Last February, a wonderful man who I've been lucky enough to spend time with on a couple of occasions, former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg, from Birmingham, England, was arrested by British authorities when he came back from a humanitarian aid trip to Syria. I say they release him and then give him a seat in the House of Lords.


Moazzam learned so young as a kid in Birmingham
What it's like to lose most everything
He was only six, just a few years from the pram
When he discovered all the pain that life could bring
His mother died so young, maybe that's where it began
But when he grew up he'd travel far and wide
He went off to Bosnia and Afghanistan
For Moazzam there was no “other side”

When the US war began, he was taken in a raid
Held for a year in a windowless cell
He heard the men around him beaten, he heard women flayed
Where they'd take him next, he had no way to tell
Guantanamo Bay, three years in a cage
Three years apart from his young son
Three years of torture at every single stage
No charge, no trial for him or anyone

Moazzam's only crime was helping people
In places that most others fear to go
Moazzam's only crime was helping people
And baring secrets some people don't want you to know

Three years of campaigning for release
Sent home to live 'neath England's cloudy sky
The screams that ring out in his head can never cease
Left to live his life and wonder why
But the years passed by and the wars they ravaged on
And it wasn't long before he knew
With the hundreds of thousands dead and gone
He had to find out if there was something he could do

He came back home from burying the dead
And was arrested on a terror law
There was no question in his head
He had to tell the world what he saw
Such as the fact that his government kidnapped men
And sent them to be tortured by Asad
And this is why they've arrested him again
And this is why I say in the name of God


from All the News That's Fit to Sing, released July 1, 2014




David Rovics Portland, Oregon

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