Falasteen Habibti

by David Rovics

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    Falasteen, Habibti ("Palestine, My Love") is a collection of songs related to the Palestinian struggle that I wrote between 2000-2014. The songs from different CDs were expertly remastered for this CD by Billy Oskay at Big Red Studio in Corbett, Oregon.

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Gaza 02:13
Gaza One point eight million people surrounded on all sides Refugees since '48, since '67, occupied The only reason they're not starving is down to the UN Most have never left there, stuck in the lion's den The most crowded place on Earth, and there they'll stay They can't visit friends or cousins a half hour's drive away Drones overhead constantly Who will die tomorrow, a daily mystery In Gaza The settlers moved out, fighter jets moved in In Gaza there's just no way you can win You can't take out a copter with an antiquated gun You're just a target sitting in the sun Waiting for your death to come raining from the sky Where the end really is nigh You can hear a sonic boom and see a flashing light Every hour of the day, every hour of the night In Gaza There are no shelters, nowhere you can hide Life is nothing like it is on the other side There's nothing post about the traumatic stress There's never more, usually less And still some people wonder, they insist on asking why Anyone would be so mad as to reply So mad as to think that it might make sense To lob some missiles over the fence From Gaza
Occupation 04:08
Occupation You ask me how it is that I dare to take a side You say I loathe myself for pointing out that you have lied You say it's tribal warfare but I disagree For the dynamics of the situation are not difficult to see On one side is the fighter jet, on the other side the stone On one side is the slave, on the other is the throne For the many there are checkpoints while foreign soldiers rule the street For one side there is victory but the people don't accept defeat The word you need to know is occupation The very definition of a land without a nation And if peace is what you're after then let us not deceive It will come on the day the tanks return to Tel Aviv On one side there is hunger and bulldozed olive trees On the other is the Army, ruling by decrees Caterpillars maul the streets, destroy entire city blocks While children swallow shrapnel for the crime of throwing rocks Fences are erected around the towns they flatten And Herzl's own fanatics sleep on sheets of satin And they water their plantations, drilling ever-deeper wells While the displaced children of the hopeless are filled with bullet shells The word you need to know is occupation The very definition of a land without a nation And if peace is what you're after then let us not deceive It will come on the day the settlers return to Tel Aviv On one side there is the Mossad rounding up the men Thrown in jail with no trial being tortured once again On the other there is rage, helplessness and fear And a growing realization that another holocaust is near On the outside there are prisons – inside detainees Being stripped of their humanity, beaten naked to their knees Outside ghetto prison walls, stormtroopers all around While inside the hungry people yearn for liberated ground The word you need to know is occupation The very definition of a land without a nation And if peace is what you're after then let us not deceive It will come on the day the jailguards return to Tel Aviv All across the world you can hear the people say The children of Jerusalem will be free one day In overcrowded camps, amidst the stench of death and flies To the suburbs of Detroit, you can hear the anguished cries While in the land of Israel with God ever on their side Walls and fences are constructed, papers are denied People fight for their existence while the world turns a blinded eye And those who should know better Insist on asking why The word you need to know is occupation The very definition of a land without a nation And if peace is what you're after then let us not deceive It will come on the day the refugees return to Tel Aviv
Israeli Geography 101 Netanyahu is in a tizzy, his eyes are filled with hate He said the problem with those Arabs is they won't recognize a Jewish state He said those Palestinians just won't come around To accepting Jewish rule on their holy ground He said the Arabs don't accept their new neighbors in the 'hood Those ungrateful regimes don't respect us as they should Well I don't want to upset anyone or to unduly take to task But if a state wants recognition it seems reasonable to ask Where are your borders? I heard him speaking to the Congress, getting his 29th standing o He said we need our security from those terrorists, don't you know If you want security, I wonder if you'd say it's true That the Palestinians should have security too 'Cause if you want security it seems only fair That you should also grant it to the people over there And maybe you could answer, though the question is a sin Just where your country ends and your neighbors' lands begin Where are your borders? He said we're the only democracy in the Middle East Or actually, he said, the only viable one at least The PA isn't viable 'cause they didn't vote Abbas They voted for those terrorists that they call Hamas So we can't recognize them -- though we wish they would agree That we stole their land quite fairly here by the Mediterranean Sea We stole it fair and square -- we stole it just like you If you don't like you're an anti-Semite -- whether you're a Muslim or a Jew OK, right. But tell me -- Where are your borders?
