Thursday, 14 March 2013

Free the People - The Dubliners

'Free the People' was a 1972 hit song for The Dubliners. It was written by producer and song-writer Phil Coulter and is often seen as a song promoting Irish republicanism. I understand that the song was in fact written about the internment of Irish peoples in Northern Ireland (catholic and protestant, although mainly catholic) under the Civil Authorities (Special Powers) Act. This was controversial because it gave the authorities the power to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely without trial. Brian Faulkner, the Northern Ireland PM said after the announcement that Northern Ireland was "quite simply at war with the terrorist."

For me the song remains a beacon of liberty and the importance of equality before the law. The lyrics have relevance throughout the world whereever people struggle against tyranny and repression. For us in the western developed world it is a reminder that the cost of liberty is that we cannot rest if we wish to retain it. More than that it is a rollocking good tune.

[Note: This video would appear to be in support of the republican cause. I am not a supporter of the use of violence in the fight for liberty (nor am I in fact Irish). One mans freedom fighter is another mans terrorist etc. The point that Phil Coulter and Luke Kelly were making with the song was that men were being arrested without being told of what crimes they had committed; the suspicion of terrorist collusion was enough for a man to be interned. See also the trial of Gerry Conlon and the Guildford 4]
Free the People (Coulter, Phil) Performed by The Dubliners.
Laws were made for people
And the law can never scorn
The right of a man to be free
Free the people , let them have their say
Free the people let them see the light of day
The dismal dawn was breaking
When they took her man away
Not knowing what was his crime
Just what was he guilty of
Not one of them could say
But they'll think of something in time
He says goodbye and remembers
We shall overcome
Comforting her children
Softly crying in the night
She tried very hard to explain
You know your daddy never did a thing
That wasn't right
So soon he's bound to be home again
He is a good man
And we shall overcome
What does it profit him
The right to be born
If he suffers the loss of liberty
Laws were made for people
And the law can never scorn
The right of a man to be free
We are the people
And we shall overcome
We are the people
And we shall overcome

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