Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mami was an Israeli rock opera before my time (late 1980's). I was a child when it was first performed and the timing was meaningful because it came around year 20 of the occupation. During high school I remember hearing the Rape Song at dance parties in the kibbutz and everyone, boys and girls, sang along screaming the words. I just stood there feeling fucked up because it's a dark and terrifying song and the ease with which the kids yelled out the words tells a lot about that particular time and the culture I grew up in. The story is about a poor Jewish waitress from the south who moves to Tel Aviv and has to work to support herself and her disabled husband who was injured in the war until one night she gets raped by seven angry Palestinian waiters at her shitty little restaurant. The rape part is marginal to the entire story that ends with Mami being brainwashed by doctors and the media and then eventually sent back to forever live in her poor hometown. I still remember all the words to the song.

From HaAretz:
"His (Hillel Mittelpunkt) rock opera, "Mami," which he wrote and directed 16 years ago, was also a big hit with the IDF, though in a somewhat different way. A few years ago, Mittelpunkt met Ehud Barak. "He came up to me and suddenly started singing, `Mami, Open Your Legs,'" the playwright recalls. "I was quite amazed and asked him where he knew the song from. He told me that the cadets at the training center sing that song when they do their morning run."


Mami (Sweetie)
"The Rape Song"
1987

Waiters:
Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Mami:
Listen for a moment
Before you pull down your pants
Ishmael and Isaac were brothers
And we have one father in heaven

You were born in a refugee camp
Hot summers
Cold winters
I was born in a development town
We were born the same
I've been used and abused like an Arab worker
Over the counter at the gas station
You are down
I am down
We're both fucked

Waiters:
Sweetie oh sweetie
Your sad story put depression in our hearts
Only, there's no choice
We are determined
Tonight we'll redeem our honour
You banished our children in the name of demography
You stole our fields in the name of geography
You closed our schools in the name of pedagogy
You called us Nazis and cockroaches out of demagoguery
We'll fuck you sweetie oh sweetie in the name of ideology

Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Sweetie oh sweetie
Spread your legs
For seven depressed
Seven Palestinians

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

Mami:
Listen for a moment
Before you pull down your pants
Ishmael and Isaac were brothers
And we have one father in heaven
It wasn't by my girly hands
That your children were banished
It wasn't my sealed mouth
That said "cockroaches" about you
They weren't my tired feet
That marched in Hebron and Nablus
And it's not my husband in his wheelchair
Who is your Zionist nightmare

Waiters:
Sweetie oh sweetie
We'll fuck because we've been fucked
Your government is our tragedy
Sweetie oh sweetie
We'll fuck because we've been fucked
Your government is our tragedy
The Palestinian people aspire to be free
Do not take this rape personally

Twenty years of occupation, we will no longer wait
With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

With erection and semen we'll redeem Palestine

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