Take Your Children To The Hill – Brand New Song

This is my latest song, written tonight, and recorded within the last five minutes.

I’m not going to tell you what it’s about yet. I want you to listen to it. You’ll figure it out.

I’ll add more detail below the song, but please listen to it first.

Okay, so you’ve heard it.

Now to tell you what inspired it.

During the current massacre of the people of Palestine by the State of Israel, one of the more chilling reports was of Israelis gathering on hillsides to watch the explosions, cheering and celebrating as each rocket hit Gaza.

This was reported by The Guardian and CNN amongst many.

The Guardian reported how “some brought their children”, and how families gathered on balconies of apartments overlooking where the bombs fell.

As each rocket hits Gaza, children and other civilians die. The death toll is way past a thousand.

This is not a movie. It is not a video game. It is flesh and blood being obliterated in the most horrific way.

The inhumanity of those who gather to watch it and cheer it like sport is heartbreaking to me.

That they should pass that on to their own children is sadder still.

Who on earth would take their children to the hill?


Take your children to the hill
On a night that’s warm and still
Bring a picnic if you will
Take your children to the hill

Pack the car and off we drive
It isn’t far and we’re there in five
All the neighbours there as well
Waiting for the show
Sandwiches and a bottle of wine
And a box of home made cakes
And handkerchiefs for the little one
Well you know the mess she makes

Take your children to the hill
On a night that’s warm and still
Bring a picnic if you will
Take your children to the hill

The music plays it’s my favourite style
I see my friend and we talk for a while
Her baby boy he is walking now
I say, he’s really coming on
I laugh at all of the food that I’ve made
She says that it’ll keep
And the little one, her head’s upon my chest
She’s already fast asleep

Take your children to the hill
On a night that’s warm and still
Bring a picnic if you will
Take your children to the hill

And at last they start the show
Bombs were dropping on the town below
I swear I saw the school burn down
We had such a brilliant view
We stood and cheered as their town turned to fire
We chanted Death To Palestine
And we smiled when the children joined in too
Oh we had the best of times

Take your children to the hill
On a night that’s warm and still
Bring a picnic if you will
Take your children to the hill

#alun parry#gaza#palestine


  1. Alan Easby - August 7, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

    After the initial build up to what we are led to believe is a pleasant family gathering in a happy family song, the punch line or rather punch verse really shocks and consequently hammers home the message . Brilliant.

  2. alunparry - August 7, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

    Thanks Alan. I really appreciate your thoughts and feedback. I’m glad it had that impact on listeners. It is a truly heartbreaking situation, both the loss of life on the part of the victims, and the loss of humanity on the part of the aggressors. Thanks for posting your comments.

  3. Devils Advocate - August 8, 2014 @ 2:15 pm

    Mmmm…. and I wonder if the Palistinians are free of inhumane acts? 1948 – just a thought. I know two wrongs dont necessarily make a right, but a point-of-view can often lead one to become affiliated with the ‘opposite’ side of whatever the argument / conflict happens to be – and this is not necessarily the ‘right’ side of the argument – assuming, that is, there is a ‘wrong’ side!

    You see, this is a real problem for me when musicians, artists and poets etc begin to comment on a very complex situation which has been created by centuries of cultural belief systems, corruption and power struggles. I’m not saying that one should ignore the insanity and meaningless slaughter of innocent life, as a musician myself I write my own fair share of protest ditties, but I often have to ask myself if we are both morally and intellectually qualified to ‘comment’ on situations which are so distant and alien to us in our 21st modern and predominentley agnostic England. In my opinion, use of juxstaposition, although a very powerful writing technique, has become somewhat overused and has the effect of nothing more than the common ‘punchline’ of a joke. I would personally hear what someone has to say who is committed to one side of the argument. To listen to the words (and music) of someone who is able to declare to others which side of the fence they stand. Also, Alun, with respect the constant use of the Royal ‘We’ in protest songs is a little bit of a sidestep – dont you think? I mean – I personally dont feel anything for the situation you describe. If on the hand I did then I would decide which side of the argument I agreed with and the rest of the situation would merely be a consequence of such. And that would include direct, finger pointing lyrics to support and further my side of the argument.

    best regards as always

  4. alunparry - August 9, 2014 @ 12:39 am

    Hi DA

    You make a lot of points, some of which I’m a bit confused at, so forgive me if I grab the wrong end of the stick.

