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Centuries of Pain: the Ballad of Amadou Diallo

Lorcan Otway
Language: English



Amadou was born, where humanity sprang from,
In a land forced to give away its best.
Where a foreigner’s hand, stole the riches from the land
even tearing her children from her breast.
Verdant forests cut down, and the gold ripped from the ground
and her diamonds sparkling in many a foreign crown
Ancient wisdom denied, history buried beneath lies
Her’s a legacy of centuries of pain.

He came to a land of gold, where his nation’s wealth was sold,
hoping he could find a place to make his way.
By the sweat of his brow, he would make a life somehow,
in a land far from family and friends.
On the streets of New York, he set out to live his dreams
though things were much different than his hopes
still he felt he’d get by, not often wondering why,
here his people found a legacy of pain.

Coming home one night, in his hallway’s stark white light,
gunmen challenged him - he turned to ask them why.
Many shots then blazed, Amadou stood amazed
Why was he being murdered by these men?
In that hallway where he died, once again many men lied,
saying Amadou was reaching for a gun.
But history is clear, so many die each year,
This is still our nation’s legacy of pain

A mother came to take, her son back to lie
in the soil from which humanity emerged.
In a brave mothers tears, we saw the burden of the years,
of a land forced to give away her best
Amadou my son, what have these strangers done?
Could they not see the child I held so dear?
Were they blinded by their badge, or the color of your skin?
or the legacy of centuries of pain?


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