Let us live in peace… let us die in peace.
The song’s origins are, not surprising, found in the years following the attacks on 9/11:
This song is the inspiration of a Muslim residing in the United States, Samir Badri. Samir recruited the composer(Ted Warmbrand), a Jew, to set his words to a tune, after they both were featured at a Peace rally in Arizona before the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan and then Iraq.
As a song of peace in time of war, it is simply perfect.
And to me, considering how many are fighting ‘the wars at home’ – poverty, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, ableism – it is in fact a perfect song for today too.
Daoona nayeesh beesalaam;
daoona nayeesh Beeamaan;
daoona namoot beesalaam.
The English translation from Arabic:
Let us live in peace.
Let us live in inner peace.
Let us weave our dreams together.
Let us die in peace.
Imagine if we sang this with energy at marches and protests against discriminatory laws and tax scams. Imagine if we sang this as a lament at our vigils for transfolk being murdered, for people of color being denied justice, for what will now be a growing number of people dying from poverty and lack of health care, for families torn apart by deportation.
Imagine if we actually lived and died in peace.
Some useful musical/performance notes from the UUA Song Information page:
This song can been shared in different ways: Energetically, meditatively, with audience singing along (as echoes after each phrase), and/or with instrumental breaks allowing for English translation during the piece. It has been sung in 3/4, 12/8, and 4/4 time. Sometimes the composer adds the one word ‘tag’ “aHlaam” (dreams) only at the end and sometimes the song fades out with it. At other times he uses it as a bridge to return to the verse. When unaccompanied or with only percussion “aHlaam” can become a descant under the melody. It was put there to assure people could sing at least one word in Arabic. A pause can be added before the last line, “let us die in peace.”
The image is from Pixabay contributor Gerd Altmann – even though Pixabay offers royalty-free photos for editorial and non-commercial use without attribution, I wanted to name the photographer in this case because it is such a striking image.
A great addition to this songbook! It would be nice to have the text also printed in Arabic, both for: people who aren’t used to seeing Arabic (many of us) and the many people who can recognize it and even read it (quite a few people where I live); It would even be wonderful to have the text translated into languages other than English (even singable translations), although it would be hard to know when to stop, there are now so many languages spoken here in my city and most cities.
Here in Minnesota there are fair-sized Somali communities even in many smaller towns now (St. Cloud, Willmar, and others) and many other immigrants (e.g. West African), who, even if they do not speak Arabic, have at least studied some Arabic in Koranic school. So a printed Arabic text, or a singable Somali translation, or Wolof, or….like I said, it would hard to know where to stop. Maybe there could be a web site where such further translations could be available? But for this hymn there’s lots of blank space on the second page…..so in the next edition….?