    Firstly, what is happening in Gaza at the moment is a straigthforward war crime where a civilian population are not just being deliberately targeted, but have been put in the position of fish in a barrel. The death toll is horrific and hundreds of them are simply children.

    Personally, I don’t see the relevance of any historical nitpicking that you might be able to come up with. These civilians and these children do not deserve to be massacred. No matter what you think their grandfathers might have done.

    This song is about this massacre, and about the heartbreaking inhumanity that leads people to go and watch the slaughter as if it were sport, taking along their children to join in the fun of watching other children just like them be murdered.

    My own view is that the State of Israel is currently a murderous, apartheid state and I boycott it in the same way as I boycotted South Africa in the 80s. I’d argue that Israel is far more lethal than South Africa ever was, and it puzzles me how it is not considered the pariah state that South Africa was.

    I do feel morally qualified to comment on the slaughter of innocents, just as I feel morally qualified to comment on many other ethical horrors both in the present and the past. That they happen in the present just means it is more important to speak out.

    Ultimately, if I see an infant being murdered in the High Street, I do my utmost to stop the attack. I don’t ponder whether the infant’s grandpa was a scoundrel or not, which appears to be your approach if I’m not mistaken.

    It seems my view of the history might differ from yours, but even so, I don’t understand this ethical approach.

    I do believe that the treatment of the Palestinian people is an appalling injustice that has been ongoing for many years. The current action against them is utterly immoral and terroristic in my view.

    I get that you’d prefer to hear a speech, but you can hear them from either side whenever you like. I chose to express myself in song here. So I guess the listener can either take it or leave it. I’ve said what I wanted to say, and conveyed what I wanted to get across, and from other feedback I think it’s probably done its job.

    I don’t follow the “royal we” bit. Unless you think I should write a song that begins with the words “Here’s what I think…” and carries on in that vein. It’s very rare that I do that. It’s not a sidestep in my view. It’s just that, usually, I find stories are more powerful and moving than putting a melody to a lecture. The “we” in the lyrics of this song represents the voice of the characters in the story. I take it you don’t like story as an artistic device when it comes to making political comment, and prefer exposition. We’ll have to disagree on that.

    I feel a certain sadness that you don’t feel anything for the situation I’ve described. That children are to be slaughtered indiscriminately, and other civilians should watch and cheer is a double heartbreak, as it represents both the loss of life and the loss of humanity. I think both sides are lessened as a result.

    I also think the song leaves my own position absolutely clear. But it does so without finger pointing lyrics which, artistically speaking, would be far less powerful in my view than simply telling the story in a way that people will connect and relate to and so will touch people emotionally.

    Thanks as ever for your feedback.


  5. Devils Advocate - August 10, 2014 @ 2:20 pm

    First of all, I take your point about the ‘We’ – I dont think I expressed what I meant very well there – must have had a momentary lapse of reason….

    That said, I think some of the most potent ‘message’ songs have been delivered in a lecture / direct / reportage fashion – think Masters Of War, Times They Are A Changin’ etc and occasionally there is also the rare combination of ‘factual’ storytelling fused with direct finger-pointing such as Lou Reeds’ Dirty Boulevard (in fact, the whole of the New York album)…. but I guess thats down to personal preference…

    Quote – “Ultimately, if I see an infant being murdered in the High Street, I do my utmost to stop the attack. I don’t ponder whether the infant’s grandpa was a scoundrel or not, which appears to be your approach if I’m not mistaken.” – I completely agree, I also would become Uncle Sam in that situation. Please understand I am not a barbarian and I do sympathise with anyone in less fortunate circumstances than myself.
    However, one of the hardest facts of life is that we all inherit some degree of responsibility for the past actions of our ancestory – wrongly or rightly – and that was my point – the conflicts in the middle east and surrounding areas have never been and will never be brought under control by simplifying extremely complex situations – what I’m about to say is controversial to say the least , but – historically War is the only way to defend against agression – Surrender will always result in abuse by the Agressor – and whichever side has the most destructive power (Agressor or Defender) will become the dominant force. Unfortunatley there will be victims… we can sing, write verse, paint pictures, make sculptures and have as many debates and pseudo-political meetings as we want but it will not change that fact.

