest
    The drums disintegrating into dust.

    Before I begin this poem,
    You want a moment of silence
    You mourn now as if the world will never be the same
    And the rest of us hope to hell it won't be. Not like it always has
    been.

    Because this is not a 9/11 poem.
    This is a 9/10 poem,
    It is a 9/9 poem,
    A 9/8 poem,
    A 9/7 poem
    This is a 1492 poem.

    This is a poem about what causes poems like this to be written.
    And if this is a 9/11 poem, then:
    This is a September 11th poem for Chile, 1971.
    This is a September 12th poem for Steven Biko in South Africa,
    1977.
    This is a September 13th poem for the brothers at Attica Prison,
    New York, 1971.
    This is a September 14th poem for Somalia, 1992.
    This is a poem for every date that falls to the ground in ashes
    This is a poem for the 110 stories that were never told
    The 110 stories that history chose not to write in textbooks
    The 110 stories that CNN, BBC, The New York Times, and
    Newsweek ignored.
    This is a poem for interrupting this program.

    And still you want a moment of silence for your dead?
    We could give you lifetimes of empty:
    The unmarked graves
    The lost languages
    The uprooted trees and histories
    The dead stares on the faces of nameless children
    Before I start this poem we could be silent forever
    Or just long enough to hunger,
    For the dust to bury us
    And you would still ask us
    For more of our silence.

    If you want a moment of silence
    Then stop the oil pumps
    Turn off the engines and the televisions
    Sink the cruise ships
    Crash the stock markets
    Unplug the marquee lights,
    Delete the instant messages,
    Derail the trains, the light rail transit.

    If you want a moment of silence, put a brick through the window
    of Taco Bell,
    And pay the workers for wages lost.
    Tear down the liquor stores,
    The townhouses, the White Houses, the jailhouses, the
    Penthouses and the Playboys.

    If you want a moment of silence,
    Then take it
    On Super Bowl Sunday,
    The Fourth of July
    During Dayton's 13 hour sale
    Or the next time your white guilt fills the room where my beautiful
    people have gathered.

    You want a moment of silence
    Then take it NOW,
    Before this poem begins.
    Here, in the echo of my voice,
    In the pause between goosesteps of the second hand,
    In the space between bodies in embrace,
    Here is your silence.
    Take it.
    But take it all...Don't cut in line.
    Let your silence begin at the beginning of crime. But we,
    Tonight we will keep right on singing...For our dead.

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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

    Lives in the Balance
    by Jackson Browne

    I've been waiting for something to happen
    For a week or a month or a year,
    With the blood in the ink of the headline
    And the sound of the crowd in my ear.

    You might ask what it takes to remember
    When you know that you've seen it before,
    Where a government lies to her people
    And a country is drifting to war.

    And there's a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who send the guns
    To the wars that are fought in places
    Where their business interests run.

    On the radio talk shows and the T.V.
    You hear one thing again and again,
    How the U.S.A. stands for freedom
    And we come to the aid of a friend.

    But who are the ones that we call our friends--
    These governments killing their own?
    Or the people who finally can't take any more
    And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone.

    And there are lives in the balance,
    There are people under fire,
    There are children at the cannons,
    And there is blood on the wire.

    There's a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who fan the flames
    Of the wars that are fought in places
    Where we can't even say their names

    They sell us the President the same way
    They sell us our clothes and our cars.
    They sell us everything from youth to religion
    The same time they sell us our wars.

    I want to know who the men in the shadows are,
    I want to hear somebody asking them why
    They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
    But they're never the ones to fight or to die.

    And there are lives in the balance,
    There are people under fire,
    There are children at the cannons
    And there is blood on the wire.

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    Transient Traveler Sharif's Avatar
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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

    Quote Originally Posted by Abu Shu'aib View Post
    John Walker Lindh writes to Cageprisoners:



    Dear Cageprisoners Ltd.:

    As salaamu ‘alaikum. Enclosed are three poems for the website. They are not copywritten, but please reproduce them exactly as they are presented here. Also, if possible, please notify me when you receive them.