Bubbling Up 03:33
Bubbling Up There's a Hollywood star, there's the company There's the Superbowl, there's lots of money There's the stolen land, there's the minimum wage There's international law, there's the world stage There's the ambassador, there's the rubbish bin There's the big contract, there's which one wins There's the settlements, there's a great big wall There's the political prisoners, there's the ivory halls There's the sugary water hat fills your cup But the truth keeps bubbling up There's Captain America saving the day There's the American starlet joining the fray There's the bulldozed homes, there's the tanks in the streets There's the little children covered in sheets Chorus There's the rivers of blood, there's the manicured hands There's the fighter jets, there's the Baby Grands There's the ancient trees, there's the stolen farms There's the peaceful protests, there's the force of arms Chorus There's the ever-expanding Zionist state There's the facts on the ground, there's the sealed fate There's the kitchen appliance, there's the boycott There's the haves, there's the have-nots Chorus
What Do You Call It What do you call it when a movement takes up arms And seizes power by the barrel of a gun Moves into the homes of those they've dispossessed And says this whole country is ours now that we've won What do you call a government that forces families from their homes And turns them into refugees All the while complaining of these dirty tent-dwellers That it's they who want to drive us into the sea What do you call a government that builds walls around the ghettos And only looks at you through sniper sights Who uses your cheap labor to build those very walls While they tell the world how they believe in human rights What do you call a government that makes war upon their neighbors Who annexes land for living room Who conducts a foreign policy based on threats and bombing raids Whose opponents often end up in a prison or a tomb What do you call a government who talks of enemies within And seals off the camps to make sure they cannot eat Who keeps their prisoners on diets to guarantee an early death With their mantra, history cannot repeat What do you call a government that puts numbers on the arms Of the people that they torture and arrest Whose soldiers commit war crimes systematically While they proclaim their conduct is superior at best What do you call a government that bombs its starving subjects After taking from them everything they had Whose citizens are soldiers, brainwashed to believe Their opponents are fanatics, terrorists or mad What do you call it when a movement takes up arms And seizes power by the barrel of a gun Moves into the homes of those they've dispossessed And says this whole country is ours now that we've won
Holy Land 5 They grew up among the bombs of the occupation Bulldozed houses, that was the situation Refugee camps, Khan Yunus and Shatila Children gunned down in the Intifada Poverty and hunger, a place to slowly die These five men decided at least they had to try From their homes in Texas to the stateless nation They started up the Holy Land Foundation They sent food and medicine, that's all they ever did Aside from sending toys for little kids Feed the hungry, they say that's a good deed But apparently it all depends on who you want to feed If they're living in the ghettos under IDF command If they think they don't deserve to starve in their homeland If Sharon says all that's theirs is mine If they're from a place called Palestine The Holy Land is crying out Leaving little room for doubt From ruined homes the kids ask you What in the world will you do? They sent money to the Zakat Committees The same ones funded by USAID But these were Arabs aiding Palestinians They opposed the occupation and they were Muslims Their phones were tapped for years but nothing could be found So with an executive order Bush shut them down Freezing all their funds, taking food from kids That's exactly what the US government did These men supports Hamas, the government proclaimed Although they couldn't find a cent sent in their name But they had evidence, for the first time in a court An anonymous Israeli would submit his report Behind a veil with no rights to cross-examination He could smell Hamas, this was his explanation First the jury hung, so they tried them again And for feeding hungry people they were sent to prison Chorus Now five men are in cells, no one knows what for Every Muslim an unindicted co-conspirator Be careful what you say, be wary what you hear Or end up in a CMU for 65 years Cut off from the world, held in a little box Back home kids are getting shot for throwing rocks No one stops the charities sending money for tanks For illegal settlements all over the West Bank This is justice in America, if you didn't know it now you do And a retrial was denied, I should mention that, too A retrial was denied and who knows who's next to go To be tortured in a Little Guantanamo The Constitution's suspended, they just haven't let us know It's easier that way, just say it isn't so The Holy Land Foundation, you know it's true They did what all of us should do Chorus
