Tag Archives: Militia


Ever-since I was introduced to Fela Kuti’s music in one of my classes 2 years ago, I have loved the song  Zombie. I like for the way it sounds and for the fact that its great back ground music when I am focusing on a specific tedious task. However, I also like because it forces me to think.  It makes me reflect on all the young men and women in different countries who willing join the militia . It makes me wonder why somebody my age would endure boot camp, swear loyalty to the state and risk their lives for “Freedom” -such a relative thing.  I suppose that for some people in certain regions, gaining a free education is a major incentive. For others joining the militia is a form of empowerment in a place where there are inadequate employment opportunities. Whether in the USA or in Fela’s home country Nigeria, one can say that when young people join the army they become Zombies since they die to self and unquestioningly follow the orders of a higher authority.

Well, some may argue otherwise and say that just because someone is in the army doesn’t mean that they are a Zombie. Hence some militia (wo)men think analytically and strive to be a positive influence. Perhaps that’s true. This weekend I spoke to a young man who is part of the national guard in Pennsylvania. As we started talking about his profession, I expected him either to refuse to voice his true opinions about certain aspects of  US foreign policy or to simple say that he agreed with every single thing that the US government had been doing. (It was wrong of me to put him in a box just because he wore a uniform.) To my surprise he was critical of the 2003 Iraq war and admitted that things could have been handled in a better way. However, for some unfathomable reason, he still found it necessary to join the national guard. For his sake, I pray that he is only sent to peaceful regions like Germany or Cyprus.

There are no rules in war, so I hear. Your first goal is to survive and in so doing, you might shoot a wounded old lady, or the child trying desperately to hide behind his mother’s skirt. The idea of “bad” or “the enemy” changes throughout history. You may kill the bad guy and tomorrow find out that you murdered him on behalf of greedy old men who make decisions in the safety of their offices. Their true incentive may be fueled by something you immoral.  I have heard that many people who go off to war come back gripped by alcoholism or drugs. They struggle with post traumatic stress which may threaten to break up their families. (Or maybe I just watched “For Colored Girls” too many times).  When I asked this young man what psychological training they go through to prepare them for the traumatic horrors of war, he basically explained how there appeared to be very little mental counselling before and after one was sent out.  That makes me wonder if its possible to be involved in a war yet come back with a healthy mind and soul?

I guess Fela Kuti was onto something when he wrote his song. I hope that somehow people who experience the horrors of war (no matter their role) can find psychological help so that they can successfully reintegrate into society.


Thanks to lyricsmania.com I have found the words to the song.

Lyrics to Zombie :

Zombie o, zombie (Zombie o, zombie)
Zombie o, zombie (Zombie o, zombie)Zombie no go go, unless you tell am to go (Zombie)
Zombie no go stop, unless you tell am to stop (Zombie)
Zombie no go turn, unless you tell am to turn (Zombie)
Zombie no go think, unless you tell am to think (Zombie)Tell am to go straight
A joro, jara, joro
No break, no job, no sense
A joro, jara, joro
Tell am to go kill
A joro, jara, joro
No break, no job, no sense
A joro, jara, joro
Tell am to go quench
A joro, jara, joro
No break, no job, no sense
A joro, jara, joro

Go and kill! (Joro, jaro, joro)
Go and die! (Joro, jaro, joro)
Go and quench! (Joro, jaro, joro)
Put am for reverse! (Joro, jaro, joro)

Joro, jara, joro, zombie wey na one way
Joro, jara, joro, zombie wey na one way
Joro, jara, joro, zombie wey na one way

Joro, jara, joro

Attention! (Zombie)
Quick march!
Slow march! (Zombie)
Left turn!
Right turn! (Zombie)
About turn!
Double up! (Zombie)
Open your hat! (Zombie)
Stand at ease!
Fall in! (Zombie)
Fall out!
Fall down! (Zombie)
Get ready!