Maralinga

Words & Melody: Paul Kelly, 1987
Arranged: Tony Hawkins, 1988

During the 1950s the British government, with Australian Prime Minister Robert Menzies’ consent (but without the public’s knowledge) exploded nuclear bombs in South Australia on Maralinga Tjarutja land. That land is now poisoned with plutonium dust and will remain so for more than 24,000 years. What happened to the people there is recounted in Paul Kelly’s song, Maralinga, which one of his associates, Tony Hawkins, arranged for us in 1988.

Lyrics:

This is a rainy land.
No thunder in our sky.
No trees stretching high.
This is a rainy land.

My name is Yami Lester.
I hear, I speak, I touch, but I am blind.
My story comes from darkness.
Listen as my story now unwinds.

First we heard two big bangs.
We thought it was the great snake digging holes.
Then we saw the big black cloud,
And the big black mist began to roll.

A strangeness on our skin,
A soreness in our eyes like weeping fire.
A pox upon our skin,
A boulder on our backs all our lives.

My name is Millipuddi.
They captured me, and roughly washed me down.
Then my child stopped kicking,
And they took away my man to town.

They said: “Do you speak English?”
He said:
“I-know-that-Jesus-loves-me-I-know-because-the-bible-tells-me-so.”

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Author: solidaritychoir

Activist choir in Sydney Australia

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