Friday, August 11, 2006

Radio Show on the Israel-Lebanon conflict

The following is an adapted version of the script for the radio show "Who Do You Think You Are?" dedicated to the Israel-Lebanon conflict. The playlist is also included.

Click here to listen to this show in mp3 format.

A special thanks goes to Irene Peano, Keston Sutherland and Alexandra Tsella: without their voices and informed opinions, today’s radio show would have not been possible.

Keston is a politically engaged poet and a lecturer in English at Sussex University, Check out his political blog Conspiracy Practice, a peculiar take on news and current affairs. Keston is also the editor of Barque Press, a publishing house specialised in poetry.


This show is dedicated to the Israel-Lebanon conflict. You will listen to an eclectic collection of songs, blending classic Anglo-European protest songs with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern sonorities, and to excerpts from the demonstration against the war held in London Saturday 5th August, voices, noises, slogans and spontaneous music. This is not meant to be a statement in support of one side or the other, but rather an acknowledgement of the lacerating polyphony of war and of discussions about war.


Paul Brady - The Island
Written and sung by the popular Northern Irish singer songwriter, this song contains reminiscences of to the previous conflict in Lebanon in the early 1980s.

Phil Ochs - The Men Behind the Guns
An anti-war ballad by the king of American protest singers.

Boris Vian - Le Déserteur
One of the most famous antimilitarist songs, the original manuscript is from 1954. A fictional letter to the French president by a deserter. Click here to read a translated version of the lyrics.

David Broza & Wisam Murad - In My Heart
The most popular Israeli singer songwriter performs together with the founder of Palestinian ensemble Sabreen. More about the joint performance on Voice of Palestine radio and Israeli Army Radio here.

Marcel Khalife - Strike
This is an instrumental piece by a great Lebanese instrumental composer and singer songwriter. Click here to download some of his songs from the official website.

Ani DiFranco - Self Evident
A long poem written and performed with 9/11 and Bush's "war on terror" in mind. «Well it's difficult to be part of the problem... this song is about the sorrow and the rage to have a goverment that export wrongness» (Ani's introduction to the song in a concert).

Sabreen - In the Silence of the Night
Palestinian ensemble blending contemporary music with traditional arabic rhythms. Their work contains strong references to the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Billy Bragg - Like Soldiers Do
At the intersection between folk and punk, an inspired song about war by singer of the British working classes.

Marcel Khalife - I Am Arab Ahmad
More than a song, a poem in arabic, accompanied by the sounds of war.

Eugenio Bennato - Che il Mediterraneo Sia
By mixing tarantella with arabic rhythms, the father of the Southern Italian folk revival delivers this celebration of the cultures of the Mediterranen Sea.

Joan Baez - Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
A classic anti-war ballad sung by the flowers' child singer songwriter symbol of the protests agains the war in Vietnam.


It was extremely difficult to avoid the temptation of writing an end for this radio show. At times, I would get absolutely convinced of the need of providing some authoring to the incoherent blend of voices, noises, music, cultures, contradictions, and yet I could not manage to write anything resembling a 'final statement'.

I could not even manage to render in words my state of confusion, I failed to describe what goes on when I am overwhelmed by ideas and emotions, and I can only sit back and watch my mind splitting into pieces, obsessively thinking about who’s got it right and who’s got it wrong and what’s the point anyway, why do I care and where will it go from here, am I just baking in the sun of London or doing some hard-core militant action, what are we supposed to do when we watch the slaughter of civilians and the horrors of war, am I compelled to take a stand and what should this stand be, should I just forget about it and get back to work or …

And yet, I thought, it would be disrespectful to put my own psycho-intellectual struggle to grasp this reality before the tragedy of war itself.

This radio show is dedicated to the victims of war, in Lebanon, Israel and elsewhere.