Lebanon 2006 Two soldiers had been captured, they’d crossed to the other side Two soldiers taken prisoner, several others died This is how it started, so said the Jewish state Forget about ’96, ‘82, ’67, ‘48 Two soldiers taken hostage and by the Sea of Galilee We must defend our borders wherever they may be We must defend our soldiers wherever they’re deployed Two of them are captured, one country is destroyed Somewhere in Tel Aviv, generals drawing battle lines For the town where Jesus turned water into wine On the ten-year anniversary of a massacre of children They thought it was a good idea to massacre some children Anyone in the south, I heard Ehud Olmert say Everyone’s a target and may be killed today And if your home has turned to rubble it may be pulverized some more ‘Cause two soldiers have been captured and we gotta settle up the score A hundred thousand homes leveled to the ground Every olive branch on offer burned where it was found Every chance at dialogue, rejected right on cue If you’re gonna burn your bridges you might as well bomb them, too They even bombed the prison where they used to torture fighters Where they had the dogs and leashes, cigarettes and lighters Where they were kept shackled, not allowed to stand Where they torched the forests, turned them into sand The entire world watches, a few thousand demonstrate Governments take action, al too little or too late All the telephones are ringing in case you couldn’t read the signs This is the IDF and you’re in the firing line Condoleeza came to visit for about an hour She thought it was a party, some kind of baby shower She said these were the birth pangs of a brand new morn But in the hospitals today all the babies were stillborn The stars and stripes among the ruins say where they were made In case anybody wonders about all that military aid In case anybody wonders about the mines around the farms Or why so many toddlers are missing legs and arms Or why so many of them ask exactly what was meant By wiping out our homes and then sending us a tent Or why if you ask them who is Nasrallah They’ll tell you he’s our leader and we all are Hezbollah
Song for the Mavi Marmara In '48 they were driven out at the point of a machine gun Families fled in fear to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon They fled around the globe, firmly held in terror's grip And about a million refugees ended up in the tiny Gaza Strip In 1967 the IDF moved in and the refugees in Gaza became refugees again Settlers took their farmland, soldiers took the ports And the people were surrounded by military forts In 2007 they cut it off completely No access to the borders, no access to the sea The world began to see this unavoidable stamp The most crowded place on Earth was now a concentration camp Israeli jet fighters bombed Gaza from the air And they kept out the supplies needed to rebuild and repair They kept out the convoys of humanitarian aid Anemic children going hungry, crushed and burned in bombing raids From around the world good people tried To get across the border to the other side Almost all of them were turned away Deported back to Turkey, Jordan, France, the USA They were barred from ever coming back Adam and Huwaida decided on a different tack They loaded up a boat and managed to get through That's when activists in Istanbul decided what they had to do Armed with food and wheelchairs And prosthetic limbs for victims of the bombing raids to wear They packed cement by the ton They had a few kitchen knives but not a single gun They were determined to reach the bay To break the siege of Gaza and not be turned away As they left Turkish waters everybody wished them well As for what would happen, only the Apartheid state could tell All aboard the Mavi Marmara Sailing toward Goliath's kingdom armed with nothing but a stone All aboard the Mavi Marmara Tell the children of Jerusalem you are not alone Seven hundred people on board this Turkish ferry They were sixty miles from the shore out in the open sea In international waters with no plans for turning back That's when Netanyahu told his soldiers to attack They came down from helicopters, fired guns from Zodiacs They shot some people in their heads and shot others in their backs The captain raised a white flag high into the air The soldiers kept on shooting beneath the floodlight's glare The soldiers kept on shooting, it was a free fire zone So many dead and wounded, just how many isn't known So many dead and wounded, blood flowing on the floor The soldiers kept on shooting sixty miles from the shore Medics tried to treat the wounded, all they could do was watch them bleed The soldiers wouldn't let them get the urgent help they needed Masked troopers held their hostages, the Navy towed the ship Just for trying to sail to the Gaza Strip Chorus They took every laptop, every camera and cell phone This is what Goliath does to those who dare to throw a stone The ghost of the Exodus is shouting at the sky But Netanyahu isn't listening, he's just watching people die For days nobody knew just what happened on that boat Because everyone was held in jail and dead men do not float All the world will remember what happened on that night And to end the siege of Gaza more will go and join the fight Chorus
