Coldplay’s “Orphans” Lyrics Meaning

The (unmentioned) premise of Coldplay’s “Orphans” is considered to be when Britain, France and the United States bombed Damascus in April of 2018.  Thus the fictional characters mentioned in the lyrics, “Rosaleen” and “Baba”, actually resided in the Syrian capital when this occurred. And to make a long story short, they both were killed. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Coldplay's Orphans at

So basically, this track portrays them as innocents who were going about their everyday lives when such occurred. Rosaleen was apparently a young girl with beautiful eyes. Her ‘moon-like eyes’ actually had the potential of one day making her into a movie star. And Baba was a simple, albeit wise, farmer. So the two choruses are respectively dedicated to their individual narratives. 

Chorus and Bridge

The chorus is centered on the idea of the two of them being taken away prematurely. And the bridge is apparently a metaphor for them being received favorably into the afterlife. And it should be noted that the word “orphans” is never mentioned in the lyrics. But within the context of war, orphans are basically the personification of the havoc which is wreaked as a result. Or another way of looking at it is that there is no victim of an armed conflict more innocent than someone who is made into an orphan.  And in that regard, the term too can be symbolically applied to the tales of Rosaleen and Baba.

Lyrics of "Orphans"

Facts about “Orphans”

“Orphans” is one of two leads singles that Coldplay released from their double album “Everyday Life”. The song was released by Coldplay’s management on 24 October 2019. FYI, “Orphans” was released along with another single titled “Arabesque

The writing of the song is accredited to four members of the band:

  • Guy Berryman
  • Jonny Buckland
  • Will Champion
  • Chris Martin

In addition to the above, Chris’s young teenage son, Moses Martin, also contributed to the song’s writing.

And the track was produced by the trio of D. Green, B. Rahko and R. Simpson.

The Damascus Bombing

‘The Damascus bombing’ is actually a popular appellation given to an event which occurred in the Syrian capital on 14 April 2018.  The stage was set for this violent action by the fact that Syria, leading up to that point and beyond, had been at civil war since 2011. And since pretty much the onset of this conflict, external agencies (as in foreign countries) have been involved.

Chemical Attack

More particularly, on 7 April 2018 the Syrian city of Douma suffered from a chemical (warfare) attack. Approximately 50 people died as a result. The citizens of Douma are definitely not fond of the Syrian government, with the resistance there having even been sponsored by Saudi Arabia. Moreover, history shows that the Syrian Army has already carried out a couple of ‘massacres’ in Douma in years leading up to this attack. Or simply put the city Douma, by and large, has beef with the government of Syria government.  And it is also perhaps noteworthy to mention that Damascus and Douma are only separated by 12 miles of distance.

So logically, when the place was bombed in 2018 and all these people were killed, the finger was pointed at the Syrian government. Now keep in mind that even prior to this it and its President, Bashar al-Assad, have already had beef with Western powers such as the United States, at least from the onset of the Civil War. Thus America, France and Britain responded to the Douma attack via their own air-and-sea offensive in Damascus. According to these forces, the specific targets were those which could have logically contributed to what happened in Douma (i.e. research and military facilities). One of such marks that was indeed obliterated (a laboratory), but the workers have since stated that they were in fact working on “civilian pharmaceutical(s) and chemical research”.

Aftermath of the Bombings

And in terms of the final results of the Damascus bombing, reports vary. On the Western side it is said that almost 50 people, as well as all intended targets, were indeed dealt with.  Meanwhile the Syrian government has stated that the death toll was as low as six military personnel, with three civilians also being injured. And they have also put forth that such was largely to their own missile defense.  In fact it is reported that al-Assad and co. actually perceived the attack as a victory, as in proving that the Western powers cannot casually assault him.

2 Responses

  1. Michael Mould says:

    Superb explanation. Thanks for this exquisite and succinct account. I would never have made the Syrian connection otherwise. Once again, many thanks. 😮

    • Amna says:

      What an amazing explanation. I would like to add though that “baba” in Arabic means father, so I think he is supposed to be Rosaleen’s father.

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