Song for the SOA

You can load us in your buses
And behind your prison door
And when you think you’ve silenced us
There will be a thousand more

We are gathered here today
To put our bodies in harm’s way
At this school of death and shame
No more murder in our name

From Panama to Georgia
We’ll be ever in your sight
With so much blood upon your hands
How do you butchers sleep at night?


You dare to call them freedom fighters
Call the butchers what you will
But from Jara to Allende
It is freedom that you kill


People want land and justice
And they answer freedom’s call
If you try to feed your people bullets
Someday soon you all will fall


All across this country
The news spreads from town to town
Every day a new voice shouting
Shut this school torture down


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

“Song for the SOA” appears on the CD, Live at Club Passim (2000).

The first of two songs I wrote about the School of the Americas, otherwise known as the School of the Assassins, officially now called the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation or some such nonsense.  I think the acronym now is “whisk,” appropriately enough — as in, whisk it under the rug.  What the place is is a notorious school that teaches military officers how to torture, and how to take over democratic institutions and serve the interests of the US and the multinational corporations.  Graduates from the school include most of Latin America’s dictators.  Victims of SOA graduates include Salvador Allende and Victor Jara.

If I recall correctly, the Oberlin College SOA Watch chapter used some of the lyrics to this song for the t-shirts they were printing in the dozens to prepare for their annual pilgrimage to the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, maybe around 2001.