Children drumming in Gaza

Mar 31, 2024
Crossed wooden drumsticks

I cannot even begin to understand how governments can fail to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. They know – absolutely know – that Palestinian children are dying in droves. The children are killed by bombs, maimed, traumatised, experience amputations without anaesthesia, and they are starving.

For this song, I chose a tune which has been around since about 1710. Children should sing this happily but we are destroying childhood.

My school had a percussion band
Of drums and shakers filled with sand
Cymbals bells and scratchy things
Triangles too were made to ping

The teacher played some music grand
And out the front conducting would stand
Pointing the baton to a great big chart
So we all knew when to play our part

The rhythm of life in Gaza today
Has naught to do with schoolrooms or play
It’s tapped on basins pots and pans
That starving children hold in their hands

Children line up in an orderly way
For food they beg day after day
Wondering how long they must wait
And how to digest this terrible fate

The music they hear is not pleasant or sweet
But made by bombs whining in the street
The roar of buildings crashing down
The screams of mothers – such awful sounds

The rhythm of life in Gaza today
Has naught to do with schoolrooms or play
It’s tapped on basins pots and pans
That starving children hold in their hands

They have no need of beater or stick
Their tears like rain fall just as thick
Their tears make the sound on begging bowls
Conductor grim reaper after their souls

Children drumming in Gaza today
Their tears rattle out the tune of our shame
Will they ever play tambourine
Or will they die in this war obscene?

The rhythm of life in Gaza today
Has naught to do with schoolrooms or play
It’s tapped on basins pots and pans
That starving children hold in their hands

Their stomachs are empty
Stretched tight as a drum
This is our fault
What have we become?

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