New Arabic-Hebrew peace song
Richard Silverstein turned me on to this:
You can read Richard's intro to the song on his blog, Tikun Olam-תקון עולם. I admire the sentiment in this new song, and hope that it presages other good things to come, but I would feel more hopeful if in the introduction to the song, he didn't feel necessary to attack a rather nice Israeli folk song of the same name, one often sung in rounds, with great feeling and camraderie. I happen not to believe that "Haveinu Shalom Aleichem" is a "tired old folk song that has outlived its usefulness"—tired, I guess because it merely makes people feel good, emphasizes bringing peace in only one language, and doesn't have a Middle Eastern melody?
Surely making peace does not need to be a subtractive process such that we must reach back to some earlier form of exclusive political correctness (current exclusive political correctness, of course, would ask "which way the prayer meeting" and sneer at anyone who isn't a fundamentalist neo-con and gung ho about tossing the liberties and constitutional protections that make this country unique, er, in the name of putting those liberties and that constitution someplace secure and locked away from everyday human protection?). I would contend quite the opposite. But that's a whole 'nother issue. So, let's start all over again, enjoy this song and its performance for the joy that it is, and if that helps us build other good things, all the better. And if people in my sukkah break out with the better known traditional form of the song, perhaps in a round, during our sukkah gathering and jam session tomorrow, why we might even go on to "Mah tovu ohalekha" or "Aleh Everyone" (once known as "aleh brider," after the first, traditional verse). To paraphrase Pete Seeger, there is a lot of good in those tired old folk songs. New ones are welcome, too!