Aboriginal musicians release song in response to abuse of children in detention

August 6, 2016
Don Dale video still
Images from the Four Corners report.

Behind Enemy Lines
Provocalz Ft Ancestress
Released August 7, 2016
Free download

On Monday July 25, Australia's ABC Four Corners program broadcast footage of Aboriginal children being abused in detention, bringing to international attention a story that had been largely ignored for years.

"Behind Enemy Lines" is the measured, heartfelt response from Aboriginal rapper Provocalz and Ancestress, a strong Dawson River Murri mother, singer, rapper, writer, poet, actor and visual artist.

Provocalz, a proud Gamilaraay father who has released many albums including the epic Only Built For Koori Linx, featuring 21 Aboriginal rappers, said: "This is our reaction to the disgusting treatment of indigenous youth in incarceration and the disproportionate rates of our incarceration."



Kept in solitary confinement for 23 and a half hours a day, for 15 days straight, he's lost all sense of time and he's deeply distressed. The boy's been asking the guards repeatedly for weeks why he's being kept in solitary confinement and when he's going to be released from his dark, hot, stinking cell.


Fuck a Royal Commission, brah
These royals' commission
The invasion, the genocide, the conditions
Where we're prisoners of war
The system at its core
Is a child on the floor getting kicked in the jaw
Stripped of culture, saw that black cockatoo
Flying over the yard, that's freedom he never knew
Buried in them walls with sadistic screws
Who couldn't give two fucks, so they torture and abuse
Rehabilitation of a future that's sacred
Never happens in the lockup, brah, that shit breeds hatred
Gotta fight to survive, that could have been me
Young cunt doing crime, life on these streets
Just a product of them hard times, honest
We tried, did our parents even want us?
Empty pockets, so I'm out to make a profit
Carry tools for protection and ain't talking about a socket


On the other side of the reinforced door, a group of prison officers is at the ready. The officers on duty tonight are heard laughing at the boy's anguish.


The most innocent of lives in a cold, dark cell
They're forgotten, like they're in another realm
Getting welcomed into hell by a devil in a uniform
Failed life so he's out to fucking ruin yours
What's the cause and effect? There's no rest for us all
War of attrition, only listen when we're forced
Bound and gagged, so you know it's fuck them all
Thrown in the paddy by your pigger over laws
That were built on bloodshed, the death congregation
Of this ugly nation
Another black death and the government are racists
All we've got is us feeling trapped and invaded
Deep in them cages and ain't even got a plan
Right here on my land as I raise my hand
Bedsheet gripped tight round my neck as I cry
Because ending my own life's the only way I will survive


The image you've just seen isn't from Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, but Australia in 2015. A boy, hooded, shackled, strapped to a chair and left alone. It is barbaric: a system that punishes troubled children instead of rehabilitating them.


Murder, neglect and disrespect
Is all we can expect from an illegitimate government
The colonial context will never relent
Till we get our land back again
Maybe then we can be friends
When the pain begins to mend
Till then, keep your hands off our children

Hey Mr PM,
We all know you turned your back when you first seen them
But still you pretend
Dance around your lies and your policies
In our babies' eyes
Spirits dance around campfires, corroborees
Don't you see, this is still daylight robbery
Nobody's free
Everything the government has done to us is shady
Always been torturing our babies
Swear ya tryna send us crazy
The oppressions filling spaces trans-generationally
Through our ancestry
And it's never gonna stop it seems
I guess u can't even have proppa dreams
A world without a child's screams
Without the violence and torture
For your sons and daughters
Maybe there's something in the water
I think it's all the bloodshed and slaughter
That your people taught ya
But hey maybe it's time to just reflect on the concept
And stop all the nonsense
Be honest about your hand in the torment
Unlock the cage, because nothing's going to change
Till we get our land back again
Maybe then we can be friends
When the pain begins to mend
Till then, be a better man
And keep your hands off our children

Video: Provocalz ft Ancestress - Behind Enemy Lines. southwestizm.

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