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
Christmas Eve in Bethlehem Church bells are ringing, families are wearing their Sunday best Choirs are singing, red sun is setting in the west A soldier is yelling, standing tall Checkpoint is closing outside a giant wall It's Christmas Eve in Bethlehem Tourists are coming – birthplace of Jesus, a call to port Now they are leaving, they say you should keep it short Shop floors are empty, there's no one there Checkpoint is closing to Manger Square It's Christmas Eve in Bethlehem Those Christians who stay here dream of sprouting wings But they stubbornly stay near their long-lost kings Relatives stranded far away They have been branded terrorists – that's what the colonists say It's Christmas Eve in Bethlehem
Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands Khader Adnan grew up near Jenin City You could say he was a product of his time Ever since he was a kid he'd get arrested Though he was never charged with any crime Spending half his life in prison A life lived like so many of his friends Arbitrary and indefinite detention Never knowing if your jail time would end Khader Adnan was arrested last December Again he wasn't told the reason why He was shackled, he was beaten, he was tortured There beneath the Middle Eastern sky Perhaps there was a moment when he realized That right then, with his body, he'd say no But from then on he refused to eat another meal Like in Belfast not many years ago Khader Adnan grew up in a war zone But all the tanks and planes were only on one side It was a type of war that they call occupation Settlement, removal, fratricide And anyone who talked about resistance Who thought they did not deserve to be a slave Would be looking down the barrel of a gun And often find themselves inside an early grave Khader Adnan loves his wife and daughters And he likes to eat his daily bread But in prison he can't see his children Or live life with the lady that he wed So on behalf of all the children without fathers He decided he had to strike a blow He said I will have dignity or death Like in Belfast not many years ago Each time Khader Adnan was arrested In prison he would learn a little more And soon he became the teacher And he'd talk about the times that came before They talked about civil disobedience They talked about the ballot and the gun They talked about the Occupied Six Counties And the H Blocks in 1981 Khader Adnan talked of perseverance And how someday their people might be free How someday they might hear their children laughing Unafraid, how someday things could be And then at 3:30 on one morning The soldiers came, their rifles pointed low And they took Khader Adnan from his family Like in Belfast not many years ago They say Khader Adnan is a terrorist Just like they said of Bobby Sands Because he dares speak out against injustice Because he dares to make a stand Because he dares believe that he is human And he does not deserve to live this way Because he dares to consider an alternative Because he dares imagine a new day Khader Adnan lost his liberty before he was born To fight for life it's death he must embrace But just like others come before him There are others waiting to take his place And even the great powers can lose interest In supporting such a vicious status quo Because you can't break a man who won't be broken Like in Belfast not many years ago
Jenin 03:39
Jenin Oh, child, what will you remember When you recall your sixteenth year The horrid sound of helicopter gunships The rumble of the tanks as they drew near As the world went about it's business And I burned another tank of gasoline The Dow Jones lost a couple points that day While you were crying in the City of Jenin Did they even give your parents warning Before they blew the windows out with shells While you hid inside the high school basement Amidst the ringing of church bells As you watched your teacher crumble by the doorway And in England they were toasting to the Queen You were so far from the thoughts of so many Huddled in the City of Jenin Were you thinking of the taunting of the soldiers Or of the shit they smeared upon the walls Were you thinking of your cousin after torture Or Tel Aviv and it's glittering shopping malls When the fat men in their mansions say that you don't want peace Did you wonder what they mean As you sat amidst the stench inside the darkness In the shattered City of Jenin What went through your mind on that day At the site of your mother's vacant eyes As she lay still among the rubble Beneath the blue Middle Eastern skies As you stood upon this bulldozed building Beside the settlements and their hills so green As your tears gave way to grim determination Among the ruins of the City of Jenin And why should anybody wonder As you stepped on board The crowded bus across the Green Line And you reached inside your jacket for the cord Were you thinking of your neighbors buried bodies As you made the stage for this scene As you set off the explosives that were strapped around your waist Were you thinking of the City of Jenin
