Unsung Heroes

1. Tell me the names of the unsung heroes,
those who refused to kill.
Tell me the names of the six­teen thou­sand
whose courage inspires us still.

2. Tell me the sto­ries of unsung heroes,
social­ists, quak­ers and more,
tor­tured and frog marched and sent to hard labour
for refus­ing to kill in the war.

3. Sing me a song of the unsung heroes,
women who went to The Hague,
and laid out foun­da­tions for stop­ping the war
and an equal peace to be made.

4. Tell me the names of the unsung heroes,
those who refuse to kill,
in Turkey and Israel, South Korea and Cyprus,
their courage inspires us still.

Fin­ish with a final round of the ‘Tell me the names’ cho­rus.

Read out names of local WW1 and oth­er COs on top of the back­ing ‘Tell me the names’ before the first verse and after V1 and 2. After V3 read out names of local women who went to the Hague or who were involved and after V4 names of cur­rent COs from around the world.

  • Upper back­ing:

Notes

This song was writ­ten for the Inter­na­tion­al Con­tentious Objector’s Day vig­il on the Mound in Edin­burgh on May 15th 2014, the year of the 100th anniver­sary of the out­break of the First World War. The words refer to WW1 Con­sci­en­tious Objec­tors and the 1,200 women who trav­eled to the huge­ly sig­nif­i­cant Inter­na­tion­al Women’s Con­gress in The Hague in 1915 whilst war was rag­ing, and laid out com­pre­hen­sive plans for peace. This led to the for­ma­tion of the Women’s Inter­na­tion­al league for Peace and Free­dom (WILPF). In the last verse we think of those who are pun­ished still today for refus­ing to kill.

For more infor­ma­tion see the UK WILPF his­to­ry page and the Peace Pledge Union sec­tion about COs.

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