"Hello Birmingham" as written by and Ani Difranco....
Hold me down
I am floating away
Into the overcast skies
Over my home town
On election day

What is it about Birmingham?
What is it about Buffalo?

Did the hate filled want to build bunkers
In your beautiful red earth
They want to build them in our shiny white snow
And now I've drawn closed the curtains
In this little booth
Where the truth has no place to stand
And I am feeling oh so powerless
In this stupid booth
With this useless little lever in my hand
And outside
My city is bracing
For the next killing thing
Standing by the bridge
And praying for the next Doctor Martin Luther King

It was just one shot
Through the kitchen window
Just one or two miles from here
If you fly like a crow

A bullet came to visit a doctor
In his one safe place

A bullet ensuring the right to life
Whizzed past his kid and his wife
And knocked his glasses right off of his face

And the blood poured off the pulpit
Yeah the blood poured down the picket lines
And the hatred was immediate, yeah
And the vengeance was divine

So they went and stuffed God down the barrel of a gun
And after him they stuffed his only son

Hello Birmingham; it's Buffalo
I heard you had some trouble down there again
Just calling to let to know
That somebody understands

I was once escorted
Through the doors
Of a clinic
By a man
In a bulletproof vest
And no bombs
Went off that day
So I am still here to say
Birmingham
I'm wishing you all of my best
Oh Birmingham
I'm wishing you all of my best
Oh Birmingham
I'm wishing you all of my best
On this election day


Lyrics submitted by aur0ra

"Hello Birmingham" as written by Ani Difranco

Lyrics © A SIDE MUSIC LLC D/B/A MODERN WORKS MUSIC PUBLISHING

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Hello Birmingham song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThis song is about violence against abortion providers: the shooting of Dr. Bernard Slepian in Buffalo, Ani's hometown, and the bombing of a clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. Both of these incidents happened in 1998, the year before this album came out.
    The first verse about election day is about the fact that this kind of violence can't be stopped by lawmakers, because it's already illegal; it has to be stopped by changing people's minds.
    moonwatcheron April 24, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've been listening to this song today on repeat.

    RIP Dr. George Tiller
    powertrashon June 01, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis is about all diffeent things.. and, everything is obvious.. dr. slepian, (or however you spell it) etc.. i am from buffalo ! ohhh yeah! and its great cuz ani actually hangs out at some places around here, but, I never catch her, everyone else does. this is a good song
    spiCheLon July 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHer lack of faith in religion, anti-gun stance, pro-choice feminism, it's all mildly apparent here. Dr. Slepian was an abortion provider (or something along those lines) who was murdered. The song sort of alludes to her own abortion as well as to Slepian's death at the hands of a sniper. Lots of ironies and a great blend of her political fervor and personal feelings. Lovely song.

    *ad*
    Everyone should get her DVD, "Trust". It was shot at my hometown, Washington DC.
    */ad*
    jamesii85on March 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of the best songs ever written. Ever. I only wish the sad truths in the songs were not real, this song makes me so angry.
    "a bullet ensuring the right to life
    whizzed past his kid and his wife
    and knocked his glasses right off of his face
    And the blood poured off the pulpit,
    Yeah, and the blood poured down the picket lines,
    And the hatred was immediate,
    Yeah, and the vengeance was divine,
    And they went and stuffed God down the barrel of a gun, and after him
    they stuffed his only son"
    -my blood boils whenever it gets to this part, for so many reasons, the crescendo makes it feel like a Crusade is being unleashed again and all of us non-violent Christians have to bury our faces in our hands in embarrassment because we would never do that shit.
    also the sort of juxtaposition of ineffective voting and MLK is pretty powerful, given that he called out the government for promoting violence and ended up dying for advocating peace. Seriously, what can men do against such reckless hate.
    bananananaon September 17, 2014   Link

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