Voici la ballade du soldat inconnu, mais ce n’est pas de n’importe quel soldat inconnu que parle ici Barbara Dane. Ce n’est pas de n’importe que GI mort au Vietnam, mais d’un homme tombé sous l’uniforme du FNL vietnamien, tenue noire et simples sandales. Un homme passé de l’autre côté de la barrière, et dont elle nous dit que son nom devrait être retenu comme celui d’Ho-Chi-Minh.

C’est en lisant en 1969 une dépêche du Manchester Guardian annonçant la découverte du corps d’un GI ainsi passé dans l’autre camp que Rod Shearman, un auteur anglais, avait écrit cette chanson, que Peggy Seeger devait donner à Barbara Dane, qui en a enregistré une version abrégée, que l’on trouvera ici, avec le texte.

La chanson commence comme beaucoup de chansons de cowboys, par une expression parfois reprise dans le répertoire Folk : « Venez écouter cette histoire… »


BALLAD OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER

Come and Listen to a story I will tell
Of a young GI you will remember well.
He died in Vietnam in the Mekong Delta land,
He had sandals on his feet and a rifle in his hand.

Chorus:
Well I wonder what was his name?
I wonder from which town he came?
I wonder if his children understand the reason why
Of the way he had to fight and the way he had to die.

They say that December ’65
Was the last time he was ever seen alive.
It was U.S. Army lies that caused him to decide
To leave his old top sergeant and fight on the other side.

(Chorus)

Was he lonesome for his homeland far away?
Fighting with his new companions night and day?
In the base and jungle camps they tell about a man
Sharing hardships with his comrades fighting on the other side.

(Chorus)

It was in the month of April ’68,
In the Delta land he met a soldier’s fate.
He fought to his last breath and he died a hero’s death,
And he wore the black pajamas of the People’s NLF.

Well it’s now that poor soldier’s dead and gone.
And his comrades and his friends are fighting on.
And when the people win, of their heroes they will sing,
And his name will be remembered with the name of Ho Chi Minh.

(Chorus)