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  • Writer's pictureBlake

No way to treat a child

I was asked to write a song for the Free Abu Sakha campaign - about a young Palestinian circus performer who has been held in Israeli administrative detention without charge since 14th December 2015. Inhumane conditions including torture and solitary confinement are standard procedure in Israeli prisons. Abu Sakha is one of hundreds of young Palestinians being held without charge. The Israeli practice of administrative detention has been condemned on numerous occasions by the UN Human Rights Office and the Human Rights Committee that oversees implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Israel has ratified. Please follow this link to the petition demanding his release: Check out a video here: Other artists are contributing songs about Abu Sakha for a planned Bandcamp release soon, including this marvellous song from Hushland:

My song 'Fifteen' isn't about Abu Sakha specifically. It's about Palestinian children and their families undergoing the ordeal of Israeli military detention. I wrote it after watching the Detaining Dreams short film on It's a hard watch. As it says on the website, Israel is the only country in the world that prosecutes children in military courts that lack basic and fundamental fair trial guarantees. Each year, around 500 to 700 Palestinian children living in the occupied West Bank under prolonged Israeli military occupation are arrested by Israeli forces and prosecuted in an Israeli military detention system notorious for the systematic and widespread ill- treatment of Palestinian children. Israeli military detention exposes Palestinian children to physical and psychological violence and prevents them from enjoying their rights as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child by interrupting education, contributing to mental health issues, and placing large numbers of families under stress. In the occupied West Bank, there are two separate legal systems operating in the same territory. The sole factor in determining which laws apply to a person is his or her nationality and ethnicity. Israeli military law, which fails to ensure and denies basic and fundamental rights, is applied to the whole Palestinian population. Israeli settlers living in the West Bank are subject to the Israeli civilian and criminal legal system. No Israeli child comes into contact with the military court system. International juvenile justice standards, which Israel has obliged itself to implement by signing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991, demand that children should only be deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort and include universal prohibitions against physical violence and torture among other protections. Despite these obligations Israeli authorities persistently disregard and fail to comply with international law.

Please also check out the work of DCI Palestine: Hope & Play for Gaza: and Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation:

This is a link to the track on Soundcloud. Please consider sharing:


We heard voices in the night They called his name out we saw their lights When they came in the young ones cried When they took him felt like I’d died

I was screaming he didn’t fight Thought I was dreaming it can’t be right I shook a soldier I asked him why But he said nothing and walked on by

He had a blindfold they tied his hands Then they threw him inside a van I saw their faces they were so young Little boy soldiers took my son

He said they beat him he was in pain Interrogated time and again With no confession they took his clothes And then they left him freezing cold

He had no lawyer he made no call Put in a prison that broke the law In forced detention for forty days And yet his sentence is still not paid

From the watchtower they aim their guns At the checkpoints they have their fun They take our children they steal their dreams Haunts me forever he was fifteen

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