I was a boy – Lahakat Hanahal; להקת הנח”ל – הייתי נער

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An equally powerful song that has stayed with me since my youth, and is likely to linger for the rest of my life is I was a boy also sang by Lahakat Hanahal. Lyrics: David Atid; Melody: Yair Rosenblum; Translation: DeAnna L'am Heart-breaking and beautiful, the song captures the lifelong permanent damage suffered by millions of (the best of the best) young men who have been routinely, every generation, recruited to fight wars all over the world in the past 10,000 years. I am among those millions who were indoctrinated to fight to the bitter end, and to sacrifice our lives for the, often, senseless causes of our leaders, parents, as well as variety of economic forces, including the obvious, military industrial complex. One of my dissertation topics was: “The Medea Complex and the Cycle of war” where I intended to explore the fact that wars, on average, take place globally in 18-22 years cycles, which is, like Medea who killed her children, the older generation sends the younger generation to war where the ‘best die first’ thereby the challenge to the older generation’s authority and power is significantly reduced. The Rolling Stone powerfully attempted to address the same ‘post (Vietnam) war’ dynamic in their forceful song I want to paint it black. Generally, ‘we’, young soldiers are barely 18 years old when we go to war to inflict destruction and to readily meet death: of our brothers, of the “other”, and possibly our own. This song potently describes all that we lost in the process: life, energy, power, innocence, trust, the ability to love, and perhaps most importantly the excitement and exuberance of our adolescence.

I was a Boy

The targets are cleansed and destroyed Snow on mount Hermon melts in the sun In a ghost town on the Golan Heights A lonely donkey is lost like before the war Summer returned to its old strongholds But your face, my boy, remains changed. Curtains and window blockers were removed The city clerk locked the bomb shelters Grasses climb and grow Fresh greenery over scabs and canals Pomegranates returned to market booths But your face, my boy, remains changed. I had a boy in love, I had a boy, Clear was his voice, clear were his eyes The battle now silent, he returns to the gate But his gait is heavy, and his face sealed.

הייתי נער

היעדים מטוהרים והרוסים שלגים על החרמון מול שמש נמסים ובעיירת רפאים על הרמה חמור בודד תועה כבטרם מלחמה הקיץ שב למשלטיו הישנים

אבל פניך נערי נותרו שונים

הוילונות הוסרו והנייר גורד פקיד העירייה נעל את המקלט שלוחות הדשא מטפסות ומעלות ירוק טרי על צלקות התעלות הרימונים חזרו לשוק לדוכנים

אבל פניך נערי נותרו שונים

היה לי נער מאוהב היה לי נער צלול היה קולו צלולות היו עיניו הקרב נדם ושוב קרב הוא אל השער אך הילוכו כבד וחתומות פניו

Life resumes Snow melts on Mount Hermon, cleansed by the golden sun But the boy's face has changed Is covered with worry, twisted, shriveled  a mirror reflecting the horrors of war The battle has ended in the desert But has just begun in the boy's mind A lifetime of suffering  An innocent, lost

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