Israeli hip hop group Hadag Nahash has never shied away from politics.
In songs like “Gabi V’Debi“, “Misparim” (Numbers), “Od Yihiyeh Tov” (Things Will Be Better), and of course, “Shirat HaSticker” (The Sticker Song), the group has tackled Zionism, settlements, peace (or lack thereof) and, well, just about any Israeli social or political issue you can think of.
But yesterday, HaDag Nahash boldly took on a subject that, to my knowledge, has not been covered before in mainstream popular Israeli music: the issue of Syrian refugees.
Wherever one may stand on the subject politically, most agree that the plight of these individuals and families is heartbreaking. But for most of us, their situation is completely foreign. We have little understanding of what it means to flee one’s home with the intention to emigrate to a new country. We cannot fathom the difficult and dangerous conditions they endure.
In a 4.5 minute video, Hadag Nahash quickly helps us understand.
In their own words
Here’s what the group posted on their Facebook page about the release of their new song, “Yotze LaDerech”.
It started with an idea to write about a family forced to flee from their home due to violent political events happening in their immediate vicinity. Currently, there are 65 million refugees worldwide, the largest number in history. But of course, the most powerful trigger to write this song was the war in Syria. Just across our northern border, a civil war is raging, one that has already become a tragedy of an enormous scale. Over half a million dead, 13 million displaced and forced to escape their homes, 5.5 million of which fled to other countries, chemical warfare and the list of atrocities is still growing…
In this type of situation, it feels like it would be most effective to zoom in on one story, one family since the most private is usually also the most public. We intentionally avoided going into specifics about a certain location, since this is a story that has happened and will happen in too many places, so there are no names, no towns mentioned, nor anything of that sort, however, some clues and signs are scattered throughout the song.
One point that came up while we were working on the song is that the line “You have to travel in order to survive” was not written by the refugees of 2018. This line was relevant to the Jewish people for thousands of years. It is a line that is embedded into our DNA, and though we are fortunate to not be in that situation today, it is important to remember that “traveling in order to survive” is part of being a Jewish person since the days of the bible.
We chose to use the footage in its original form for the video, and some of the sights are not easy to watch. The materials are from an archive of documentary footage that we received from the international production company “La Kaseta”, whose main objective is documenting international social crises, were edited by director Ariel Snapiri. The footage in the video is taken from a film documenting the activity of international aid organization “Humanity Crew” from Haifa, an organization that provides mental and psychological help to these refugees.
What are your thoughts?
While we may disagree on how best to help, we give credit to Hadag Nahash for bringing attention to the suffering that takes place all over the world. Kol Hakavod to Sha’anan Street and friends for this bold, important, controversial, and eye-opening song and video.
But now we want to hear from you. What do you think of the song, the video, and its message? Keep it civil, please. 🙂