    Note that the poem “A Mussulman...” is not an entirely original composition; rather, it was based on a poem from the American Revolutionary War called “The Irishman’s Epistle to the Officers and Troops at Boston” which was published anonymously in 1775.

    Jazakum Allahu Khairan.

    Was salaama ‘alaikum,
    Abu Sulayman Yahya Lindh

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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics



    It’s said that black death spread by fleas
    On backs of rats they rode
    One fateful autumn thus they came
    With vengeance as their code


    Like blight they spread from crags to plains
    To hilly dusty turf
    To rocky lunar landscapes ‘neath
    The rooftop of the earth

    They hid behind the highest clouds
    To fly as swift as sound
    With daisy cutters cluster bombs
    And spies upon the ground

    *

    Their leader stepped out swaggering
    Declaring a crusade
    He called the world to follow him
    And most of them obeyed

    For wolves may foam and bark and bite
    And gnash and gnaw and hiss
    But if a sheep should dare bite back
    He’d be a terrorist

    The knights of Malta raised their spears
    The knights Templars came next
    The rabble cheered them in the streets
    Priests quoted Bible texts

    *

    Their quislings all crawled out to them
    Each kneeled to give his oath
    They squealed and cried “Islam is peace”
    But disbelieved in both

    They ushered ashen donkeys forth
    Jackasses bearing scrolls
    They brayed in fervent fever pitch
    For dollar bills in rolls

    The words they spoke those days were such
    That had he known their name
    Old Abdullah Ibnu Ubayy
    Would cringe and blush in shame

    *

    They send their drones to level homes
    And blow up wedding feasts
    They heap more arms in warlords’ hands
    To spread democracy

    They roam at night to break down doors
    To search and strip and rape
    To bind and kidnap anyone
    To shoot those who escape

    With muzzles full of lofty talk
    Free speech and human rights
    They drive out millions from their land
    And say it’s worth the price

    *

    An aid worker clerk or farmer
    Sold like a modern slave
    Gets beaten by their boots and guns
    And thrown into a cage

    He’s sat upon and spat upon
    Broke by the brave and free
    By brave crusaders brave and bold
    As brave as brave can be

    If they but knew that with each act
    Of torture and abuse
    Around the neck of Uncle Sam
    They tighten up the noose

    *

    Mirages in the distance glow
    Lads line up in the queue
    As one more body bag comes back
    Hid from the public view

    A blistered bloated jarhead face
    Deep purple findernails
    A smell seeps out that’s foul enough
    To cleanse a man’s entrails

    Their rulers lurch and boast and strut
    But keep far from the fray
    They swoon and quake from fear to tread
    Where lurking lions lay

    *

    As tawheed’s caravan moves on
    And marches in the dusk
    The crimson wound of one of them
    Emits the scent of musk

    To rule God’s earth by God’s own law
    They sacrifice their lives
    They spill their lifeblood willingly
    Until God’s help arrives

    Although victory entices them
    What soothes them even more
    Is hope to enter gardens lush
    With honey milk and hur

    *

    Where stars and stripes and Union Jacks
    And NATO flags once flew
    Black banners rise in Khurasan
    In hands of every hue

    Just as how warsteeds’ coats are cleaned
    And purged of lice and fleas
    The cavalcade of martyrs fights
    An empire to its knees

    All praise and thanks are due to God
    To Him alone they bowed
    And peace be on His messenger
    Whose face beams in his shroud


    Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi
    Detainee #001
    Ramadan 1431
    Last edited by Sharif; 18th February 2011 at 03:05 AM.

