Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

ku_klux_klan_by_mikimikibo-d37022gMedgar Evans

Medgar Evans was shot in the back by a cowardly gunman who hid in the bushes. He was killed in front of his wife and children.

The aim of the murder was to strike terror into the community so that they would not rise up and seek their rights.

The aim of Islamic extremists is to impose their distorted view of religion on other people. They want to stifle free speech and the rights of the individual. They use hate, extreme violence and terror to get their way.

Like the Klu Klux Klan they will be defeated.

As Dylan pointed out the terrorists who are blowing themselves up or attacking innocent people have been duped. The people organising the killings are well away out of danger.

The perpetrators are pawns in the game.

The only way to deal with fascism is through education.

“Only A Pawn In Their Game”

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game.

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

From the powerty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game.

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain:
Only a pawn in their game.


5 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – Only a Pawn in Their Game – Lyrics about the cowardly murder of the civil rights leader Medgar Evans.

  1. It was a dastardly crime against an innocent man in cold blood . My question is what does Dylan mean by ‘ only a pawn in their game’? I hope he is not excusing this cold blooded murder, and who are the they onto whom he shifts the blame? Perhaps he believes we are putty in the hands of the leaders and we are blameless . If so it does not say much for the ordinary Joe Bloggs. It could be he sympathises with the poor whites due his own background.
    Should we sympathise with the pawns of ISIS or be horrified that men can stoop to such depravity?
    In America they have more freedom of speech than in Europe and holocaust denial is not a crime. I heard a KKK member interviewed by the BBC say the Jews had swimming pools in the concentration camps ; he was standing under a picture of Hitler.

    1. Kertsen – I think Dylan was referring to the way many disadvantaged people were being used by the fascists to further their own ends. It is the standard device Trump used in the election – to stir up hatred and point the finger at scapegoats. They are guilty but they are being primed and pointed by shady people behind the scenes who benefit.

  2. Well said Opher we must be guilty of the crimes we commit otherwise there can be no justice. What amazes me is that sane men who may well be poor can be so brainwashed but maybe it’s the same technique as used to radicalize that ISIS use on young unthinking minds. I have come across a good few people who profess not to like what they call foreigners but I could not see them shooting one. Of course the lure of money is a powerful incentive to commit all sorts of crime but these poor whites gained no financial reward as far as we know. I believe there is a streak of evil in us all that can revel in the suffering of others. Sam Harris believes evil is a part of human nature perhaps he has a valid point, certainly many religions contain such teaching.

    1. I think human nature has a very cruel streak. It is inherent in our genes and is part of all of our make-up. One only has to look at car crashes, murder and torture stories – we are fascinated by them. In the past animals were routinely tortured for sport.
      Hopefully we can counter these negative flaws in our character. Most people are in control of their violent urges. We’ve come a long way.

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