Vanunu 03:30
Vanunu 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 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
Palestine 03:44
Palestine My daddy was an Arab from Beersheva, a situation so unkind My momma was a refugee from Ramallah, had to leave her land behind I grew up in this refugee camp in this unwelcome land In this little parcel of Lebanon we were dealt a losing hand Then one day the soldiers came, a tired old refrain I'll try to tell you what happened next but there's no way to explain The soldiers raped my mother, then they killed her dead Along with the rest of the Shatila Camp while I hid beneath my bed Now I'm a-wanderin', no place to call my home Palestine – all around the world I roam My aunt came over from Jordan, brought me there to live And together we've moved to half the world, oh for peace what I would give In Beirut, Greece and New York town I've watched the world churn But my home is Palestine Someday I will return Chorus Now here I am in Washington, heart of the empire That sends the 'copters and bulldozers that turned Ramallah into a funeral pyre Well you've heard my story and time will not allow Soon my visa will expire – what will you do now Chorus
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 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 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
The Key 05:02
The Key Let me tell you about a lady known as grandma to me She died back in 1982 She liked to tell stories of how things used to be Just like other old ladies do She talked about her neighbors – Muslims and Christians Arabs, Britons and Jews They'd come over for dinner in her house in Jaffa And they'd talk about business and news We got along fine A long time ago Before everything started to change I never imagined back in those days I'd end up here on this firing range There on a string around her neck, dangling in front of her heart The key to her home, the key to her people The key to her world – blown apart I recall the days well – 1948 The year of the Catastrophe With machine guns and torches they drove us away To the land of the refugee We all thought it would pass but the decades dragged on And my heart turned to flame To those who live in my home Where is your conscience, do you feel the remorse and the shame Chorus Now after two generations I and her grandchildren say The key is theirs and mine And all over the world we cry for Al-Awda Home in Palestine Maybe we will prevail but come what may As empires fall and rise Nothing will change the memory Of the tears in my grandmother's eyes Chorus
The Death of Rachel Corrie When she sat down in the dirt in front of your machine A lovely woman dressed in orange, you in military green If you had met her in Jerusalem you might have asked her on a date But here you were in Gaza rolling towards the gate As your foot went to the floor did you recall her eyes Did her gaze remind you that you've become what you despise As you rolled on towards this woman and ignored all the shouts to stop Did you feel a shred of doubt as you watched her body drop And as your Caterpillar tracks upon her body pressed With twenty tons of deadly force, crushed the bones within her chest Could you feel the contours of her face as you took her life away Did you serve your country well on that cool spring day And when you went back across the Green Line – back to the open shore Did you think that this was just another day in a dirty war And when you looked out on the water did you feel an empty void Or was it just one more life you've taken, one more home destroyed
Song the Songbird Sings It was another Friday morning, I was among the olive trees Out looking for birds to catch – my father, his friends and me I had my string and net and a nimble eye There beside the farmers' fields where the songbirds fly When you're catching birds the world disappears And a thousand songs of autumn are all that fills your ears They sing their songs so brightly at the dawning of the day They fly back and forth over the fence where we must stay away You can see the birds beneath the clouds Watch them spread their wings You can listen to the wind And the song the songbird sings It's so good to come here so far from all the sound Of all the shooting and the shouting and the tanks upon the ground I just wish I could live here within this olive grove Just me, my friends and family and a small wood-burning stove Chorus Last week I caught three sparrows – it was quite a day Now I'm bound for glory – that's what they say I hear them talk about me, shedding tears upon a sack Inside there lies a child with four bullets in his back Chorus
