Afraid to Shoot Strangers – Unpacking the Weight of War and Consciousness


You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Iron Maiden's Afraid to Shoot Strangers at Lyrics.org.
Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Soldier’s Internal Battle: More Than Just A Fight
  5. Echoes of the Divine: War’s Contradiction with Faith
  6. Justifying the Unjustifiable – The Soldier’s Conundrum
  7. The Haunting Chorus: A Mantra of Fear and Reality
  8. Hidden Meanings: Deeper Than the Dunes of the Desert

Lyrics

Lying awake at night, I wipe the sweat from my brow
But it’s not the fear, ’cause I’d rather go now
Trying to visualize the horrors that will lay ahead
The desert sand mound a burial ground

When it comes to the time
Are we partners in crime?
When it comes to the time
We’ll be ready to die

God let us go now and finish what’s to be done
Thy Kingdom come, thy shall be done on earth
Trying to justify to ourselves the reasons to go
Should we live and let live? Forget or forgive?

But how can we let them go on this way?
The reign of terror corruption must end
And we know deep down there’s no other way
No trust, no reasoning, no more to say

Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid to shoot strangers

Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid
Afraid to shoot strangers

Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid to shoot strangers
Afraid to shoot strangers

Full Lyrics

Iron Maiden has been a harbinger of thematic metal music that doesn’t just rattle the bones but stirs the soul. ‘Afraid to Shoot Strangers’ is a track that transcends the typical rock narrative to delve deep into the psyche of those faced with the tumultuous moral dilemmas of war.

Conflicted soldiers, the ethics of violence, and the agony of decision-making are just the surface of this evocative piece. As we peel back the layers of this profound track, we uncover the introspection and humanity amidst the chaos of conflict.

The Soldier’s Internal Battle: More Than Just A Fight

The opening lines of the song serve as an intimate confession of the sleepless nights marred by anxiety and premonitions of what’s to come. It’s not just sweat but the weight of impending decisions that soaks the brow of the solider in contemplation.

As the lyrics progress, we are tugged into the combat boots of ones standing at the precipice of life and death, grappling with the concept of when it’s their time, will they stand united or solitary in their fate.

Echoes of the Divine: War’s Contradiction with Faith

Invoking the divine, the lyrics call out to be released from the moral purgatory war instigates. ‘Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth’ is not just a prayer, but a guttural cry for resolution and meaning in the mire of war.

It’s a powerful contemplation on the juxtaposition of war — an act of destruction, with the tenets of faith, traditionally symbols of love and creation, leaving one questioning the righteousness of their actions.

Justifying the Unjustifiable – The Soldier’s Conundrum

The protagonists strive to justify their presence on a distant battlefield, wading through a quagmire of moral uncertainties. Should the philosophy of ‘live and let live’ prevail, or does the mantle of retribution and correction of wrongs fall upon them?

This section of the song underscores the unspeakable burden warriors must carry, having to choose between the sanctity of life and presumed necessity for violence.

The Haunting Chorus: A Mantra of Fear and Reality

The chorus, a repetitive and daunting chant, serves as the heartbeat to this narrative. ‘Afraid to shoot strangers’ becomes more than a phrase; it is the chorus of hesitation, the sincere acknowledgment of the dread of taking life from those unknown.

It’s not just fear of action, but fear of consequence, moral decay, and emotional desolation that haunts these warriors – the strangers in their sights as well as within themselves.

Hidden Meanings: Deeper Than the Dunes of the Desert

Beneath the surface, ‘Afraid to Shoot Strangers’ touches upon the impersonal nature of modern warfare. The ‘desert sand mound’ symbolizes not just untimely graves but the barrenness of understanding between clashing ideologies.

The repetition of the chorus not only drills in the paralyzing fear but also reflects the incessant and cyclical nature of conflict – a purgatory loop of fear, action, and regret.

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