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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, October 10, 2004
    If the war goes on
    As part of The Biggest Sing in the World we held a humble event in Norris Green tonight.

    In a church where candles burned near a book of condolence for Ken Bigley it seemed so very right to sing, from the new collection I will not sing alone, an anti-Gulf War song John Bell wrote in 1991 and has since revisited as the whole sorry mess has spiralled on.

    "The song was both a protest against the first Gulf War and against the seeming inability of either commercial or church music to offer texts of protest or lament," he writes. It's a powerful song of questioning judgement.....


    If the war goes on
    and the children die of hunger,
    and the old men weep
    for the young men are no more,
    and the women learn
    how to dance without a partner
    who will keep the score?

    If the war goes on
    and the truth is taken hostage;
    and new terrors lead
    to the need to euphemise,
    when the calls for peace
    are declared unpatriotic,
    who'll expose the lies?

    If the war goes on
    and the daily bread is terror,
    and the voiceless poor
    take the road as refugees;
    when a nation's pride
    destines millions to be homeless,
    who will heed their pleas?

    If the war goes on
    and the rich increase their fortunes
    and the arms sales soar
    as new weapons are displayed,
    when a fertile field
    turns to-no-man's-land tomorrow,
    who'll approve such trade?

    If the war goes on
    will we close the doors to heaven,
    if the war goes on,
    will we breach the gates of hell;
    if the war goes on,
    will we ever be forgiven,
    if the war goes on....

    Words & music John L. Bell & Graham Maule, music John L. Bell, copyright @ 1999, 2001, 2002 WGRG, Iona Community Glasgow G2 3DH, Scotland.