Killing An Arab (2:23)

Cover of Boys Don't Cry

From Boys Don't Cry and 34 other releases

“Killing an Arab” was the first single by The Cure. It was recorded at the same time as their first LP in the UK, Three Imaginary Boys (1979) but not included on the album. However it was included on the band’s first US album, Boys Don’t Cry (1980).


Composer Robert Smith has said that the song “was a short poetic attempt at condensing my impression of the key moments in L’Étranger (The Stranger) by Albert Camus” (Cure News number 11, October 1991). The lyrics describe a shooting on a beach, in which the Arab of the title is killed by the song’s narrator; in Camus’ story the main character, Meursault, shoots an Arab standing on a beach after staring out at the sea and being overwhelmingly blinded by the sun, reflected on the sea, the sand and the knife the Arab was holding.

The track has a controversial history, since it has often been viewed as promoting violence against Arabs. In the US, The Cure’s first compilation of singles, Standing on a Beach (1986), was packaged with a sticker advising against racist usage of the song. It saw controversy again during the Persian Gulf War and following September 11th.[1] “Killing an Arab” was the only single from the Three Imaginary Boys era not to be included on that album’s 2004 remaster.

The song was revived in 2005, when the band performed the song at several European festivals. The lyrics, however, were changed from “Killing an Arab” to “Kissing an Arab”. Smith added a whole new opening verse when the band performed it at the Royal Albert Hall, London on April 1, 2006 as “Killing Another”.

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Standing on the beach with a gun in my hand
Staring at the sky, staring at the sand
Staring down the barrel at the Arab on the ground
See his open mouth but I hear no sound

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics

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