One man refuses to go to war

March 04, 2022 - 04:31 PM - 339 views

"Le Déserteur" (The Deserter) is a famous anti-war song written by the French poet and musician Boris Vian. It was first performed on the day of the decisive French defeat in the First Indochina War on May 7, 1954.

Marcel Mouloudji (on the video) sang it on that day in concert, and recorded it a week later. But its sale and broadcast were forbidden by the French national radio committee until 1962. It was later translated into English, German, Italian, Spanish, Swedish, Dutc, Polish, Welsh, Catalan, Danish, and many other languages. In the United States, Joan Baez sang it during the Vietnam War.

The song is in the form of a letter to the French president from a man explaining his reasons for refusing the call to arms and becoming a deserter.

Find out more about it on Wikipedia here.

Nearly 70 years later, it resonates more than ever to today's events in Ukraine. The deserter could be a Russian soldier writing a similar letter to his president...

Lyrics in English:

Mr President, I am writing you a letter
That you will read, perhaps
If you have the time
I came to receive
My military papers
To go to the war
Last Wednesday evening
Mr President
I don't want to do that
I am not on this earth
To kill these poor people
It's not to make you angry
I must say to you
My decision is made
I am going to desert
Since I was born
I saw my father die
I saw my brothers leave
And my children cry
My mother has suffered so much
That she is inside her tomb
And she mocks bombs
And she mocks their targets
When I was a prisoner
You stole my wife from me
You stole my soul from me
And all dear to me passed
Tomorrow in the early morning
I will close my door
In the nose of the dead years
I will go down these paths
I will beg for my life
On the roads of France
Of Brittany and Provence
And I will say to people
Refuse to obey
Refuse to do it
Don't go to war
Refuse to leave
If you must give your blood
Go to give yours
You are a good apostle
Mr President
If you chase me
Tell your policemen
That I am not armed
And that they can shoot

Lyrics in Russian

Товарищь президент
«За подчерк извените»
Но пять минут найдите
На скромный мой конверт
Я вам мою страну
Доверил на поруки
А мне вручили суки
Повестку на войну
Товарищь президент
Свою спросите свиту
Кто хочет быть убитым
В неполных двадцать лет
Я выйду на врага
В отечественных войнах
Но вот от этой бойни
Я ухожу в бега
Пока война идёт
Пал смертью храбрых батя
Дядья погибли, братья
Оставили сирот
Сошла в могилу мать
Оделись в траур сёстры
Вы думаете просто
Родню свою терять
Пока мне следари
В СИЗО кроили дело
Жена мела панели
С зари и до зари
Довольно с утряка
Всем будущим потерям
Я закрываю двери
И подаюсь в бега
Коль суждено почить
Так лучше дезертиром
А не в чужих сортирах
Мочиться и мочить
Я вольный человек
А вам здесь всем как видно
В колясках инвалидных
Недостаёт калек
А если кровь стране
Нужна у вас есть тоже
Да и моей дороже
Товарищь президент
А буду окружён
Менты пусть не боятся
Я не опасен кстати
И не вооружён


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