Deutschland Über What Now?

The world today is a violent place. Terrorism, war, genocide and bloodshed are in the headlines every day. But in the rush to find a culprit — drugs? a turning away from religion? video games? — no one has considered the most obvious suspect of all: national anthems. In nearly every country on Earth, the song meant to embody everything dear and sacred to the national character of its citizens is more blood-soaked and hostile than a Marduk concert. Judge for yourself: before we have another UN intervention, international treaty or trade agreement, might we not consider a massive program of anthem reform? 


Country: Algeria
Dangerous lyrics: “blood” (x2), “revolt” (x2), “destroys”, “die”, “gunpowder”, “machineguns”, “dead”, “battlefields”, “martyrs”.
Notes: First alphabetically, first in violent imagery. Initial two lines of song mention “lightning that destroys” and “streams of generous blood being shed”.

Country: Angola
Dangerous lyrics: “died”, “revolution”, “march”, “fighters”, “oppressed”, “fight” (x2).
Notes: Oft-repeated line “By our work we build the New Man” adds distressing Frankensteinian quality to anthem.

Country: Benin
Dangerous lyrics: “battles”, “blood”, “anger”, “hate”.
Notes: First verse of anthem suggests that ancestors of modern-day Beninites really, really liked to fight.

Country: Botswana
Dangerous lyrics: “fame”.
Notes: One of the most cheerful national anthems, containing pleas for peace and sexual equality as well as a surprising two occurrences of the word “happy”.

Country: Burkina Faso
Dangerous lyrics: “humiliating”, “bondage”, “rapacity”, “subjugate”, “cynical”, “malice”, “neo-colonialism”, “resisted”, “sweat”, “blood”, “acquisition”, “death”, “conquer”, “revolution” (x2), “firearms”, “flame”, “fetters”, “polluting”, “exploitation”, “injustice”.
Notes: Most depressing anthem in all of Africa combines weird sadomasochistic imagery with hardcore Marxist jargon.

Country: Burundi
Dangerous lyrics: “wounded”, “bruised”, “shield”.
Notes: Actually a pretty positive, progressive, decent anthem, but contains unlikely wish that the country’s name “ring out through the universe”.

Country: Cameroon
Dangerous lyrics: “tears”, “blood”, “sweat”.
Notes: Generally a pretty pacific anthem, and the only one which urges “regret for errors of the past” — or, in fact, even admits the possibility of errors.

Country: Cape Verde
Dangerous lyrics: “sweat”, “pain”, “struggle”.
Notes: Many, many references to fruit.

Country: Central African Republic
Dangerous lyrics: “subjugated”, “scorned”, “reconquer”, “poverty”, “tyranny”.
Notes: For a song that starts out “Oh, Central Africa! Cradle of the Bantu!”, this anthem feels pretty sorry for itself.

Country: Chad
Dangerous lyrics: “conquered”.
Notes: Actually not that bad (conquest reference is to soil). Does, however, contain rather cocky line “May your neighbors admire your children”.

Country: Comoros
Dangerous lyrics: “blood”.
Notes: In the anthem, the country is called Comoria. What’s the story, island nation?

Country: Congolese Republic
Dangerous lyrics: “fight”, “die”.
Notes: Last verse ends with existential “If we have to die, what does it really matter?”

Country: Congolese Democratic Republic
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Very forward-looking anthem for a country that was until recently ruled by one of the most brutal dictators in African history.

Country: Djibouti
Dangerous lyrics: “thirst”, “pain”, “blood”.
Notes: Lyrics appear to be in praise of Djibouti’s flag, but damn with faint praise: “The flag which has cost us dear with extremes of thirst and pain”.

Country: Egypt
Dangerous lyrics: “foe”, “war”, “we give our lives for thy sake”.
Notes: Contains thirty-six repetitions of the word “homeland”.

Country: Equatorial Guinea
Dangerous lyrics: “Behind us are two centuries of colonial domination”.
Notes: Unfortunately, not much here to distinguish the anthem from those of all the other Guineas on the continent.

Country: Ethiopia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Bizarrely overwritten song contains awkward lines like “Respect for citizenship is strong in our Ethiopia” and “Firm in foundation, we do not dismiss humanness”.

Country: Eritrea
Dangerous lyrics: “oppressed”, “vindicated”, “sacrifice”.
Notes: One of the newest nations on the continent is obviously feeling a bit defensive, as anthem opens “Eritrea, Eritrea, Eritrea/her enemy decimated”.

Country: Gabon
Dangerous lyrics: “perfidious”. (Use of “warfare” and “hatred” are negative references.)
Notes: Only anthem which urges the banishment of sorcerers.

Country: Gambia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Terribly written anthem with lyrics of pure doggerel, but at least it’s non-violent. “Adapted from the traditional Mandinka song ‘Foday Kaba Dumbuya’ by Jeremy Frederick Howe”.

Country: Ghana
Dangerous lyrics: “strong” (x2), “defend”, “oppressors”, “might”, “arms”, “strength”.
Notes: Reference in last verse to “Black Star” indicates the flag of Ghana, not the rap group featuring Mos Def and Talib Kweli.

Country: Guinea
Dangerous lyrics: “died”.
Notes: Lyrics seem to imply somewhat boastfully that all of Africa was freed by the efforts of the Guineans.

