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No war, but a war song leads the Israeli charts

A few hours after I read Yuval Ben-Ami’s wonderful post on the long lost gentleness in Israeli culture, I got another reminder of how right he was as I drove my car down to pick up the girls from day care. I was listening to the weekly hit parade on Army Radio, Galgalatz, and it turns out that for the past few weeks, the number one spot has been held by a young bloke of 22 named Idan Amedi, and his tear jerking, uber-plain song called “The Pain of Warriors”.

Amedi was the runner up in the last season of Kochav Nolad (A star is born, the Israeli American Idol), and throughout the show he reminded us of his military background. All combat soldiers in the IDF are not just called soldiers, they’re called “lochamim”, warriors, to differentiate them from those other, regular soldiers who sit behind desks in air-conditioned offices. Amedi himself served in the combat engineering corps, who are not only world renowned for their disarming of mines, but also for driving the huge D9 armored tractors, which usually demolish homes and olive groves, but have also been known to run over the occasional peace activist.

As far as I know, we’re not at war right now. Yes, we’re in a state of war, and always on the verge of war, but you know what I mean – we’re not bombing Gaza, or Beirut or even Tehran. Soldiers aren’t dropping like flies, thank God. Which is why it’s so peculiar to me that this particular song is topping the charts.

Check out the lyrics:

First evening I’m alone,
sitting and writing you a letter
about all the things that were
all that happened exactly

letters show up on the wall
I’m your fear, nice to meet you
the figures enjoy playing
moving in the empty, empty house

And you, you don’t know how hard
I tried to keep it from you
all the nightmares
screams and blood on the uniform
you, you don’t understand how much
I’m not who I was
images appear from that night
tears, and pain of warriors

The blood on the uniform is particularly disturbing. Amedi is too young to have served in the Second Lebanon War. He may have took part in Operation Cast Lead, for all I know – but that one wasn’t too bloody, for Israelis at least. He may have written the song about someone else, too. Who knows, I might be looking into it a bit too much.

But I’m used to war songs coming out when there’s… ummm…. war. So, are Israelis in love with this young warrior and his war song for a reason? Or is it just a simply good song that people like to hum?

Just a thought.

Since the song came out, I’ve seen two parodies of it on Youtube. The first takes a shot at the “lochamim” glorification. This guy sings about the Pain of Jobniks (those guys in the offices), and tell his girlfriend how she doesn’t know that he stole chocolate milk, and about all those terrible weekends he spent at home.

But the following is great. It’s “the Pain of Terrorists”. These guys sing to Amedi:

“Idan, you don’t know how much
I tried to explain to you
There’s no A Star is Born in Gaza
All I wanted to do was sing a bit

Idan, now you’ll understand
why you only took second place
Because, we can’t send SMS’s in Gaza
Tears, the pain of terrorists”

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    1. Elizabeth

      I think the song is successful (despite the fact that we’re not at war) for three main reasons. The first is that I think it’s a nice song with a nice melody and a rather talented singer with a nice voice. The second is that the artist is the runner-up of the immensely popular Kochav Nolad, so even the runner-up would have a large fan base.

      The third reason is that the lyrics of the song feed into the Israeli mentality that we’re the victims of this whole conflict. The nightmares of the soldiers are what matters, not the pain of the people on the other side who often suffer from much more than nightmares as a result of our actions.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Omer

      my stomache turned as I read this post. This is obviously an anti-war song, depicting the hardships of battle and the scars it leaves on young souls. A man telling his lover that since he witnessed what he witnessed he isn’t the same. Guess the Israeli left is no different from the anti-semitic left of the west, twisting and manipulating facts all in order to depicte Israel and Israelis in a bad light. Disguisting!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Carol

      Something else significant – this is a rare song in which an Israeli soldier admits to fear and weakness. What does this say about the IDF today?

      Reply to Comment
    4. @Omer: An anti-war song? Honestly, what planet do you live on?! Shouldn’t an anti-war song at least mention the word “peace” once? And maybe even talk about the other side? Keep living in your bubble.

      @Carol: I actually think admitting fear is a strength, no?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Omer

      Not necessarily my friend, not every peace song needs to have the word peace in it, I would imagine you would have a more reasonable argument to your case but I guess you don’t…
      A war song is a song that gloryfies war but here you have a song on the hardships of war, not one person at the end of a song like this can honestly say – wow war is cool…hence it’s a peace song
      Go on live in your bubble, continue writing your blood libels on the blood thirsty Israelis who praise war and sing war songs.

      Reply to Comment
    6. I promise to do so Omer, even though it’s not in line with You and The Party.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Omer

      nice going, now, not only am I blood thirsty but I am also a facist or nazi (not sure where exactly you were aiming with that party comment)
      now if you would excuse me I have a palestinian child to slaughter, chanukah is around the corner and I need some blood for my menorah…gebeles would have been so proud

      Reply to Comment
    8. Eitan

      In 2000, Aviv Geffen released a song called “Ekdachim Shlufim” (Pistols Drawn), about a soldier who returns home from the army and is haunted by his experiences. The main difference between these two songs is that Geffen’s ends with a verse looking towards peace, which today would sound hopelessly out of touch:

      On the radio there is talk/
      A senior figure in the government/
      Feels that peace is coming/
      He sits in the [bus] station/
      And dreams about her

      The last line is purposely ambiguous. Listeners don’t know if he’s referring to a girlfriend mentioned previously in the song or to that other temptress, peace.

      Reply to Comment
    9. @Omer: Glad we see eye to eye. See, that wasn’t so hard?

      Reply to Comment
    10. Omer

      no I would neber see eye to eye with the likes of you

      Reply to Comment
    11. exactly 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    12. shu

      It’s a propaganda war song (one of the wars we’ve been losing for a long time). Did Yuli Edelstein commission it?

      Carole; “this is a rare song in which an Israeli soldier admits to fear and weakness.”

      I thought shooting and crying was our speciality. This is the musical version, hence the blood on the uniform.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Yes, the singer is well known for his zionist ties, I belive Lieberman wrote the lyrics… Aemdi is known for his propaganda songs…. Even shampoo comerciels in the zionist entity are propaganda

      Reply to Comment
    14. Omer, just a quick tip: when you link through your name to a fake site called “dancingonblood.com”, it doesn’t help you trying to refute the fascist claims… kinda does the opposite 😉

      Reply to Comment
    15. A quick tip from you? Thanx, I”ll pass… 🙂

      Reply to Comment
    16. Omer

      And just to be clear, the name of the site I linked waswas demonstrate the likes of you

      Reply to Comment
    17. Thanks Omer, I wouldn’t have been able to get that without you explaining it to me.
      Glad to have you on board! 😉

      Reply to Comment
    18. Omer

      Glad to have enlightened you, you are more then welcome, salam aleikum

      Reply to Comment

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