"Little Kings" as written by and Paul Maurice Kelly....
I'm so afraid for my country
There's an ill wind blowing no good
So many lies in the name of history
They want to improve my neighbourhood
I'm so worried about my brother
He just gets sadder every day
We gotta take care of each other
Or else we're gonna have to pay
In the land of the little kings
There's a price on everything
And everywhere the little kings
Are getting away with murder
I was born in a lucky country
Every day I hear the warning bells
They're so busy building palaces
They don't see the poison in the wells
In the land of the little kings
Profit is the only thing
And everywhere the little kings
Are getting away with murder
In the land of the little kings
Justice don't mean a thing
And everywhere the little kings
Are getting away with murder


Lyrics submitted by jed

"Little Kings" as written by Paul Maurice Kelly

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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    General CommentThe lyrics of the song "Little kings" does suggest that Kelly believes that ordinary Australians are often lacking the means to stand up to the power and greed of governments and power-hungry business's and farmers. The ordinary Australians he is referring to is seen mainly to be the indigenous Australians that many of his lyrics are written about. There is also a wider relevance though to many of the other ordinary Australians that are being disempowered across the country.
    When the first few lines are read, "I'm so afraid for my country. There's an ill wind blowing no good", it suggests that Aboriginals can feel that there is a change happening and that it's going to mean bad news for them and their culture. The lyrics across the song with phrases such as, "So many lies in the name of history","They get away with murder" and "Justice don't mean a thing" all indicate Kellys beliefs regarding the treatment of aboriginals. The underlying meaning with these lyrics is that during the history of Australia there has had many lies and discrepancies and the blacker parts of Aboriginal history/treatment have been left out. This paints a better than deserved picture of the Europeans as opposed to the treatment that the aboriginals received. There were many deaths in aboriginal communities, which were caused by the European population bashing and killing them, that were never reported or even mentioned. The governments over the years have turned a blind eye or encouraged this sort of behaviour towards the aboriginals. It also relates to the ongoing issue of the stolen generation, which no government has officially apologised for because of the belief that numerous civil rights suits will be taken against the government. Although this would bring some renumeration to aboriginals it will never reunite the families that were split up (under the belief that the aboriginal children would be better off growing up in a white society).
    The direction of the lyrics also raise the land rights issue which dates back to the very first settlers who believed that the land was theirs for the taking or they bought the land with worthless items such as beads and colored feathers. Which was obviously not a fair trade for the aboriginals considering they didn't know the english lanquage and therefore were losing vast quantities of land. They had no way to protect their land, their livelihood and their freedom. This is reinforced in the next line, "Worried about my brother. He just gets sadder everyday" is continuing the issue of the mistreatment of the aboriginals as it indirectly talks about the pain and suffering that they've had to endure. The losses of lives, family, land and their culture which has been changed forever by the greed and ignorance of people in power.
    The last line of the opening stanza also shows that Kelly believes that the aboriginal people are being disempowered where we says "They.." rather than "we" "want to improve my neighbourhood". This is an indication that their ability to determine the decisions about their own futures are being taken away by the various governments of the country who believe that they know best for the ordinary people in this country. He also points to the need for aboriginals to stick together for the greater benefit of their people and explained through these two lines "we gotta take care of each other. Or else we're gonna have to pay" . If they keep strong as one group then it should give them a better chance to survive the harsh treatment that the government dishes out to them.
    Two lines which demonstrate that the governments main priorities are making "progress" and money are: "They're so busy building palaces. Profit is the only thing". They don't care about the consequences of how they achieve their goals, even if it means people are killed along the way. Killing of the aboriginals has gone on over most of the white history of Australia and Kelly is well aware of this. The line "They don't see the poison in the wells" gives us an indication of the government turning a blind eye to the treatment that the aboriginals received. Though this comment specifically relates to the past practice undertaken by settlers of poisoning aboriginal wells. This killed off many aboriginals in the outback and meant that there was no or much reduced conflict with the aboriginal people.

    There is so much in the lyrics to this song that suggests that Kelly believes the power and greed of governments often DO lead to ordinary people and particularly the indigenous australians, lacking the means to change things.

    Jarryd Addlem
    jaztecon July 22, 2007   Link

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