Country: Guinea Bissau
Dangerous lyrics: “sweat”, “pain”, “struggle”.
Notes: For some reason, Guinea Bissau appears to have the exact same anthem as Cape Verde.

Country: Ivory Coast
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Extremely polite national anthem speaks of the importance of setting a good example for the rest of the countries nearby, and describes the Ivory Coast as the “country of hospitality”.

Country: Kenya
Dangerous lyrics: “shield”, “defend”.
Notes: With lyric “service be our earnest endeavor”, anthem writer seemed to wish lifetime of catering to obnoxious tourist safaris on his brethren.

Country: Liberia
Dangerous lyrics: “strong”, “defending”, “benighted”.
Notes: Contains lyrics “Green be her fame”, whatever that means.

Country: Lesotho
Dangerous lyrics: “conflict”, “tribulations”.
Notes: Napoleon complex of tiny nation evident in line “Lesotho, land of our fathers, you are the most beautiful country of all.”

Country: Libya
Dangerous lyrics: “plots”, “aggressors” (x2), “oppressed”, “weapons”, “defend”, “enemy”, “army”, “destroy” (x2), “gun”, “repulse”, “killed”, “kill”, “woe”, “treacherous”.
Notes: One of Africa’s most violent anthems ends with the lines “seize the forehead of the tyrant/and destroy him!”.

Country: Madagascar
Dangerous lyrics: “decay”.
Notes: Mentions God an awful lot.

Country: Malawi
Dangerous lyrics: “hunger”, “disease”, “envy”, “enemy”, “war”.
Note: Middle passage of anthem, with florid nature imagery and reference to “refreshing mountain air”, is eerily reminiscent of an air freshener commercial.

Country: Mali
Dangerous lyrics: “enemy”, “die”, “ramparts”, “fight”, “march”.
Notes: Odd blend of militance and progressivism urges “happiness through effort”.

Country: Mauritius
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Short, inoffensive and boring, but at least it has lyrics, unlike the anthem of similarly named Mauritania.

Country: Morocco
Dangerous lyrics: “blood”, “fire”, “champion”.
Notes: Song claims that the wind in Morocco stirs up the fire in one’s mouth.

Country: Mozambique
Dangerous lyrics: “gun”, “struggle”, “imperialism”, “fight”, “struggling”, “exploitation”, “tomb”.
Notes: Makes a big deal against struggling against the bourgeoise. Only African anthem to specifically mention a political party (FRELIMO).

Country: Namibia
Dangerous lyrics: “fight”, “blood”.
Notes: Violent imagery of anthem unsurprising, given long colonization of country by Germans.

Country: Niger
Dangerous lyrics: “blood”, “armed”, “burning”. (“Slaying with a lust to kill” is preceded by “not”, but still seems problematic.)
Notes: Lyrics point out the difficulty of confronting “ferocious and treacherous animals” with hardly any weapons.

Country: Nigeria
Dangerous lyrics: “obey”.
Notes: Strangely, has line reading “help our youth the truth to know” rather than much snappier “help our youth to know the truth”.

Country: Rwanda
Dangerous lyrics: unknown, since I was unable to find a translation of the lyrics, but “rukaduhuza” sounds pretty suspect.
Notes: I feel certain that the translated anthem contains references to slaughtering thousands of your countrymen with machetes.

Country: Sao Tome & Principe
Dangerous lyrics: “warriors”, “war”, “weapons”, “flame”, “combat”, “struggling” (x2), “conquering”, “crusade”, “peril”.
Notes: Anthem brags that Sao Tome & Principe is “the happiest nation on earth” and talks awfully tough for a little island with only 150,000 people on it. Also is only anthem to repeatedly use the word “dynamism”.

Country: Senegal
Dangerous lyrics: “gloom”, “terrors”, “sword” (x2), “hatred”, “weapons”, “violates”, “evil”, “death”.
Notes: Song begins with reference to mysterious red lion, then becomes confusingly sexual with lines like “tamer of the bush”, “gather the chicks”, and “we are a straight people”.

Country: Seychelles
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: The least objectionable of all African national anthems.

Country: Sierra Leone
Dangerous lyrics: “might”, “right” (they rhyme!)
Notes: Generally unobjectionable; claims with slight tone of resentment that the people do all the work and the nation gets the glory.

Country: South Africa
Dangerous lyrics: “wars”, “strife”.
Notes: Only anthem encountered which makes reference to “echoing crags”.

Country: Sudan
Dangerous lyrics: “death”, “hardship”, “pain”, “we give our lives as the price of glory”.
Notes: Current volatile situation in Darfur no surprise in a country whose anthem features “We are the army of God” in its first line.

Country: Swaziland
Dangerous lyrics: none (“deceit” and “malice” used negatively).
Notes: Lyrics totally suck up to the king.

Country: Tanzania
Dangerous lyrics: “shield”.
Notes: Extremely simple national anthem which reads like it was written by a six-year-old.

Country: Togo
Dangerous lyrics: “struggle”, “death”, “burning”, “treachery”.
Notes: Contains upsetting line “Victory or death — but dignity”.

