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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/7/18

A Song is Born

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Message Uri Avnery
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From Gush Shalom


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A FRIEND from overseas sent me the recording of a song. An Arab song, with a soft Arab melody, sung by an Arab girls' choir, accompanied by a flute.

It goes like this:

Ahed / You are the promise and the glory / Standing as high as an olive tree / From the cradle to the present / Your honor will not be violated / Palestine has been planted in us / As a dock for every ship / We are the land and you are the water /

You are covered with blond hair / You are as pure as Jerusalem / You taught our generation how the forgotten people should revolt / They thought the Palestinians are afraid of them because they are wearing armor and holding a weapon? / Palestine has been planted in us / As a dock for every ship / Our nation must be united and resist for the freedom of Palestine and the prisoners /

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Your blue eyes are a lighthouse / For a country that has every religion / You united the people far away and close / You ignited the spark in all our hearts / Your head is raised up high encouraging us / You ignited the light in our darkness /

Despite the softness of your hands / Your hands have shaken the world / Your hands returned the slap to the occupier / And returned esteem to the nation / Palestine has been planted in us / As a dock for every ship / We are the land and you are the water.

IF I were an adherent of the occupation, this song would frighten me very much.

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Because the force of songs is much stronger than the force of weapons. A gun wears out, but a song lasts forever.

In the early days of the Israeli army, there was a slogan hanging in our mess: "An army that is singing is an army of victory!"

The present Palestinian generation has decided to lower its head and wait until the storm has passed. The coming Palestinian generation may act in a completely different way.

On the eve of my 15th birthday, I joined an underground (or "terrorist") group that fought against the British colonial regime. Almost 80 years later I remember just about every song of that time, word for word. Songs like "We are unknown soldiers without uniforms..." and many more. Afterwards I wrote an anthem for my company.

I am not a poet. Far from it. But I have written some songs in my time, including "Samson's Foxes," an anthem for my commando unit in the Israeli army. So I know the force of a song. Especially a song about the heroism of a 16 year old girl.

THE MOMENT I saw the scene of Ahed al-Tamimi boxing the face of an Israeli army captain, I knew that something important had happened.

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The British politician Lord Acton famously wrote: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." I would add: "Occupying another people tends to make you stupid, and a long occupation makes you utterly stupid."

In my youth, when I was already a member of the anti-British underground, I was working in the office of a British lawyer, many of whose clients were officials of the British administration. I often asked myself: "How can it be that such intelligent people can behave so stupidly?" They were nice people, who treated even a lowly clerk like me politely. But they had no alternative: the occupation compels the occupier to behave stupidly.

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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