Middle East Opinions - opinions about all aspects of the middle east region

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Palestinian national anthem

Very often as English speakers (or at least non-Arabic) we are unaware of what exactly is being said in Arab media about Israel and the West. More often than not there is a disparity between what is said in English and "officially" to what is being said in Arabic. Since I don't speak Arabic I can't go around translating all the news report so I rely mostly on English news and friends and people (or resources) that are credible for this info.

With this in mind I decided to write about the Palestinian national anthem. A national anthem is meant to sum up what the people stand for and hope for. It ususally includes reference to great liberties or accomplishments of the people in question. So I had a look at what is being said in their national anthem (translation care of Shoebat.com). This is meant to be something that all Palestinians are taught and sing regularly with passion and pride, so here goes....

My country, my country
My country, the land of my grandfathers
My country, my country
My country, my nation, the nation of eternity
With my determination, my fire and the volcano of my revenge
The longing of my blood to my land and home
I have climbed the mountains and fought the wars
I have conquered the impossible and crossed the borders
My country, my country, the nation of eternity
With the resolve of the winds and the fire of the guns
And the determination of my nation in the land of struggle
Palestine is my home, Palestine is my fire, Palestine is my revenge
and the land of eternal
My country, my country, the nation of eternity
I swear under the shade of the flag
To my land and nation, and the fire of pain
I will live as a guerrilla, I will go on as guerrilla,
I will expire as guerrilla until I will be back
My country, my country, the nation of eternity


Looking at this 2 things stand out for me:
  • The repeated use of violent language and reference to blood
  • The end which speaks of living, continuing and dying as a guerilla
The first point shows that they are more concerned with the means to be used for their aspirations (destruction of Israel!) than the end which should be freedom and a life of their choosing (or something along those lines). When people first decide on the means and then use that exclusively as their path to an end then the end will naturally mirror the means. When that means is violence and murder then we can clearly see the path of their choosing and where it is headed.

The second point is quite scary for me becasue it is the end of the anthem (which is usually a point of psychological emphasis) and it does not speak of anything to do with the hope or the possibility of an eventuality of "success" (whatever exactly that might be aside from just killing Jews). Reading these last lines the message one gets is live fighting (or killing) and keep killing and die killing. There is no mention of a condition or situation e.g. if you are at war or oppressed. This simply tells Palestinians (in language of war) to fight, fight, fight!

This is another good example of Palestinian psychological propoganda and how it clearly must (and has already) influence the Palestinian population, especially the youth. When anthems like the Palestinians speak of peace and hope for a better future, then and only then will then be a realistic chance of peace.