Country: Tunisia
Dangerous lyrics: “defenders”, “blood”, “fire, “die” (x2), “might”, “traitors”, “defend”, “death”.
Notes: A typical national anthem insofar as it suggests that the sole purpose of its citizens is to line up and die happily for the glory of the country. Contains angry meteorological couplet “Let the heavens roar with thunder/let the thunderbolts rain with fire”.

Country: Uganda
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Surprisingly, song does not mention at any point Idi Amin Dada having his enemies slaughtered and then eating them.

Country: Zambia
Dangerous lyrics: “struggle”, “fight”.
Notes: Best line: “Zambia, Zambia, Zambia!”

Country: Zimbabwe
Dangerous lyrics: “We praise our heroes’ sacrifice/and vow to keep our land safe from foes”.
Notes: Song features exhortation “May our leaders be exemplary” and rather desperate-sounding pleas for rain.


Country: Antigua & Barbados
Dangerous lyrics: “danger”, “fear”, “hate”, “poverty”, “battle”.
Notes: Anthem contains injunction to gird one’s loins.

Country: Argentina
Dangerous lyrics: “mortal”, “chains”, “die”.
Notes: After a mind-numbing repetition of the phrase “We salute the proud peoples of Argentina”, song ends with typical exhortation to defend nation or die in the process.

Country: Bahamas
Dangerous lyrics: “march” (x3), “treacherous”.
Notes: Line “See how the world marks the manner of your bearing” and plea to hold one’s head up high suggests the Bahamas are a sort of sovereign finishing school.

Country: Barbados
Dangerous lyrics: “wanton”.
Notes: Aside from graphic image of forefathers “sowing seed”, a generally harmless one.

Country: Belize
Dangerous lyrics: “tyrants” (x2), “despot” (x2), “blood”, “slavery”, “oppression”, “armor”, “invader”.
Notes: First verse of this ultra-violent and homoerotic anthem contains reference to “oppression’s rod”, declaration that “our manhood we pledge” to liberty, and curious but heartfelt desire that “no longer shall we be hewers of wood”.

Country: Bolivia
Dangerous lyrics: “longings”, “servile”, “martial”, “horrible”, “clamor”, “war”, “die” (x4), “slaves” (x3), “humiliated”, “warriors”.
Notes: Contains no less than three iterations of the notion that a Bolivian would like nothing better than the chance to be horribly slaughtered rather than surrender to invaders.

Country: Brazil
Dangerous lyrics: “die”, “death”, “fight”, “cudgel”.
Notes: Undoubtedly the most flowery national anthem, with lots of three-dollar words like “placid”, “bosom”, “limpid”, “resplendent”, “intrepid”, “colossus”, “idolized”, and “fleuron”.

Country: Canada
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: One of the best anthems going, though I am assured that the French version is a lot loopier and contains lines like “soaked in faith”.

Country: Colombia
Dangerous lyrics:  “fear”, “painful”, “invincible”, “groaning”, “chains”, “died”, “blood”.
Notes: Contains reference to “bathing in blood”, but, surprisingly, not in the context of cocaine trafficking.

Country: Costa Rica
Dangerous lyrics:  “battle”, “weapons”.
Notes: High point is machismo-soaked sequence “If anyone should attempt the besmirch your glory/you will see your people, valiant and virile/exchange their rustic tools for weapons”. Second national anthem so far to contain the word “limpid”.

Country: Cuba
Dangerous lyrics: “battle” (x2), “death”, “die”, “chains”, “dishonor”, “ignominy”.
Notes: Violent imagery less surprising than total lack of Marxist rhetoric.

Country: Dominica
Dangerous lyrics: “fear”.
Notes: Actually one of the nicest anthems yet encountered, lyrically speaking; ends with mousquetarian “All for each and each for all!”

Country: Dominican Republic
Dangerous lyrics: “invincible”, “war”, “death” (x2), “warlike”, “deadly”, “menace”, “chains”, “slavery”, “indolent”, “servile”, “slave”, “indomitable”, “enslaved”, “virile”.
Notes: Even more sobering when you consider that 60 years ago, they were singing this song about us.

Country: Ecuador
Dangerous lyrics: “blood” (x2), “sacrifice”.
Notes: Appearance of the word “breast” slightly distracts you from yet another numbing repetition of the ‘we’re all super-eager to die for our country’ theme.

Country: El Salvador
Dangerous lyrics: “stern”, “vile”, “disloyalty”, “blood”, “hateful”, “atrocious”, “tyranny”, “bloody”, “Spartan”, “self-denying”, “infamous”, “intrigue”, “battle” (x2).
Notes: Exceptionally grim anthem containing depressing line “Her history is bloody and sad”.

Country: Grenada
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: An anthem so completely harmless that it just further shows what a joke Reagan’s invasion of the country was.

Country: Guatemala
Dangerous lyrics: “profaned”, “cruel”, “slaves”, “submit”, “yoke”, “tyrants”, “deride”, “foreign invasion”, “conquer or die”.
Notes: Almost all the above words are used in a negative sense, but still.

Country: Guayana
Dangerous lyrics: “bones”, “sacrifice”, “bondsmen”.
Notes: One assumes the reference to “those who laid their bones on your shores” is not to Jonestown.

Country: Haiti
Dangerous lyrics: “march”, “traitors”, “toil” (x2), “die” (x2).
Notes: Given that Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, it is not shocking that the line “To die is a fine thing!” occurs twice.

