Promised Land

Life could’ve been different
You think I don’t know
I could’ve been born in Paris
Or in the Wisconsin snow
But I’m from this desert
And here I will stand
And I will meet you in the promised land

You know I went to college
To be an engineer
Thought I’d do something useful
But what good is that here
When your jet fighters bomb
Any buildings that stand
I will meet you in the promised land

The life of the fighter
I didn’t choose
But I love my people
And I can follow your cues
If destroying our world
Is your leader’s command
I will meet you in the promised land

My name is Mohamed
But I don’t know if it’s true
If we go anyplace better
When our life here is through
But you have butchered my family
You must understand
I will meet you in the promised land

I know it’s not pretty
But for all that you’ve done
For all the widows and orphans
And all the wars that you’ve won
I must teach you a lesson
Maybe you’ll understand
I will meet you in the promised land

So I will get in this plane
And when it’s in the air
To your symbols of power
And our source of despair
I’ll look out through the cockpit
And steady my hand
I will meet you in the promised land

Sheet music for this song can be found in Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

“Promised Land” appears on the 2003 CD, The Return.

“The Dying Firefighter” is a song from the vantage point of a firefighter as he’s dying, caught beneath rubble in the World Trade Center.  This song is from the perspective of one of the hijackers.  The mind of an Al-Qaeda terrorist is absolutely no more difficult to understand than the mind of someone in an air force, bombing civilians in Guernica, Dresden or Hanoi.  There is also no moral distinction between these groups, and no significant distinction between the activities they engaged in.  Aside perhaps from the fact that the Al-Qaeda militants intended to die in the process of carrying out their operation.

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