Latin Quarter - The Imagination of Thieves


Was it really for God
Or the adventure and the promise of girls?
Were there insults traded
‘Get back to where you came from’?
Were you stopped and searched each week
By men in uniform
While friends you thought you had
Ran off and denied you?
Wish I could understand how we got to this.

Cos we can laugh and we can sing
We can pray and we can dance
We can be kind and gentle and generous
Smile at strangers, help a friend
We can play we can invent
Try and make this world good again
All these things we do
But it seems there’s a dark side running
And there’s nothing so cruel
One man won’t do to another.

Maybe we marched together once
Against an illegal war
Shared the same ideas then
As we tried to change the world
Friends said you were ambitious, but always the idealist
So how come we get to these tweets from you
That say ‘Today we shot some prisoners.’

Song Description

I have read a number of accounts of the lives/personalities of young British Muslim men who have been out to fight in Syria and ended up in the ranks of ISIS and committing all kinds of horrible acts. The thing that comes over every time is how different they were from the ISIS warriors they then became. One in particular was a well-balanced, friendly guy who had no problem whatsoever in a mixed culture and dreamed of being a British MP.

It leaves me dumbfounded and this song doesn’t try to explain anything or justify anything. I am thinking aloud and in the end we are confronted with the fact that human beings – the same human beings- seem to be capable of such extremely different ways of being.

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