Country: Honduras
Dangerous lyrics: “death”, “die” (x2).
Notes: Extremely pornographic middle passage compares founding of the country to despoiling of an Indian maiden approached while sleeping by a sailor who proceeded to kiss the hem of her skirt.

Country: Jamaica
Dangerous lyrics: “evil”.
Notes: Stoners throughout America will be shocked to discover national anthem of Jamaica is not “One Love”.

Country: Mexico
Dangerous lyrics: “war” (x8), “sword”, “cannon” (x2), “tremble”, “profane”, “enemy”, “soldier”, “blemish”, “blood” (x5), “terrifying”, “yokes”, “armed”, “necks”, “trample”, “horrid”, “ruins”, “warlike”, “battle”, “tomb”, “give their last breath”.
Notes: One of the most demented, bloodthirsty anthems going, as evidenced by raucous singing of this gory anthem all this week during the Mexican Independence Day celebrations.

Country: Nicaragua
Dangerous lyrics: “cannon”, “blood” (x2), “stain” (x2).
Notes: Not as bad as it sounds, though still pretty bad. Looks better in comparison to Mexico.

Country: Panama
Dangerous lyrics: “warlike”, “hammer”.
Notes: Sounds a lot better coming out of Van Halen.

Country: Paraguay
Dangerous lyrics: “oppressed”, “unhappy”, “anger”, “fighting”, “martial”, “shattered”, “death”, “tyrants”, “slaves”.
Notes: Predictable combination of bloodthirsty and depressing, closing with a chorus that begins “Paraguayans, republic or death!”

Country: Peru
Dangerous lyrics: “oppressed”, “ominous”, “chain”, “cruel”, “serfdom”, “solemn”, “moaned”, “indolence”, “slave”, “humiliated”.
Notes: This is the legacy of imperialism: anthem after anthem of morbid, gloomy, whiny lyrics.

Country: St. Kitts & Nevis
Dangerous lyrics: “strength”, “struggle”, “sword”, “spear”.
Notes: Dude, lighten up. You’re St. Kitts & Nevis.

Country: St. Lucia
Dangerous lyrics: “strife”, “battled”, “discord”, “toil”, “woe”, “harm”, “arms”.
Notes: St. Lucia is a tourist paradise, and it’s got an even more lamentable, depressing anthem than St. Kitts.

Country: St. Vincent & the Grenadines
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Finally, a tropical island with an anthem that reads like a vacation brochure. Other countries could take a lesson from St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Country: Suriname
Dangerous lyrics: “fight” (x2), “death”.
Note: Suriname sounds like it should be in Asia, and the lyrics seem to reflect this sense of geographical confusion, with the resigned, baffled-sounding line “Wherever our ancestors came from, we should take care of our country”.

Country: Trinidad & Tobago
Dangerous lyrics: “fires”.
Notes: Touching pleas for racial harmony seem out of place in the blood-and-death-soaked imagery of most American anthems.

Country: Uruguay
Dangerous lyrics: “tomb”, “die”, “inflaming”, “fight”, “cry”, “dying”, “tyrants”, “tremble”.
Notes: Wins the America’s Cup for most boring repetition of claim that all citizens will be butchered fighting for the freedom of the homeland; contains lines “Let tyrants tremble” five times, “in dying, we cry for (freedom)” five times, and variant on ‘freedom or death’ three times in the first verse alone.

Country: United States of America
Dangerous lyrics: “perilous”, “fight”, “ramparts”, “rockets”, “bombs”, “foe”, “dread”, “war”, “desolation”, “conquer”.
Notes: Americans who have long lamented the multitude of violent imagery in their anthem can at least rest easy know that it’s not as bad as Mexico.

Country: Venezuela
Dangerous lyrics: “yoke”, “chains” (x2), “trembled”, “vile”, “selfishness”, “hovel”, “oppression”, “tyranny”, “bonds”.
Notes: Contains lines “Let’s cry out loud/down with oppression!”, which it’s hard not to picture being sung by James Brown.


Country: Albania
Dangerous lyrics: “battle” (x2), “enemies” (x2), “dying”.
Notes: Another typical let’s-all-die-for-the-fatherland number, albeit not as fiery as you might expect given that it’s Albania and all.

Country: Andorra
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Song is actually a tedious mini-history of the tiny country; first line contains reference to being “liberated from the Saracens”.

Country: Austria
Dangerous lyrics: “fought”, “contested”, “burdened”, “tried” (as in ‘tested; x2).
Notes: Refers to Austria as “the land of hammers”.

Country: Belgium
Dangerous lyrics: “arms”, “blood”, “invincible”, “immortal”.
Notes: The Nazis didn’t think they were all that invincible.

Country: Bulgaria
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: The Bulgurs, who have a rep as one of the most bad-ass people on the continent, actually have a very peaceful, lovely anthem. Real threats don’t speak.

Country: Croatia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: The singer calls the country “dear” four times in a row, making the anthem read as if it was written by a henpecked husband.

Country: Cyprus
Dangerous lyrics: “dreadful”, “sword”, “dying”.
Notes: Song mentions Greeks. Song pointedly does not mention Turks.

Country: Czech Republic
Dangerous lyrics: “a strength that frustrates all defiance”.
Notes: Begins with repeated line “Where is my home?”, but it turns out this is rhetorical. Second anthem to mention crags; says Czechs have “tender souls in agile frames”.

