Can’t Get the Sanctuary Song Out of My Head

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I first got involved with the effort to protect Salvadoran refugees in 1980. Running away from an American-backed war, the Salvadorans certainly were not welcomed here. The Reagan Administration, required by law to provide sanctuary to refugees, instead rounded them up and deported them, many to their deaths.

With CARECEN’s 28th Anniversary coming up next week, I was thinking about those days. Not only were Salvadorans marginalized, but we were too. Folks who worked for the refugees were investigated by the FBI, churches that helped them found their pastors arrested and prosecuted. I used to say that I wasn’t a lawyer, I was only renting my license because I thought that we would all eventually be disbarred.

A song I hadn’t heard in years from those days started running through my head. Sanctuary by The Passions. It starts with church bells and finishes with Salvadorans on the run. I pasted the lyrics under the video.

sympathise with the underdog
sympathise with the one who has not
take the side of the underdog
come on come on come on………….

sympathise with the underdog
I read about it in a Sunday rag
colour snaps of a man shot down
wore a black gown

and the moon rose over San Salvador
to the sound of a gun
to the sound of the soldiers come
to the sound of a gun
to the sound of a yankee gun
to the sound of a gun

oh sanctuary

sympathise with the underdog
sympathise with the one who has not
take the side of the underdog
come on come on come on………….

and the rain fell on a belfast street
to the sound of tramping feet
to the sound of the soldiers come
to the sound of a gun
to the sound of the soldiers come
to the sound of a gun

oh pray for me

I heard a sound
is that the home far away?
no its just the voice of power
the sound of war
the sound of war
the sound of war

sympathise with the underdog
I read about it in a Sunday rag
colour snaps of a man shot down
wore a black gown

And the moon rose over El Salvador
to the sound of a gun
to the sound of the soldiers come
to the sound of a gun
and the rain fell on a Belfast street
And the moon rose over El Salvador
to the sound of a gun
to the sound of the soldiers come………..

And the moon rose over El Salvador


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