Children of Jerusalem Did you see them praying and the Army marching in As they clubbed old women did you see the general grin Watch the stones fly and the snipers taking aim On Shatila's birthday, it's a calculated game They're gunning down the children of Jerusalem Did you hear the screaming, see the horror on his face As he hid for cover in a tiny, unprotected space Did you hear his father pleading, "There is a child here" Trying to protect his son who yelled in terror and in fear That they're gunning down the children of Jerusalem Did you feel the wind blow from the helicopter blades Did you smell the tear gas, see the demolition raids Did you see the rockets and the dum-dum bullets fly Did you feel the horror to watch one more young boy die They're gunning down the children of Jerusalem Did you see the roadblocks letting nobody go past Watch the blood flow as time is running fast See someone's brother taking his last breath So close to the hospital but closer still to death They're gunning down the children of Jerusalem Did you hear the fatcats say “It's not what it appears It's an armed uprising, a realization of our fears Do you hear them chanting that this is their homeland They want what's ours and we've got to make a stand So we're gunning down the children of Jerusalem” Some want power and it seems the world's theirs to give Some just want peace and a decent place to live Some talk of destiny and what their God has willed And a mother weeps that her nine-year-old's been killed They're gunning down the children of Jerusalem
In One World 04:22
In One World In 1948 I fled my village The Stern Gang drove my family from the lands We ran into the desert Where I've spent these decades living by my hands Life in Haifa wasn't easy But so much better than this hellhole with the soldiers and barbed wire And the closures, and the hunger The humiliation and the checkpoints, the machine gun fire And each day I wonder after Haifa The home that we abandoned when the Zionists had won Is there a family with a child Does it's father love it as I loved my only son Before the soldiers shot him down Riddled him with bullets in his back and in his head Home in Haifa, in my house Does someone's father know the pain there is in an empty bed In 1960 I fled my country Left the Tigris River for this foreign place I had to leave home, I didn't want to But they were rounding up the leftists and the papers had my face And my son, a student leader On the streets of Baghdad was nowhere to be found So I walked through the mountains Just the shirt upon my back, knowing not where I was bound Now here I am, this town of Haifa In this little house, but at least I'm still alive And each night I wonder how is Baghdad Would I recognize my friends if any did indeed survive It took a long time, but I made a home here And I wished my son could be here in this town upon the shore I was with my wife, it was the Sabbath When an old Arab couple knocked upon our door We asked them in, gave them tea For that's what you do with strangers, and we could see they meant no harm They told their story, we told ours Us of our life in Baghdad, them of their family farm And of this house, which they once lived in Where once they raised a family, long before their hair turned grey Of their son, and the troopers And of ours, who we cry for every day So much in common, so much gone bad So much running, and never coming home You can hear the cards falling down See the faces of the children, forever forced to roam And here we were, in this house Fearing that tomorrow would be just like yesterday So much resentment, so much at stake And I really don't remember who was the first to say In one world In one village In one home Let us live together
Return 01:58
Return i can't help it. i don't care how far you think the analogy extends itself. when i see you making that bus driver climb up and down on and off the roof of his bus for your amusement for hours in the hot sun i think of how we once had to dance and sing for them while they shot our parents. when i see you keep that woman and her husband at the checkpoint while she's in labor and you stand there listening to her scream watching as she gives birth on the back seat of a taxi i think of the walls around our own ghetto and how we had to crawl through the sewers looking for rats to eat while we could hear their children playing on the other side. when i see you crush that house and kill that woman and her baby with your armored bulldozer because they didn't have a permit i think of the way we were once forced to leave our homes at the point of a gun. and when i hear your general say that in order to deal with the intifada you must learn from the tactics of another general one mr. stroop in warsaw i think of how they bombed our buildings shot us as we fell from the roofs. and i remember how we wished we could kill their babies, too. and i feel sick. sick of your displaced anger sick of your self-deception sick of your attempts to deceive the rest of the world sick of your accusations of anti-semitism sick of your occupation sick of your apartheid state sick of zionism. because standing here in auschwitz, birkenau and warsaw i see jenin, jaffa and rafah. and i think of our ancestors the jewish palestinians who spoke so eloquently in their arabic language. but the dead cannot speak. and now i find myself again behind the wall of a ghetto standing with millions of other palestinians. and i find myself shouting thawra! thawra! hatta al-naser! tomorrow in jerusalem! al-awda return.


