The Ballad of Rivka and Mohammed
A song which tells the story of two children in two different wars.
Written and performed by Leon Rosselson.
I was watching the news from Gaza
And I fell asleep on my chair
And when I awoke from my slumber
A young girl was standing there.
She said, “My name is Rivka
They killed me because I’m a Jew
I died in the ghetto of Vilna
In nineteen forty two.
The ghetto was like a prison
They wouldn’t allow us to leave
Some said they were going to kill us all
We didn’t know what to believe.
That day I wore my new red dress
My bubbe had made for me
And in that crowded ghetto
It made me feel proud and free.
I looked up at the soldier
I looked him in the eye
I forgot to bow my head down
And so I had to die.
He smashed my head with his rifle
Because I was too bold
I was killed in the Vilna ghetto
When I was seven years old.”
And then out of the darkness
A young boy’s gaze met mine
He said, “My name is Mohammed
My country is Palestine.
I’ve lived all my life in Gaza
And the only time I feel free
Is when I go down to the harbour
And feel the wind from the sea.
That day I went with my cousins
We ran down to the beach to play
Then the soldier fired a shell at me
And blew my life away.
They want to crush our spirits
They want us to be afraid
Locked up in the prison of Gaza
The prison that they have made.
To them our lives don’t matter
They force us to live in a cage
I was killed on the beach in Gaza
At eleven years of age.
They don’t think that we deserve freedom
Or belong to the human race.”
“Mohammed, my brother,” said Rivka,
“This world is a cold, cold place.
Mohammed, my friend, my brother,
Let us leave this world of war.”
Then each took the hand of the other
And then they were seen no more.
But I saw spokesmen and politicians
Lining up to speechify
And every word was a hypocrite
And every word was a lie.
I saw children still being slaughtered
The monster must have its fill
While the people with power sat on their hands
And supplied the weapons that kill.
I weep for the people of Gaza
And they are weeping still
And I curse the ones who do nothing
And enable the monster to kill.