Friday, October 18, 2013

The Back Yard-Voicemail

Yesterday marked 18 years since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, by the hebrew date. To say the truth it's a bit weird marking the hebrew day-the date that will forever be remembered is November 4th. It's also weird to realize that the students commemorating him in school ceremonies were all born after his death and some of them are children to parents who were "Noar HaNerot", the youth who mourned not just the death of their leader but also a certain death of their innocence. It's amazing how they're just about a decade older than me, and at my age it's not supposed to be such a big difference, but I feel so distant from them and I think it has a lot to do with the assassination and the rift it created in the already fragile society. I don't have any significant memory from that day (I was very young and living abroad) but I do remember how in high school my teacher showed us a very difficult video clip showing the right wing extremist incitement before the murder as a result of the Oslo accords and the bombings it brought with it. We were all shocked by the verbal violence, including those of us who disagreed with Rabin's views. The clip wasn't a constructed part of the lesson plan and I wonder how many teenagers are exposed to those images today, how many are encouraged to have a thought provoking discussion and learn about the context of the event, not just memorize Rabin's famous quote "violence erodes the basis of democracy".

The Back Yard or in hebrew HaChatzer HaAchorit, is an intriguing project formed by Tomer Yosef and Itamar Zieigler from Balkan Beat Box together with Gedi Ronen from Devek and 1:1 and the legendary lyricist Yankale Rotblit. Rotblit has a reptuar of albums which feature his candid and poetic lyrics: 1978's  "How I Released Jerusalem", wriiten 11 years after he fought in the six day war in which he lost a leg, 1989's "Letters from the Fourth House" (Side A and B here), 2004's "The Country of the Jews" and 2011's "Alol Junction". The truth is I hadn't heard of these controversial albums before reading about them on Kutner's post about this group (though now I'm very curious) and Rotblit is best known for writing some of Israel's most loved songs. Among them are, "It's So Good That You Came Home", "I See Her On the Way to the Gimnasia", "Saturdays and Holidays", "Wooden Horse", "Seeing far seeing clear", "Let Us Grow Up in Peace" and "Our Way" (Darkenu). He also wrote "A Song for peace", first performed by the Nachal Army Group in 1969 and later on November 4th 1995, in the peace rally right before Rabin's assassination. I don't think anyone will ever forget the image of the blood stained lyric sheet.

I first heard this song sometime last month and though I really liked the melody I (ignorantly) dismissed it as a mainstream radio song made for the holidays. But then I heard it again yesterday when I saw that it had entered Galgaltz's day playlist. Probably because of the day's circumstances I suddenly realized what the song was about, or at least what I think it could be about, making it so much more more complex, relevant and also heartbreaking.

It hasn't arrived by now
It won't arrive now
Without "do us a favor"
Understand the situation
It's a matter of air time
A matter of price tag
Now it's on sale

Again you came out as an idiot
You bought an illusion
It can't be
Yet it was
You felt upgraded
You dressed in holiday night
So what's the problem?
Suddenly the magic expired
And the rod to the fish
Said you're mine

What was yours
And won't be any more
What goes with you
And doesn't always come back
An unborn star
You had in your hand
I'm here for you
And if you'll feel lonely
You're welcome to sing
A few notes with me-

Oh my far one
Will you hear my voice

Maybe on another day
Maybe on an occasion
And whoever is in a hurry
Shouldn't open a shop
The sages' words
Are heard in comfort
It was a great pleasure
It was very pleasant
As if you came without
But left with

Oh my far one
Will you hear my voice
It hasn't arrived by now
It won't arrive now
Understand the situation
The turtle is again on its back

*this just in:,7340,L-4442312,00.html

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