    Just another quick point before I end concerning your reference to South Africa. I read the following statistic in a debate about Apartheid recently –

    “Currently in SA the racist thing is still going strong because whites are now seen to be the lesser race. Jobs are given based on the color of skin & whites are a last option. Since 2000, poverty amongst non-whites decreased with 43% & poverty amongst whites increased with 200% because of this. So, basically it’s the same as the Apartheid years in SA, just the other way around. ”

    It seeems the Universal Law of Cause & Effect is alive and kicking wherever you look and very well represented throughout the history of the Human Race….


  6. alunparry - August 11, 2014 @ 10:04 am

    Hi DA

    You’re right about those songs, but I think they’re the exception that proves the rule. Most storytellers tell stories. In the main me too. Even as an audience member I don’t want Das Kapital set to music. I want stories set to music. And if now and then the performer has a lecture then cool if it’s done very well, as those songs all were.

    Incidentally, this song is reportage. You mention juxtaposition. But there wasn’t any. It was just that the story I reported on wasn’t what people were expecting and so when the reveal came it shocked, but that makes it even more macabre and heartbreaking for that fact.

    People have been taking their children up to the hill for makeshift parties and to cheer on the death and destruction of other children down below. I found that a chilling image so I told that story. I think it’s one that needed telling, and in this particular way, so I did.

    I disagree with the ethical idea that an infant inherits any responsibility for what its grandfather did. Then again, I disagree with you on the history of all this too. But whatever the history, I don’t buy the ethical principle that a child bears any responsibility for things it cannot understand and things it did not do. Call me simplistic, but the ethical stand is to either oppose the deliberate killing of children or not.

    It strikes me as the grossest act of hypocrisy to condemn the likes of Ian Brady, but shrug at the actions of the state of Israel and those who fund and arm it.

    I think you’re being defeatist actually. There is plenty we can do about it, and that starts to have an effect. You minimise the effect of sharing the alternative view. Even in the worst case scenario where nothing is done to change the politics of it, there is a significance to a lot of people stating to other onlookers that this is wrong. Imagine a world where nobody did, and where such barbarism was simply overlooked.

    I also think that in many of your comments that you’re almost being an apologist for this massacre if one follows your line of thought to its logical conclusion. It’s a fatalistic “shit happens, all is fair in love and war” kind of analysis. I disagree with you.

    Finally, I think the stats you post on South Africa are really ludicrous. The idea that South Africa is now a land where black people are doing great, and the whites are now in a position that black people were in under apartheid is so far from the truth that I don’t quite know where to start. Maybe by reading a bit of Pilger on the subject.

    All the best as ever


  7. Devils Advocate - August 13, 2014 @ 1:34 pm

    hi al

    I did say that the bit about SA was part of another online debate – they are not my words…

    “Apologist”, “Fatalist”, “Defeatist”… I maybe a lot of things but they wouldn’t be in my top10 if I had to describe myself! I think a more accurate word would be “Realist”… Pointing out barbarism is simply just that – it ain’t a solution. And my point of view of War is more akin to “shit happens, all is UNFAIR in love and war”…. we will have to disagree on the ‘inherent responsibility’ issue, however for me it forms part of an individuals’ National Identity – but I’m guessing you will disagree with that – my assumption is based on what you have said in your other topics regarding National Pride etc. You see, Alun, I believe future generations should be told EXACTLY what their ancestors have done – then they should decide WHY those things were done and if they agree or not with the reasons – they will then have a balanced point of view and freedom of choice to act accordingly – assuming of course they are not bombarded with propaganda style information of ANY kind – facts are what are required – without emotion and without political argument, if that’s ever possible.

    As far as the simple ethical approach issue regarding indiscriminate killing, I have already stated my disagreement of that…. Just to further our conversation a little, do you have any solutions to these Global issues we all now face? Just curious….


  8. Devils Advocate - August 22, 2014 @ 9:45 am

    hi alun

    You havn’t replied to my last question regarding possible solutions to Global issue?
    Am I to assume you have not yet finished your manifesto?

    facetiously yours

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