Country: Denmark
Dangerous lyrics: “fray” (x2), “foes”, “bones”, “mettle”.
Notes: Extremely Viking. Mentions how hot Danish women are.

Country: Estonia
Dangerous lyrics: “death”, “defend”, “shield”, “toil”.
Notes: Touching cradle-to-grave lullaby imagery. Aaaaaaw, Estonia!

Country: Finland
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Only national anthem containing the word “grope”.

Country: France
Dangerous lyrics: “tyranny”, “bloody” (x2), “howling”, “soldiers” (x2), “fearsome”, “cut the throats of your sons and consorts”, “arms” (x3), “battalion”, “march” (x2), “blood”, “horde”, “slaves”, “conspiratorial”, “traitors” (x2), “vile” (x2), “chains”, “irons”, “outrage”, “slavery”, “foreign cohorts”, “phalanx”, “mercenary”, “cut down”, “chained”, “warrior”, “yield”, “yoke”, “despots” (x2), “tremble” (x2), “tyrants”, “shame”, “parricidal”, “schemes”, “blows”, “fall”, “fight”, “warriors”, “sad”, “regret”, “accomplices”, “tigers”, “pitilessly ripping open their mother’s breasts”, “pit”, “ashes”, “jealous”, “coffins”, “avenging” (x2), “defenders”, “manly”, “force”, “death”, “enemies”, “triumph”.
Notes: Without question the most batshit national anthem from beginning to end.

Country: Germany
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Germany used to have a slightly more aggressive national anthem, but it fell out of favor around 1946.

Country: Greece
Dangerous lyrics: “dreadful”, “sword”, “dying”.
Notes: Same national anthem as Cyprus. TOTAL RIP!

Country: Hungary
Dangerous lyrics: “fight”, “misfortune”.
Notes: Highfalutin Hungarians stuck the word “expiated” in their national anthem.

Country: Iceland
Dangerous lyrics: “warriors”, “tear” (x2), “dies”.
Notes: Song claims that the entire solar system makes a wreath for Iceland. Actually reads like Björk lyrics.

Country: Ireland
Dangerous lyrics: “soldiers” (x2), “despot”, “slave”, “danger”, “woe”, “cannons”, “rifles”.
Notes: Okay, it’s a turbulent country, and yeah, there’s a lot of violent imagery, but, you know, it could be worse, considering. It could be France.

Country: Italy
Dangerous lyrics: “helmet”, “slave”, “die” (x2).
Notes: Italy is referred to as “the slave of Rome” in a positive way.

Country: Latvia
Dangerous lyrics: none (“harm” is used twice, but in a negative sense).
Notes: Boasts of the attractiveness of Latvian women (take that, Denmark!) and the singing ability of Latvian men.

Country: Liechtenstein
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Very mellow anthem. You probably don’t want to start any shit when there are only four people in your country.

Country: Lithuania
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: This one sounds like it’s going to veer into ‘we stand ready to have our heads ripped off our necks for the glory of the fatherland’ territory, but never quite does.

Country: Luxembourg
Dangerous lyrics: “foreign”, “yoke”, “threat”.
Notes: Gets its priorities straight right off the bat with line “the sky promises us wine”. Yet another reference to crags.

Country: Macedonia
Dangerous lyrics: “fight” (x2).
Notes: Ends with redundant lyric “Free Macedonia lives free”.

Country: Malta
Dangerous lyrics: “strength”.
Notes: Highly Catholic country’s anthem does a lot of kissing up to God.

Country: Moldova
Dangerous lyrics: “chain”, “burning”, “flame”, “deathly”, “striking”, “dark”, “bitter”, “cries”, “poor”, “shudder”, “tremble”, “moan”, “wept”, “filth”, “mold”.
Notes: Very strange anthem all about tongue. Tongue is compared to treasure, leaves and fire, and said to be made of bread and songs.

Country: Monaco
Dangerous lyrics: “march” (x2), “slave”, “tyrants” (x2), “die”, “fight” (x2).
Notes: Condescendingly sneers “Your sovereign is better liked than a king”.

Country: Netherlands
Dangerous lyrics: “death”, “shield”, “wounds”, “tyranny”.
Note: Song pays fealty to Germany and swears allegiance to Spain. No mention made of loyalty to the Netherlands.

Country: Norway
Dangerous lyrics: “dark”, “fought”, “cried” (x2), “distress”.
Notes: Anthem ends with somewhat confusing exhortation of willingness to “strike a blow for peace”.

Country: Poland
Dangerous lyrics: “succumbed”, “foe”, “force”, “seized”, “sword”, “march” (x3), “fighting”.
Notes: I’m willing to forgive the imagery since Poland has been invaded about sixty thousand times, but the implication that Napoleon will help save the country seems like wishful thinking.

Country: Portugal
Dangerous lyrics: “immortal”, “arms” (x5), “enemy”, “guns”, “unconquerable”, “conquering”, “arms”, “perished”, “cry”, “insult”, “insults”.
Notes: Anthem proudly salutes Portugal’s glorious history of imperialism.

