I Wanna Go Home

I was born a refugee
And I don’t know if I’ll ever see
The old farmhouse I’ve heard about
But it’s where I belong, there is no doubt
‘Cause my whole family is from that farm
And we never did nobody harm
And if you’re confused by what you’ve heard
Let me boil it down to a single word

I wanna go home (3x)

And I have heard my grandpa say
That on the street most every day
The neighbors’ kids would kick a ball
With my dad when he was small
We were Christians, they were Jews
But it was no big deal, religious views
So it was strange when at the point of a gun
Across the river we had to run

I wanna go home (3x)

We had dabkeh, we had songs
And we all knew where we belonged
We grew crops, life was good
There in the land where Jesus stood
Now we’re scattered everywhere
But there’s no peace anywhere
I’m just searching for some kind of sign
For some way back to Palestine

I wanna go home (3x)

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“I Wanna Go Home” originally appeared on the 2004 CD, Songs for Mahmud. Later also on the 2014 CD, Falasteen, Habibti (“Palestine, My Love”). Sheet music can be found in my Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

Almost every refugee from anywhere who I’ve ever met wishes they could go home. Most people around the world don’t want to leave home, and go live in a foreign land. Especially a land where they might face various forms of discrimination for being foreign, or for being darker, or for being from a place westerners tend to associate with terrorism. People leave home because they’re forced to, generally. And the Palestine-Israel conflict can be boiled down to a very simple concept: the right of return. The Palestinians should have it, too.

I wrote this song after a conversation with the brilliant Palestinian poet and activist, Rafeef Ziadah. To paraphrase, Rafeef was talking about the idea of a protest where refugees from around the diaspora all just walked to the Israeli borders with signs saying, “I want to go home.”