Talkin' First Day Working At The UN Blues

Lorne Clarke & Tom Flannery
Language: English

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© 2004 Tom Flannery and Lorne Clarke
a production
Clarke & Flannery love to hear your thoughts on the song cycle. Email them to

rwandaThis is not a history lesson. We're not historians. We're songwriters. And anyway... how the hell is anybody going to explain the systematic state sponsored slaughter of close to a million people with a handful of songs? We're not.

Truth is, there is no explanation for the Rwandan genocide. What there is in abundance, however, is ignorance. If these songs make just one person dig a little deeper, then we've made our money back, so to speak. We've touched upon specific pieces of the horror, but don't even pretend to be able to understand it from the Rwandan point of view. We're observers from afar. Interested, heartbroken observers....but merely observers nonetheless. Please keep that in mind.

All of these songs are solo acoustic performances...recorded live with a digital 8 track studio in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The full lyrics are available, as are the complete recordings in both mp3 and quicktime formats. Notes for each song are provided, giving some insight into the creative process....and explaining where explanations are necessary. The entire project is only available via the internet. There is no "official" CD of this music. This is strictly an "online" project.
This is partly due to economics, but also because once a CD is released, it can't be changed. We're likely to add new songs here at any time.

Individual essays are also posted, because some ideas that we have probably can't be conveyed using the song form alone. These too will probably grow in time. Also, a brand new play by playwright Tom Flannery called Rwandan Eyes is available exclusively here.

Everything here is free. Listen, distribute freely, discuss.

Do everything but steal.

Tom Flannery & Lorne Clarke.


We've all dealt with bureaucracy and know firsthand the frustration of red tape and incompetent people. Lucky for us, we're dealing with things like taxes and insurance.

Imagine if the person who answers the phone at the 1-800 number you call to check an insurance claim was the same person you had to deal with while you were in the midst of a genocide half a world away. Wouldn't that be interesting?
Got a job at the UN the pay's pretty good
nice place in a ritzy neighborhood
the year was 1994
I'd finally found what I was looking for
I think Abraham Lincoln said that or maybe it was Bono I'm not sure
I just saw Bono in the hallway here outside my door

Peace Keeping missions that's where I worked
had a phone and a fax and a filing clerk
nobody there looked like me
they all talked kinda funny from what I could see
they told me I talked funny too but I didn't believe 'em 'cause I'm an American after all

We had some guys from Rwanda on the ground
sounded like a nice enough little town
had an African map hanging on the wall
but I couldn't find the's too small
gotta make them borders bigger....either that or make the name smaller

Faxes started piling up ugly things they'd say
I went to my boss he said "son it's your first day
it's always like that 'round here
lets knock off early and I'll buy you a beer"
I asked him about Rwanda and he said gorillas lived there ...make a good movie
but the lady dies at the end...hope I didn't spoil it for you

There was a guy named Romeo Dallaire
kept screaming that folks were dying there
he needed guns and more of them helmut heads
so we sent him some pens and some staples instead
hey, he said he needed them too and they're cheaper
can only do so much you know

I guess now I'm part of the bureaucracy
after all I went to college got myself a degree
if you need me leave a message or stay on the line
but just remember that I always knock off at 5
so I'll get back to you later

Contributed by CCG/AWS Staff - 2007/9/17 - 22:46

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