Spanish Journalist Strike

The battle had been raging
For how long it’s hard to say
We were there to tell the story
Of the slaughter, come what may
We didn’t hide behind the lines
We reported on the crimes
For BBC, Telemundo
And the Sunday Times
They said we were in danger
Bearing witness to the war
A half dozen had just been killed
In the days before
Then came the day they bombed Jazeera
And Abu Dhabi TV there as well
At the same time they took aim
And shelled the Palestine Hotel

Four journalists were murdered
In a single day
And then our own Prime Minister
Aznar was to say
There will be no investigation
Such a thing would not make sense
It was just a tragic accident
So at his next press conference
Aznar approached the podium
To give a national address
Gathered all around him
The men and women of the press
He opened his mouth
We put our cameras on the floor
Dropped our notebooks, turned our backs
And walked right out the door

We marched down the street
And left our cameras where they lay
‘Cause all the news that’s fit to mention
Is there is no news today

We were not imbedded
In your networked play by play
We were just reporters
Reporting day by day
We were trying to do our jobs
Bring the Baghdad street
Whether it was victory
Massacre or defeat
And those three missiles told a story
That’s not hard to surmise
The Army has decided what’s good
For the global public’s eyes
These missiles weren’t coincidence
Of this there is no doubt
And on that April afternoon
“Assessinos” we did shout

Chorus

What happens to the message
When the messenger is shelled
What happens to a nation
That says it’s just as well
What happens when the imbeds
Are the last ones left alive
Is this your brave new world
In which our liberty shall thrive

Chorus

“Spanish Journalist Strike” appears on the CD, For the Moment (2005).

It was a remarkable event, barely reported in the English-language media at the time, and hard to find on the internet today if you’re looking, I’ve found. ┬áBut in the course of the events following the US military shelling the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, resulting in the deaths of a number of journalists including a Spanish one, the pro-war Spanish prime minister was beginning a typical press conference, when the entire collection of Spanish media representatives in the room, whether TV, radio, print, etc., just put down their pens and cameras and walked out of the room.

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