This post is being re-worked on to reflect the discussions that are taking place in the comment’s section.
The main point of this post was to deconstruct some of the main images that are present in nationalistic songs and criticize a general culture of the nation fed by “art producers” when reality is much less eloquent. Unfortunately, I was wrong with the example I took, not knowing the background of the song of Julia Botross who actually took a speech made by Nasrallah in the beginning of the war and made a song out of it (with the consent of Nasrallah according to commentators). The fighters in the movie are effectively Hezbollah’s and the kids are from Bint Jbeil. I still don’t like kids tranforming themselves into fighters but that’s fine.
The final fate of this point is simply unknown as of now. For now I wish to keep the post in order to finish the discussion and also as a self-inflicting punishment for my failure of getting the context right! it is also funny to see how everything I thought suggested in the clip was actually real (nasrallah speech, soldiers were fighters etc). So laugh at my expense for now as I started this post with a laugh!
Nothing makes me laugh more (and cry if I really try to think seriously about the matter) than what I would call “artistic profiteering” (i.e. making money and a name out of stupid songs just because appealing to vague nationalistic slogans) from the latest events in Lebanon. By the way, nowhere maybe in the world you had that many patriotic songs where the facets of patriotism are endless and contradictory.
This clip by Julia Botross is just replete with non-sense statements about the people’s victory, unsubstantial nationalistic slogans, all along a horrible musical composition (like practically all nationalist music compositions, at least for Lebanon).
Still maybe I should clarify what is laughable:
1- You have Lebanese soldiers (of whom you can just see the silhouette) parading here and there amongst the woods (what?). I thought Hezbollah fought against the Israelis. Nevermind. It reminds me of Future’s TV never mentioning the very existence of Hezbollah as an entity fighting Israel (only the “Lebanese nation”).
2- People’s faith, beliefs, dignity are called upon. People are “the promise”: Is this plagiarizing Nasrallah’s speech or am I mistaken?, “mountains of sun coming victory” (I don’t understand why the mountains are always invoked in Lebanon, why not the plains too. Is it just because it’s high that it becomes more imposing? This in any case contradicts the reality of where the resistance came)
3- It seems that according to Julia it is from the people that the Lebanese prisoners will be liberated (yeah the people are eagerly waiting for that, mm, which prisoners, which jails? this can become very confusing). Does anybody know who are the prisoners in Israeli jails (I mean all of them)? By the way, if yes this blog is looking for a complete list.
4- The central concern in this song is who’s talking to the people. Because Julia seems to address the people directly saying sentences like “you are… for us”. who is “us”? Is it also the people? A sort of circular narcissistic apraisal of the people? or is it an abstract concept of nation in which the people can feel safe?
5- Oh and let’s not forget the incontournable mentioning of the “cedar” (again what?). It seems that we are still not moving out of basic traditional beginning twentieth century maronite ideological artefacts. Well someone could say that it is, after all, in the flag so we’re stuck with it.
If only these songs could mirror 2% of the Lebanese reality then they could act as propaganda for nationalistic ideology build-up. But no, even this is too much. In this case, the contradictions can be summarized quickly: there is no “one” people you can address (for example amongst other issues, who really cares about issues like the lebanese prisoners, where and who) and Hezbollah is the only party that has fought against Israel and no abstract national identity.
So I don’t know if this is not just a non-Hezbollah attempt to desperately acquire some credit for the recent Israeli humiliation. If yes, than this is my message to these dudes: you better not use ideological artefacts that are alien to Shiite reality (like the mountains the cedars, etc.) and start abiding by the new meaning-making frameworks that Hezbollah is offering. Of course you don’t need to do that. I’m just saying that if you want to be the patriots you are talking about. Or else just be simply Lebanese and be welcomed to schizophrenia land.
Nota Bene: I would want to specially praise Hezbollah songs of propaganda (please don’t think that I am being biased it’s only natural and you may discover this for yourselves 🙂 They just remind me of the Manga songs (you know like Dragon Ball, Ken the Survivor, “Les chevaliers du Zodiaque” for the frenchies in Lebanon) we used to listen to when we were kids (and still now for some). Same instruments, sounds, rythms and cadence. It’s like video game, but actually it’s real and some dudes are really dying. As a dilettante pseudo-intellectual (maronite if you may) hiding in the now-famous-and-often-cited mountains, it made my daily shot of adrenaline during the war in July while listening to Eza3at el Nour.