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Ballad of a Small Victory

by Karl Dallas

The Battle of Nablus
tune: English traditional, “The Bold Princess Royal”

On the last day of June in two thousand and two
In the city of Nablus the pleasures were few
The Israeli army had invaded the town
And the people were terrorised by the tanks roaming round.

We were ten internationals come into this land
To see what was happening and perhaps lend a hand.
We were Christians and Muslims and atheists and Jews
And all were determined to see what we could do.

For eight days a curfew all day and all night
And anyone on the streets could be shot on sight
But the people determined to reclaim their streets
And so we marched with them the curfew to beat.

Next day in the morning we woke from our dreams
To hear that the army was invading the homes
Of many brave fam’lies who had done nothing wrong
And so we decided to see what could be done.

We went to a house where the soldiers had gone
And twenty or so people they confined in one room.
We found a way in and we banged on the door
Saying we come in peace and in the name of the law.

Outside in the street while the folk gathered round
Some more of our number from all over the town
They gave us a warning that a tank was in view
So they sat down to stop it and they saw what they should do.

All the time in the house we persisted to try
To speak to the soldiers but they gave no reply
Instead they fired tear gas and exploded grenades
But our comrades were steadfast Though none could came to their aid.

They were only five people, brave vessels of light,
Confronting without weapons all the enemy’s might
The soldiers took hold of them and dragged them away
And one of their number was taken that day.

At length in the house the soldiers did say
We will take our leave if you’ll go away.
We consulted our comrades to see what to do
And at eight in the evening we decided to go.

Despite this small victory we should never forget
That the invading army oppresses them yet
Even while all our hearts with joy did abound
They were killing two young men elsewhere in the town.

The statesmen are weeping salt crocodile tears
At the plight of this people for so many years
But remember the teargas and the tank on that day
All carried the trademark: Made in USA.

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