This is a compilation album of songs about Palestine.

What you've got here are 19 songs and 2 poems that represent everything I'd care to mention that I've written (aside from essays) on the broad subject of Palestine. I've arranged the songs from track 1 to 21 in such a way that I think they flow well musically as well as thematically.

Track 1, “Gaza,” was written during the massive Israeli bombardment of July, 2014. But it's actually a song about how daily life was for Palestinians in Gaza in the decade or so preceding that.

Track 2, “Occupation,” is about the central contradiction of the whole Israel-Palestine question. It is not a religious conflict, nor is it mainly a problem having to do with communication between peoples. It is an occupation of one people and their land by another people, overwhelmingly foreigners from Europe and North America.

Track 3, “Israeli Geography 101,” refers to one of the many elephants in the living room when it comes to Israel/Palestine. Israeli leaders are constantly bemoaning the idea that Hamas refuses to acknowledge Israel's “right to exist.” But neither they nor the western media will explain that one of the reasons Hamas and others are reticent about this “acknowledgement” is that the government of Israel refuses to acknowledge where its own national borders begin and end.

Track 4, “Bubbling Up,” is about Scarlet Johansson taking on the role of spokeswoman for the Sodastream Corporation, whose main manufacturing facility is on an illegal West Bank settlement.

Track 5, “What Do You Call It,” makes the very important (and very controversial) comparison between Nazi Germany and the Israeli regime. It is impossible for anyone with a knowledge of twentieth-century history not to make this comparison. It is a nation of holocaust survivors that have displaced and are imposing daily collective punishment on another people, including doing things like bombing a walled-in ghetto that they have created.

Track 6, “Holy Land Five,” is about the trials and ultimate conviction of the founders of the Holy Land Foundation. They were sentenced to between 15 and 65 years for the crime of sending food and medicine to Palestinians, but doing it through the wrong channels, making them “terrorists.”

Track 7, “Lebanon, 2006,” is mainly about the many war crimes committed by the IDF in the course of their invasion of Lebanon that year, during which they bombed a UN compound full of women and children, almost ten years to the day after bombing the same UN compound, also full of women and children, in 1996.

Track 8, “Song for the Mavi Marmara,” gives some background on the history of refugees in Gaza, and the efforts of Turkish activists and others from the US, Canada, Ireland and many other countries to break the siege of Gaza in 2010 by attempting to sail humanitarian aid ships directly to Gaza, without Israeli interference. Instead of a successful aid shipment, the effort ended in an Israeli massacre.

Track 9, “They're Building A Wall,” is about the ongoing siege of the West Bank, where Israel began construction in 2004 of a massive wall snaking through that occupied territory, dividing Palestinian society from itself even further, making life for Palestinians in the West Bank immeasurably worse in myriad ways.

Track 10, “Christmas Eve in Bethlehem,” is also about the wall, describing a typical Christmas Eve in Bethlehem since the wall was built.

Track 11, “Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands” talks about the Israeli policy of indefinite detention without trial of Palestinians. A similar policy on the part of the British occupation authorities in Northern Ireland was a major element in what fueled the growth of the IRA in the early 1970's. Many Palestinian and Irish activists are acutely aware of these parallels, as was Khader Adnan, who refused food almost until death, when Israel agreed to release him. For 66 days he didn't eat – which is exactly how long Bobby Stands was on hunger strike, leading to his early death.

I wrote track 12, “Jenin,” after the IDF destroyed much of that city in 2002. I predicted the response, which wasn't hard. The response actually came while I was writing the song, sitting by a river in Canterbury, England, of all places. Then I walked into a cafe and heard the news. There was a study that found that 93% of suicide bombers are motivated by personal loss, rather than by religion or anything else.

Track 13, “Vanunu,” is about Moroccan-Israeli scientist Mordechai Vanunu, who exposed the secret Israeli nuclear weapons program in 1986 after fleeing the country. For all the hype about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, Iran, Syria and elsewhere, there is a country in the Middle East known to have a massive arsenal of the deadliest weapons in the history of the world. Those weapons are nuclear weapons, and that nation is Israel.

Tracks 14, 15 and 16 (“Palestine,” “I Wanna Go Home” and “The Key”) all explore the theme of refugees who want to return to their homes, which have been forcibly taken from them by Israel.

“Palestine” is about a survivor of the massacre of thousands of civilians in a refugee camp in Lebanon which was facilitated by the IDF. “I Wanna Go Home” is about the desire to return to the home from which you were exiled. “The Key” is about one of many old Palestinian women in the refugee diaspora who still has the key to the home she once lived in.

