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A song for Gaza - The Ballad of Rivka and Mohammad

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The Ballad of Rivka and Mohammad

I was watching the news from Gaza
And I fell asleep on my chair
And when I woke up from my slumber
A young girl was standing there.

She said, My name is Rivka
They killed me because I’m a Jew
I died in the ghetto of Vilna
In nineteen forty two.

The ghetto was like a prison
They wouldn’t allow us to leave
Some said they were going to kill us all
We didn’t know what to believe.

That day I wore my new red dress
My bubbe had made for me
And in that crowded ghetto
It made me feel proud and free.

I looked up at the soldier
I looked him in the eye
I forgot to bow my head down
And so I had to die.

He smashed my head with his rifle
Because I was too bold
I was killed in the Vilna ghetto
When I was seven years old.

And then out of the darkness
A young boy’s gaze met mine
He said, My name is Mohammed
My country is Palestine.

I’ve lived all my life in Gaza
And the only time I feel free
Is when I go down to the harbour
And feel the wind from the sea.

That day I went with my cousins
We ran down to the beach to play
Then the soldier fired a shell at me
And blew my life away.

They want to crush our spirits
They want us to be afraid
Locked up in the prison of Gaza
The prison that they have made.

To them our lives don’t matter
They force us to live in a cage
I was killed on the beach in Gaza
At eleven years of age.

They don’t think that we deserve freedom
Or belong to the human race.
Mohammed, my brother, said Rivka,
This world is a cold, cold place.

Mohammed, my friend, my brother,
Let us leave this world of war.
Then each took the hand of the other
And then they were seen no more.

But I saw spokesmen and politicians
Lining up to speechify
And every word was a hypocrite
And every word was a lie.

I saw children still being slaughtered
The monster must have its fill
While the people with power sat on their hands 
And supplied the weapons that kill.

I weep for the people of Gaza
And they are weeping still
And I curse the ones who do nothing
And encourage the monster to kill. 
Last Updated on Monday, 04 August 2014 17:09

.... five die in outbreak of West Bank unrest over Gaza

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They walked to the wall in their thousands
They came like a surge of the sea
They crossed the hard and barren earth
Where their olive groves used to be
They flew flags in freedom's colours
Sang songs of victory
The Wall carved through the landscape
For as far as the eye can see.

The Wall towered over them
The Wall barred their way
Above them an Apache
Hovered like a bird of prey
Some of them picked up stones and rocks
And hurled them against the Wall
And stood and watched in silence
As if waiting for it to fall.

Uneasy in their watchtowers
Uncertain what to do
The soldiers looked down on the swelling crowds
And their nervousness grew
The Brigadier phoned the General
Who arrived in his APC
'There's trouble here,' said the Brigadier
Said the General, 'Leave it to me.'

He climbed up into the watchtower
He spoke through a megaphone
'Go back now where you came from
This is a military zone.'
'We want justice, we want freedom,'
They chanted in reply.
'You won't find them here,' said the General.
'Don't you know they're in short supply?'

'We want bread, justice, freedom,'
They sang out with one voice.
'We are the third intifada
You give us no other choice.
You turn our lives to rubble
You turn our hopes to dust
But you cannot break our resistance
For we know our cause is just.'

Said the General, 'You've had your last warning.'
'This is our land,' they said.
The soldiers' hands gripped their rifles
The gunship buzzed overhead.
They said, 'Do you think you can kill us all?'
The General said, 'Why not?'
A woman screamed out to the heavens
When they fired the first shot.

The Minister of Propaganda
Alerted the BBC
'Terrorists tried to breach the fence
And attack our troops,' said he.
A hostile mob assembled
Where civilians aren't allowed
And gangs of armed militants
Hid themselves in the crowd.
Of course any civilian casualties
Are a matter of great regret
But we have the right to defend ourselves
When our soldiers are under threat.'

The white flag the boy was waving
Was a white scarf stained blood red
And the vow he made was a promise
That one day their blood would be shed.
They gathered up their wounded
They gathered up their dead.
'We will come again tomorrow.'
'Your choice,' the General said. 


(From A Proper State Fuse CFCD 024 released 2008.)

Last Updated on Monday, 04 August 2014 17:09

TONY BLAIR to advise the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi..

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Democracy so fine, so fair
How come it landed us with Blair?
Gave us as our leader one
Who thinks that he is God’s own son
A tricky politician who
Believes what he believes is true.
Some think him bumptious, vain and smug
Regard him as a well-bred thug
But Blair’s an amiable guy
Look he wouldn’t harm a fly
But when he smiles, children die.
I met murder on the stair
He had a mask like Tony Blair
He cracked a smile, he cracked a joke
A pretty straighforward sort of bloke.
And a crusading politician
Democracy, that’s his mission
To spread it here, to spread it there
So everyone can have a share.
Western democracy, the prize
The surest way to civilise
The backward nations, set them free
And if they dare to disagree
They must be bombed for their objections
Until they learn to hold elections.
They call this, I forgot to mention, 
Humanitarian intervention.
And did the slaughter his war brought
Ever give him pause for thought?
And did the chaos he created
A country smashed and devastated
The tortured, the incarcerated
The shattered millions who fled
The maimed, the half a million dead
Cause him to pause or hesitate? 
Or did he simply calculate
That this was a price that was worth paying
And salved his conscience by praying?
Well afterwards you couldn’t get
From Blair a smidgeon of regret.
Indeed this unrepentant man
Declared a wish to bomb Iran
Liar, fantasist and faker
Will answer only to his maker.
Now think on this - for all his crimes
We elected Blair - three times.
Last Updated on Monday, 04 August 2014 17:13

Happy Birthday Leon!

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On 22nd June 2014, Leon turned 80!

Friends and family joined him for a day of singing and merry-making  

Friends and family

Singing in the garden 

Leon's life in records was served up for dessert, in flavours of ginger, date and lemon. Yum!

80th birthday cake 

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 16:01

People's Assembly Protest

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One day before his 80th birthday, Leon joined forces with Owen Jones, Russell Brand and fifty thousand people to protest against austerity at a rally organised by the People's Assembly 

We spotted this video of Leon in action on the web.

Credit: Garlic Toothpaste on YouTube 

Visit the People's Assembly website to find an event near you and keep an eye on our Gigs page for Leon's next performance!

Last Updated on Friday, 27 June 2014 15:43

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Catch Leon's Next Gig