Children of Jerusalem

Did you see them praying And the Army marching in
As they clubbed old women Did you see the general grin
Watch the stones fly And the snipers taking aim
On Shatila’s birthday It’s a calculated game
They’re gunning down the children of Jerusalem

Did you hear the screaming See the horror on his face
As he hid for cover In a tiny, unprotected space
Did you hear his father pleading “There is a child here”
Trying to protect his son Who yelled in terror and in fear

Did you feel the wind blow From the helicopter blades
Did you smell the tear gas See the demolition raids
Did you see the rockets And the dum-dum bullets fly
Did you feel the horror To watch one more young boy die

Did you see the roadblocks Letting nobody go past
Watch the blood flow As time is running fast
See someone’s brother Taking his last breath
So close to the hospital But closer still to death

Did you hear the fatcats Say “It’s not what it appears
“It’s an armed uprising “A realization of our fears
“Do you hear them chanting “That this is their homeland
“They want what’s ours “And we’ve got to make a stand

Some want power And it seems the world’s theirs to give
Some just want peace And a decent place to live
Some talk of destiny And what their God has willed
And a mother weeps That her nine-year-old’s been killed

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“Children of Jerusalem” originally appeared on the 2001 CD, Living In These Times. Later on the collection of songs related to the Palestinian struggle, Falasteen Habibti (“Palestine, My Love”), in 2014.

I had long had decidedly pro-Palestinian opinions when it came to the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but until the beginning of the Second Intifada in September, 2000, I hadn’t written any songs on the subject that I liked enough to perform. When Sharon and his troops visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the anniversary of his Sabra and Shatila massacre back in 1982 and proceeded to massacre children there, this set off the Second Intifada. And it also set off a whole series of songs.

This songs basically just describes the news, what was happening at the time. For writing the song I was widely denounced as a fascist by Israel supporters in Israel, primarily. And then a week later, when the song started circulating among Palestinians somehow or other, I received a veritable flood of fan mail from people with clearly Arab names all over the world, as well as from many of their non-Arab supporters (like me). It’s been a joy and a privilege to know so many wonderful Palestinians who I’ve met since 2000, as a result of writing this song, and others on the theme.