Track 17, “The Death of Rachel Corrie” is about the young woman from Olympia, Washington who was in Gaza, trying to protect the home of a Palestinian family from being demolished by the IDF when the soldier in the bulldozer ran her over as she sat in front of it, in a brightly-colored orange vest.

Track 18, “Song the Songbird Sings,” is about one of many children shot dead by Israeli snipers for the crime of catching songbirds too close to the wall in Gaza.

Track 19, “Children of Jerusalem,” was the first song I wrote on the subject, after the massacre carried out by the IDF outside the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, when Ariel Sharon, legendary butcher of Shatila, on the anniversary of the Shatila massacre, paid a visit to the mosque. Writing this song began my musical exploration of the subject in September, 2000. It's gotten me many gigs canceled, and it's brought me closer to many wonderful people within the Palestinian diaspora and supporters of Palestinian self-determination around the world, for which I'm forever grateful.

Track 20, “In One World,” is a song based on a story I read in the early days of the Second Intifada, about how life was back in the 70's, when it was comparatively easy for a Palestinian refugee living in the West Bank to pay a visit to their ancestral home in Eretz Israel, or what the Palestinians call '48.

Many people ask why people like me have such a keen interest in the plight of the Palestinians in particular, as opposed to other peoples around the world who have suffered terribly at the hands of one or another oppressor. One crucial reason for the obsession is that it's all very personal. These are my relatives, many of them with the same Brooklyn accents I grew up with, survivors or descendents of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust, doing the awful things they're doing to the people in the land they invaded, called Palestine. The last track, “Return,” explores that feeling a bit.


released July 30, 2014

Falasteen Habibti is a compilation recording, drawing on material from many different studio sessions and live concerts from 2001-2014. All the songs were remastered at Big Red Studio for the purposes of making this recording hang together sonically as an album.

Track 1, “Gaza,” was recorded solo acoustic at Big Red Studio.

“Occupation,” “Palestine,” “The Key,” “The Death of Rachel Corrie,” and “Return” were recorded in 2003 in Boston, Massachusetts with Sean Staples producing and playing various instruments, along with Dave Westner and others. From the CD, Return (2003).

“Israeli Geography 101” and “Holy Land Five” are from the CD, Meanwhile In Afghanistan (2012), recorded at Big Red Studio in Corbett, Oregon with Billy Oskay and I producing, featuring Nick Angelo on electric guitar and Asher Fulero on keyboards.

“Bubbling Up” is from All the News That's Fit to Sing (2014), a digital album available on Bandcamp (and via www.davidrovics.com). It's a very acoustic album, just solo guitar and vocals.

“What Do You Call It,” “Khader Adnan, Bobby Sands,” and “Vanunu” come from another Bandcamp-only album, Everything Can Change (2013), featuring Jun Bustamante and Alejandro Arenas of St. Petersburg, Florida on all sorts of instruments. (My parts were recorded at Big Red Studio.)

“Lebanon, 2006” originally appeared on the CD, Ten Thousand Miles Away (2010), recorded at Big Red Studio.

“Song for the Mavi Marmara” is from the CD, Big Red Sessions (2011), recorded at Big Red Studio.

The version of “They're Building A Wall” here is from the live CD, The Commons (2008), recorded at Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Eric Royer on banjo and Allie Rosenblatt on harmony vocals.

The version of “I Wanna Go Home” on this album come from the CD, For the Moment (2005). My guitar and vocals recorded at Sugar Hill in Houston, Texas. Extra instrumentation by Sean Staples and Dave Westner in Massachusetts.

“Christmas Eve in Bethlehem” is from the solo acoustic Bandcamp album, Spies Are Reading My Blog (2013), recorded at Big Red Studio.

“Jenin” and “In One World” are from the CD, Hang a Flag in the Window (2002). Acoustic album recorded at Melville Park Studio in Massachusetts.

“Song the Songbird Sings” is from the solo acoustic CD, Songs for Mahmud (2004), recorded at Sugar Hill.

“Children of Jerusalem” was recorded live at Caffe Lena in upstate New York in late September, 2001.




David Rovics Portland, Oregon

Singer/songwriter, writer, podcaster (on Spotify, Substack & Patreon), anarchist, dad, lover of life.


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