Portfolio of Hope

99 Red Balloons (/99 luftballons- Original German version) is an anti-war protest song that was released in 1983 during the Cold War, by German band ‘Nena.’

It tells the story of a young boy and girl who innocently release 99 balloons into the sky (hence the name of the song)…

Detected on radar and mistaken for either UFO’s or enemy planes, pilots are sent out to investigate. Despite finding nothing but balloons, war breaks out and a holocaust is triggered by the launching of nuclear missiles, thus causing mass destruction and killing lots of people.

You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons with the money we’ve got
Set them free at the break of dawn
‘Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, sparks in the software
Flash the message “Something’s out there”
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

99 red balloons
Floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it’s red alert
There’s something here from somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
The 99 red balloons go by

99 Decision Street
99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we’ve waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The President is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by

99 knights of the air
Ride super high-tech jet fighters
Everyone’s a superhero
Everyone’s a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scrambling the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

As 99 red balloons go by

99 dreams I have had
In every one, a red balloon
It’s all over, and I’m standing pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenir
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you, and let it go

The harmlessness of balloons a juxtaposition against the terrors of war, 99 red balloons offers up a metaphor for the senselessness of war without contemplation, in which there will be no ‘winner’, only irreparable loss…

Loss of life,




A relevant song for these times?

As the young boy and girl in the song just want to release some balloons-

they don’t want to die-

so too do Palestinians just want to release themselves

(from the open air prison that Israel have made of Gaza).

99 red balloons

so too do Palestinians not want to die.

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