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to Sharif For This Useful Post:
    Abul Hasan (21st September 2012)

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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics



    An avuncular man whose sole name is Sam is
    Inscribing his memoirs in history’s annals
    His quill dips and scribbles lifts and scribbles some more
    With a fist to his jaw and shibshibs on the floor
    His inkwell runs dry so he rises to fill it
    From a flask of fresh blood that’s corked by a bullet
    He sits right back down and starts scratching the pad
    To write of an innocent bright faced young lad


    *

    Top brasses spray spittle with all of their curses
    “He’s worse than the worst of the worst of the worsest
    He’s worse than a storm-trooping Third Reich cadet
    More wicked than Eichmann more than Pinochet
    He endangers our freedom if he’s left alone
    He’s spent more years in prison than Big Al Capone
    We must needs make haste to hoist Khadr on the gibbet
    He threatens our country and all that’s within it”


    *

    He was just a wee lad in the fine town of Khost
    From a high noble family that feared God the most
    Always good to his father a hardworking man
    True and sweet to his mum and beloved to his clan
    When down from the clouds a most foul beast alighted
    And out of its bowels plopped a doughboy excited
    All wild-eyed and yelling then out squeezed another
    ‘Midst gunfire and shelling they nabbed our wee brother
    When they saw his round face they shot twice out of fright
    Then they plucked out his eye in display of their spite
    They tied up his limbs though his mind was unconscious

    *

    Feed him to the beast...
    And behold as it launches...

    *

    They flew him to Bagram which lies north of Kabul
    Locked him in a cage though he scarcely could hobble
    They threatened to rape our young friend in a prison
    (For ‘tis don’t you know an old Yankee tradition)
    They drugged our young hero with needles and potions
    And sent him blindfolded past mountains and oceans
    A black hole on land that they’d bagged from the Cubans
    Became his new home as they hacked him to ribbons

    *

    Comes now His Dishonour’s sleek sable abaya
    The ladylike robes of his silky attire
    “Boy we grant you your freedom and cherish your rights
    Now confess boy you know you done wrong in our sights
    You hold in your heart a plumb evil religion
    Your face has the same savage shade as an injun
    You know you done wrong boy now speak to My Honor!
    A sand-nigger’s place is a grave or a slammer!”


    I end with a message to every oppressor
    To each gavel-grasping bench-squatting cross-dresser
    As you judge you’ll be judged and my closing remark is
    A victory jig on the back of your carcass


    Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi
    Detainee #001
    Ramadan 1431

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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics



    Och Barry it seems ye’re but yahoos and fools
    With your brains in your breeches your drawers in your skulls
    Get home with your flintlocks and put up your swords
    And look in your books for the meaning of words
    Ye see now ye Yankees how much ye’re mistaken
    For Kabul by rabble can never be beaten


    How brave ye went out with your muskets all bright
    And thought to be-frighten the folks with the sight
    But when ye got there how they slaughter’d your chums
    And all the way home how they pepper’d your bums
    And ‘tis not yet Yankees a comical crack
    To be proud in the face and be shot in the back

    We were truly tickl’d by all your grand speeches
    If only ye’d tarried to do some researches
    For ‘twas quite odd ye fancied they did not know how
    To be after their firelocks as smartly as yous
    Why ye see now ye Yankees ‘tis nothing at all
    But to pull at the trigger and pop goes the ball

    O’Bama ‘tis one thing to be full of hope
    But to ride in your Humvees on bridges of rope
    And send out your wee’uns in full fightin’ gear
    When they hear the takbir they pass water for fear
    And look at ye now buildin’ bridges to hell
    Did ye think ye’d outdo the great Fionn mac Cumhaill?

    And what have ye got now for all your designin’?
    A Homeland without victuals to sit down and dine in
    So lie on the ground like a parcel of noodles
    And sing how the Yankees were beat by Pushtoodles
    I’m sure if ye’re wise ye’ll repent like a sinner
    For if ye keep fightin’ ye won’t be the winner


    Abu Sulayman al-Irlandi
    Detainee #001
    Ramadan 1431

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    Default Re: War Protest Poems and Song Lyrics

    More to come, in shaa' Allaah.

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