Moroccan Fruit

Notes on the song

This track was inspired by Nina Simone's version of "Strange Fruit". As I listened to Nina's version of "Strange Fruit", about the racism and lynching of African Americans in the 1930's, I wondered what she would be singing about now. Then I saw the haunting photo by Jose Palazon, of the migrants' rights group Pro De In. The photo (below) shows Moroccan immigrants in Melilla, Spain, hanging onto a fence at a golf course at a border. I was immediately inspired by the combination, linked the two together and wrote the song.

Jose Palazon

"Strange Fruit" was used in the original song as a metaphor for lynched "Black bodies ... swinging from the poplar trees". I have adapted this to a reference to "Moroccan Fruit" as a metaphor for the Moroccan immigrants in the photo hanging from the fence while trying to get to Europe.

The lyrics "golfers play on, take no notice. It's just a game", describes a cold indifference to the situation and the refugees' plight - something we must all guard against, and maintain empathy for all human beings. As Owen Jones said, "As humans, we have a huge potential capacity for empathy; but when we dehumanise a group of people, we can accept (or indeed inflict) cruelty."

There is a danger that we are drifting into dehumanising refugees. When a boat carrying refugees sinks, despite scores or even hundreds dying (often children), the story slips further down the news agenda as it becomes a more regular occurrence.

The song seeks to emphasise that the refugees are people, flesh and blood, parents and children. This was the similarity and empathy that I sought to achieve when the song depicts a son telling his mother of the dead refugee on a beach in a picture, and wanting to "Play that game...". There must be many mothers who saw the tragic photos of the young refugee dead on the beach and were touched by the similarities with their own child.

Many parents in the West are willing to sell their house and move away from friends and family just to find a better school for their children - "to give them a better chance in life". Imagine that drive and desire to do the best for your children when war and destruction is all around, and death is a real prospect.

The final words are from Patti Smith: "You can't carve up the world, It's not a pie".

I am very grateful for Pro De In for allowing me to use this iconic photo. You can follow their Spanish blog here.

You may download the song using this direct link or from the Download Music page.


1st Verse:

Moroccan fruit hangs from the fence,
It swings in vain, in high suspense,
Golfers play on take no notice,
It's just a game.

1st Chorus:

It's not a swarm, it's not a flood,
But a constant flow of blood,
We don't want you in our club,
Look away, look away.

2nd Verse:

African blood lies on the tracks,
It escaped war, genocide, attacks,
The freedom train demands a fatal tax,
And he paid in full.

2nd Chorus:

You send a drone, you drop a bomb,
And wonder why the people come,
But when they plead for asylum,
Look away, look away.

Mid 8:

My boy said come look at the picture,
There on the beach, a boy like me,
He's playing dead, please can I play that game,
Will you play that game with

3rd/final verse:

Young Arab flesh lies on the sand,
Far too young to understand,
His father paid cash on demand,
So he could die free.

What price liberty.