Four Strong Women

Words & Melody: Maurie Mulheron
Arrangement: Tom Bridges

Four women, of the Seeds of Hope Ploughshares group, provided the  inspiration for this song when, angered by their government selling Hawk  jet fighters to Indonesia for use against East Timor, they infiltrated a  British Aerospace factory and used hammers to destroy the aircraft. This was in 1996.

They left a video they had made in the cockpit of the plane they destroyed. The video included some excerpts from a John Pilger documentary which showed eyewitnesses giving testimonies of Hawks attacking East Timorese villages. The video also included the four women talking about why they were taking action and why they thought the Hawk sales were immoral and illegal.

After leaving the video in the cockpit they then telephoned the police to surrender. In court they faced a possible ten year sentence if convicted but they argued that they had committed the crime in order to prevent a greater one being committed – that of genocide. Although this defence is almost never successful, after the jury had seen the video, and heard the evidence from Jose Ramos Horta, John Pilger and the women themselves, they acquitted the four strong women.


It took a hammer, an act of love
To turn that jet Hawk into a dove.
It took some courage, it took some strength
To stop that fighter from dealing death.

Into the hangar, into the plane
Now use your hammer to stop the pain.
There’s steady breathing as your work starts
Four strong women, four beating hearts.

You sang of justice, you rang the bell
You drove your hammer through Timor’s hell.
You won your freedom but you won more
You stopped a death plane from making war.

Four strong women with hammers high
Beating ploughshares for a peaceful sky,
They know the struggle, they know the cause:
Whoever profits keeps making wars.

Four strong women, four beating hearts.

Author: solidaritychoir

Activist choir in Sydney Australia

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