Country: Romania
Dangerous lyrics: “deadly”, “barbaric”, “tyrants”, “force”, “cruel”, “blood”, “weapons”, “fire”, “dying”, “shouting”, “die” (x2), “slaves”.
Notes: Now that’s a third-world-style anthem! Loses points for abandoning crazy Marxist rhetoric for crazy Christian rhetoric, but still an exciting, bloody contrast to boring anthems of non-French portions of Europe.

Country: Russia
Dangerous lyrics: “force”, “might”.
Notes: Not as snappy as the old Soviet national anthem, and contains many confusing lines that are certainly robo-translated, like “Russia! Favorite our country!” and “One you on light! One you such/Native land stored by the God!”.

Country: Serbia
Dangerous lyrics: “vain” (x2).
Notes: True to its modern history, Serbia’s national anthem contains lots of lyrics not conducive to joy and level-headedness, including mentions of “the abyss of hell”, and ends with the shouted threat “The traitor of his homeland be damned!”.

Country: Slovakia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Lyrics have to do with thunder and lighting encouraging Slovakia to come to life, which conjures strange living-dead/Frankenstein imagery. Seems to be trying really hard to distinguish itself from the Czech Republic.

Country: Slovenia
Dangerous lyrics: “strife”, “enemies” (although these are used in a negative sense).
Notes: First verse is a celebration of getting drunk.

Country: Sweden
Dangerous lyrics: “die” (x2).
Notes: Generally untroubled song, especially by the crazy-ass Nordic standards of most anthems of this region.

Country: Switzerland
Dangerous lyrics: “surrender”, “gloom”.
Notes: Not too much gore here, as might be expected from a famously neutral country. Lyrics are written in six languages.

Country: United Kingdom
Dangerous lyrics: “reign”, “enemies”, “fall”, “foe”, “assassins”, “defend”.
Notes: Only anthem to mention assassins. Contains enjoyably nasty lines “Scatter our enemies and make them fall/confound their knavish tricks/confuse their politics”.

Country: Ukraine
Dangerous lyrics: “died”, “sneer” (x2), “enemies” (x2), “die”, “fight”, “bloody”, “forcible”, “black”.
Notes: In the spirit of increasing pacifist imagery in national anthems, I would like to suggest that the new anthem of the Ukraine be “L’Chaim!” from Fiddler on the Roof.

Country: Vatican City
Dangerous lyrics: “immortal” (x2), “martyrs”, “fight”, “force”, “terror”, “hate”, “shame”.
Notes: The Vatican is basically a building with like 300 people in it, and even it comes gangsta in its national anthem.


Country: Afghanistan
Dangerous lyrics: “fortress”, “Aryans”, “warriors”, “arrow”, “jihad”, “shackles”, “suppression”, “oppressed”, “torch”.
Notes: Boy, who would have guessed this place would turn out to be such trouble?

Country: Armenia
Dangerous lyrics: “foe”, “death”, “die” (x3).
Notes: A pretty grim one, including line about the flag being “bathed in my tears”, but they did have that genocide and all.

Country: Azerbaijan
Dangerous lyrics: “die”, “blood”, “defend” (x2), “sacrifice our lives” (x2), “battles”, “soldier”, “fighting”.
Notes: Another off-the-rack ready-to-die number, containing the lines “we will die so that you might be alive”, “thousands of people sacrificed their lives”, AND “we make sacrifice, our lives for you” in only two verses.

Country: Bahrain
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Another self-described “country of hospitality”, with the additional bourgeois-comforting claim of being the “land of security”.

Country: Bangladesh
Dangerous lyrics: “sadness”, “gloom”.
Notes: Depressing lyrics no surprise for a country that gets hit by a national disaster every fifteen seconds. Extraordinarily beautiful, poetic lyrics that are almost a bit erotic, suggesting that the Bangladeshis want to fuck their country the way it has so often fucked them.

Country: Bhutan
Dangerous lyrics: “protector”, “dominion”.
Notes: Whole anthem has an awesome kung fu vibe to it, beginning with the description of Bhutan as “the thunder dragon kingdom”.

Country: Brunei
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Song really kisses ass to the sultan, probably because he has more money than God’s tax lawyers.

Country: Cambodia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Notes that “the Khmer race is eternal” despite the best efforts of Pol Pot; disturbing monomaniacal references to the king as “the one being” who will “reign over our souls and our destinies”.

Country: China
Dangerous lyrics: “slaves”, “flesh”, “blood”, “danger”, “fire”, “urgent”, “enemies (x2), “march” (x4).
Notes: A fine example of old-school over-the-top Marxist rhetoric. They don’t write ’em like this anymore.

Country: East Timor
Dangerous lyrics: “liberation”, “colonialism”, “imperialism” (x2), “enemy”, “revolution”.
Notes: Contains lyrics “Free land”/”no, no, no to exploitation”, suggesting anthem was written to fit on placard at peace march.

Country: Georgia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: “My icon is my motherland”. Mine is Orlando Bloom as Legolas, kissing a guy!

Country: India
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Actually a very postitive, from-the-many-one message, but first verse consists almost entirely of unpronounceable place names.

Country: Indonesia
Dangerous lyrics: “guard”, “bodies”, “relic”.
Notes: Boastful second verse calls Indonesia both “an eminent country” and “a wealthy country” and says “we will be there forever”.

Country: Iran
Dangerous lyrics: “martyrs”, “cries”, “pain”.
Notes: Gives European nations a run for their money in the heavy-handed religious imagery department.

