The Sweet Breath of Freedom

Wednesday, November 27, 1991

The Sweet Breath of Freedom

em = By Peter Hicks
and Geoff Francis

Early one November morning,

The people there, most of them poor,

They prayed for the soul of their brother

Shot dead only two weeks before.

As they stood there by his graveside,

Holding freedom's banner up high

The soldiers appeared out of nowhere,

Their guns a-blazing with fire.
The soldiers they aimed their machine-guns;

A thousand they fell to the ground;

And when the trucks came by for the bodies

Two hundred dead mourners they found.

Most of them had never seen twenty —

It was the massacre of the young,

As those who had first killed the parents

Now came for daughters and sons.
So we'll mourn for the martyrs of Dili and

The two hundred thousand before —

For to yearn for the sweet breath of freedom can

Prove costly here in East Timor.
It's been happening over and over

Since 1975 —

Since Indonesia invaded

You whisper in fear of your life.

Like the slaughter unleashed at Kraras

Back in 1983,

But our governments don't get too worried

'Bout the fate of the East Timorese.
Australia was embarrassed —

"It's a tragedy", they said.

But there's oil out there in the Timor Gap,

That's worth more than a million dead.

In the White House, they said nothing,

This wasn't another Kuwait;

Sure, Suharto's a murderer and a dictator, but

He's a friend of the US of A.
But you can't execute a whole nation,

And you can't keep a people in chains;

And the resistance will never stop fighting

Until freedom's prize they have gained.

They'll do it all with our help,

Or they'll do it alone if they must,

But they never will yield or surrender

The land that they know and they love.
Yes, we'll sing for the people of Dili,

For their struggle and their destiny,

An' each day that we sing we'll sing louder

Until East Timor will be free.

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