They’re Building A Wall

They’re building a wall
A wall between friends
A wall that justifies
Any means for their ends
A wall between Semites
Rich and poor
Brothers and sisters
From not so long before
Many feet thick
And thirty feet high
No one can look through it
And into the eye
Of a person you might know
To whom you might confide
Now just a stranger
On the other side

They’re building a wall
Between water and land
So we can eat fruit
And they can eat sand
A wall to make sure
That our orchards will grow
And our kids can get fat
And not need to know
Of the cities in ruins
And the children in fear
That your fathers and brothers
In tanks might be near
A wall to keep quiet
That which you fear most
So you don’t have to listen
To your grandfather’s ghost

They’re building a wall
Between future and past
A wall to keep separate
The chambers of gas
From bulldozers, gunships
And the tears of a child
Dignity, love
And all honor defiled
To remove reality
From your facts on the ground
A wall to keep distant
The terrible sound
Of the houses that crumble
And the children that die
A wall to keep separate
The truth from the lie

They’re building a wall
And at such a cost
Land, money and safety
And all the lives lost
A wall made of brick
But bricks can be broken
When the people of Zion
Have finally awoken
And said no more walls
No more refugees
No more keeping people
Upon their knees
And then the history books
Will someday recall
Before apartheid was ended
They were building a wall

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Sheet music:
They’re Building A Wall

“They’re Building A Wall” originally appeared on the 2004 CD, Songs for Mahmud.  It later appeared on For the Moment (CD, 2005), the Commons (CD, 2007), Waiting for the Fall:  a Retrospective (CD, 2009), and Falasteen, Habibti (CD, 2014).

At the time I wrote the song, Israel was in the midst of building their massive wall, a circuitous monstrosity of apartheid that snakes throughout the West Bank, dividing it into little bantustans under Israeli military control and ruled by Israeli military “justice.”