Country: Iraq
Dangerous lyrics: “die”, “death”, “slaves”, “enemies” (x2), “humiliation”, “miserable”, “sword”, “quarreling”, “victorious”.
Notes: Amazingly, these were the lyrics adopted after the American invasion in 2003.

Country: Israel
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Line “the soul of the Jew yearns” not followed by line “to kick a Pali’s teeth out”.

Country: Japan
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Very short and uncontroversial anthem voices desire for emperor to reign until tiny pebble grows into huge moss-covered mountain.

Country: Jordan
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Another four-line anthem wishing for glory on the king. Asians obviously don’t know how to write bombastic, lurid-sounding anthems like we do in the west.

Country: Kazakhstan
Dangerous lyrics: “sacrificed”, “kicks”, “hell’s fire”, “evil”.
Notes: Not quite Soviet-level craziness, but a pretty good try, especially reference to “surviving the kicks of fate” and how the country “respects mothers and the genius of the people”.

Country: Kyrgyzstan
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Anthem makes reference to how their forefathers were “always saving the motherland” in the aggrieved tone of someone who always gets stuck taking the trash out.

Country: Kuwait
Dangerous lyrics: none (reference to “fencing” is meant in sense of enclosure, not swordfighting).
Notes: Song predicts that in the future, people will look back on Kuwait and say “Those Arabs were heavenly!”.

Country: Laos
Dangerous lyrics: “master”, “imperialists”, “traitors”, “harm”, “struggle”.
Notes: Laos tries to be a crazy-ass anti-imperialist nut anthem, but they just don’t have the gumption of their African brethren.

Country: Lebanon
Dangerous lyrics: “In the day of crisis, they shall be as lions of the jungle”.
Notes: Another great boasting song, this one claims “our writings and our valor are the envy of the ages” and calls attention to how macho the Lebanese men are.

Country: Malaysia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Yet another short, progressive, king-praising anthem with no grist for my mockery mill. I started this trying to make the point that more anthems should be mellow and positive, but now I long for the bugfuck craziness of France and Mexico.

Country: Maldives
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Song does not contain useful instructions on how to find the Maldives on a map.

Country: Mongolia
Dangerous lyrics: “revolutionary”, “enemy”, “defeat”, “will”, “might”, “defeated”.
Notes: You expect a little more from the homeland of Genghis Khan, but by the anemic standards of Asia, this one is dynamite.

Country: Myanmar
Dangerous lyrics: “fight”, “give our lives”.
Notes: Myanmar is a military dictatorship, which is probably why their anthem reflects the standard notion that the whole idea of having a country is to die for it.

Country: Nepal
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Short, inoffensive, hopes the king will live forever and have a thousand children. Asian national anthems in a nutshell.

Country: North Korea
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: You see what I mean? North Korea is a fucking Stalinist dictatorship, a nuclear power run by the craziest world leader since Emperor Norton, and the best their anthem can do is “Let us devote our bodies and minds to supporting this Korea forever”. Where’s the references to cut throats and broken necks, for corn’s sake?

Country: Oman
Dangerous lyrics: “For him (the Sultan) we shall lay down our lives” (x2).
Notes: More kissing up to the monarch, but at least the Omani are willing to die for the leech who runs the joint.

Country: Pakistan
Dangerous lyrics: “ambition”.
Notes: You might think that after Mussharef took over in a military coup, he’d jazz up the old anthem with a line like “Watch the fuck out, India!” or “Hey, western world! We have nukes!”. But no.

Country: Phillipines
Dangerous lyrics: “burning”, “invaders”, “trample”, “tyrants”, “suffer”, “die”.
Notes: Last verse perfectly captures the tone of so many anthems when it admits that sure, the land is beautiful and perfect and it’s an honor to live there in peace, but what’s really awesome is when someone harms it so the people can fight and die on its behalf.

Country: Saudi Arabia
Dangerous lyrics: “supremacy”.
Note: The land of my father is the most fanatically Muslim of all countries in the middle east, but its anthem is still more what you’d call cocky than actually crazy.

Country: Singapore
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Progressive and slightly capitalist-sounding. Contains no injunctions against gum-chewing.

Country: South Korea
Dangerous lyrics: “armor”, “strength”, “tempest”, “danger”.
Notes: Oddly, slightly more aggressive than North Korea’s anthem, but still contains reference to country being “bedecked with flowers”.

Country: Sri Lanka
Dangerous lyrics: “strength”, “liberation”, “ill will”, “hatred”, “strife”, “bondage”, “mighty”.
Notes: It seems like this one does okay (they have a sword on their flag, after all), but most of the above lyrics are used in a negative sense.

Country: Syria
Dangerous lyrics: “defenders”, “subdued”, “inviolable”.
Notes: Overbearing bad-ass Islamic references in first verse give way to curiously hedge-betting final verse: song compares the people of Syria to a million suns who become “another sky, or almost a sky”.

Country: Thailand
Dangerous lyrics: “blood” (x2), “cowards”, “war”, “rob”, “tyranny”.
Notes: Despite lack of references to kickboxing proficiency, this is actually a pretty bad-dude anthem, from threatening “Every inch of Thailand belongs to the Thais” to suicidal “Every Thai is ready to give up every drop of blood”.

