I was born in Marakesh and I thought life was good
Then some visitors came from far away, convinced my parents that we should
Move from Marakesh to Israel, what they called the Promised Land
That’s how we ended up in Beersheva by the Negev Desert sand

I turned 18 and joined the Army, that’s what everybody did
I learned to blow up bridges just like every other kid
I learned how to fire weapons, I learned how to shoot to kill
Then I studied engineering and learned many other skills

I got a job, paid the rent, working just like you
I just did what I had to do

As the years went by I learned many things
And I wondered what to do with the burden knowledge brings
I learned about the massacres committed in my name
After Sabra and Shatila life could never be the same

But I got up every morning, worked til the day was through
And I just did what I had to do

Working in the desert I did what I was told
Though I’d long ago rejected the bill of goods I had been sold
I was supposed to ask no questions but as the years passed by
I discovered what was going on there beneath the clear blue sky

I snuck a camera into work one day as my suspicions grew
I just did what I had to do

Once I left the country I could sit no longer on the fence
I met with a reporter and displayed the evidence
Of the secret nuclear arsenal which I had helped to make
I had to blow the whistle for humanity’s sake

The world simply had to find out the things my commanders knew
I just did what I had to do

Mossad came to get me on the streets of Rome
Brought me in a boat back to my adopted home
After 18 years of torture in a tiny prison cell
On the streets some people ask me how I lived so long in hell

Each morning when I woke up I remembered it was true
I just did what I had to do

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Sheet music:

“Vanunu” originally appeared on the Bandcamp album, Everything Can Change (2013), and then on the CD, If I Had A Hammer (2013).  It also appears on the collection of Palestine-related songs, Falasteen, Habibti (2014).

I had long been an admirer of Mordechai Vanunu and his courageous act of whistle-blowing that revealed the existence and extent of Israel’s heretofore secret nuclear weapons program in the Negev Desert.  I got around to writing the song at the encouragement of Eileen Fleming of Florida.  According to comments from Mr Vanunu on YouTube, he likes the song.