Country: Turkey
Dangerous lyrics: “fear”, “dismayed”, “burning”, “fail”, “frown”, “die”, “anger”, “blood”.
Notes: Contains line “I am ready to die for you”, although Cypriots and Armenians might suggest an alteration.

Country:  Turkmenistan
Dangerous lyrics: “immortal”, “blood”, “suffers”, “angrily”, “blinded”.
Notes: The only version of this song I could find in English appears to be badly translated, so I’m assuming it doesn’t actually say that “sons will put their heads in the native fireplace”.

Country: Uzbekistan
Dangerous lyrics: “manly”, “mighty”.
Notes: The Uzbeks have a reputation as troublemaking tough guys, but this anthem is all pretty boilerplate golden-rolling-fields-of-the-motherland stuff.

Country: Vietnam
Dangerous lyrics: “soldiers”, “arduous”, “blood”, “guns”, “hardships”, “resistance”, “bodies”, “struggle” (x2), “battlefield” (x2), “strong” (x2), “misery”, “suffering”, “fight”, “chains”, “hatred”, “sacrifices”.
Notes: Now we’re talking! A stone crazy bit of Soviet-style ultraviolent nationalism. No wonder they won the war! The only anthem I know of that actively encourages more hatred.

Country: Yemen
Dangerous lyrics: “martyr”, “foreigner”, “dominate”.
Notes: Again, less nuts than it could have been, especially given the line “An Arab I am in all my life”, always a prescription for trouble.


Country: Australia
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Anthem is titled “Advance, Australia Fair” and is pretty wimpy for such a macho nation.

Country: Fiji
Dangerous lyrics: “defend”, “march” (x2), “befall”.
Notes: Nothing particularly noteworthy here except that it’s fun to say “Fiji” over and over a bunch of times.

Country: Kiribati
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: No offensive content, but the song reads like a series of clumsily worded propaganda slogans: “Prepare to accept responsibility and help each other! Be steadfastly righteous! Love all our people!”.

Country: Marshall Islands
Dangerous lyrics: none.
Notes: Anthems of tiny Pacific island nations are, if anything even less hostile than those of Asia.

Country: Micronesia
Dangerous lyrics: “separate”, “stronger” (x2), “ruled”, “guardian”.
Notes: Actually not that bad, but still plays pretty tough for a country with ‘micro’ in its name.

Country: Nauru
Dangerous Lyrics: none.
Notes: A real snoozer of a by-the-numbers anthem, and the reason is revealed in the credits: “Lyrics written collectively”.

Country: New Zealand
Dangerous Lyrics: “bonds”, “defend” (x2), “strife”, “war” (x2), “dissention”, “envy”, “hate”, “corruption”, “foes”, “assail”, “mighty”, “defend” (x9), “battles, “might”, “enemies”, “dishonor”, “shame”, “immortal”, “ramparts”.
Notes: Whoah! Look out. New Zealand, I’m scared of you!

Country: Palau
Dangerous Lyrics: “strength”, “power”, “secure”.
Notes: Lyrical reference to “glowing, floating light” may be inspired by nearby A-bomb tests.

Country: Papua New Guinea
Dangerous Lyrics: none.
Notes: I think there’s only about eighteen people in New Guinea who aren’t hunter-gatherer tribes or anthropologists studying hunter-gatherer tribes, so it’s surprising they even have a national anthem.

Country: Solomon Islands
Dangerous Lyrics: “protecting”.
Notes: Come on, Oceania! Give me something! “Protecting”? That’s all you got? Look at New Zealand! They’re not afraid to seem crazy!

Country: Tonga
Dangerous Lyrics: “defense”.
Notes: Downright Asian in its determination not to offend and to suck up to the ruling monarch.

Country: Tuvalu
Dangerous Lyrics: “almighty”, “rules”, “strength”.
Notes: Another one that embarrassingly sucks up to the king, although in this case the king is God.

Country: Vanuatu
Dangerous Lyrics: none.
Notes: Relentlessly cheerful anthem with hooky chorus “We are happy to proclaim we are the people of Vanuatu!”

Country: Samoa
Dangerous Lyrics: Sadly, since they’re the last country in this survey, none.
Notes: For a country that produced so many evil wrestlers, they sure have a passive-sounding anthem.

4 SHOTS LICKED so far.

  1. Jean-Paul
    08/08/2013 at 11:31 PM

    I am always amazed that baseball and hockey games here start by the Americans waving their dick in our face about the war of 1812.

  2. Margot
    08/09/2013 at 10:56 AM

    It’s not a national anthem, but I’ve always enjoyed the Maryland state song (to the tune of “O Christmas Tree”) which has lines like, “Avenge the patriotic gore that flecked the streets of Baltimore” and “Huzzah, she spurns the Northern scum!” (

  3. Matt Drake
    08/09/2013 at 7:27 PM

    I wonder how many people started reading this list and said, ‘those cannot be the real lyrics’ before looking them up and saying, ‘holy shitsnacks, those are the real lyrics’ and then gasping in awe at how much work must have gone into writing this article.

    Whatever that number was before I got here, you can add one to it now.

  4. Patrick Giasson
    01/25/2016 at 2:49 PM

    Why are you assured that the french version of the National Anthem of Canada is “loopier”?


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