Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Remembering

I know this is rather late, but I just read this long and moving piece by Kateland about the Porajmos, the Nazi Holocaust against the Roma people. It is not easy reading, but please read it. And as you read and as you listen to the first song below which I've taken from there, think of three-year-old Mate Csorba, a Roma boy from Tatárszentgyörgy in Hungary, whose father and older brother were shot dead a year ago by racists as they tried to flee their home, which was burnt down; think of the residents of the 40-year old Casilino 900 camp in Rome, which is being bulldozed by the municipal governement of post-fascist Gianni Alemanno; think of the 100 Romanian Roma evicted from their homes in Miercurea Ciuc last year and encarcerated in metal cabins behind a sewage plant where they remain.

From Greece, Abravanel posts some 1940s music by Alekos Gouveris and Vassilis Tsitsanis, a song of longing for a Jewish girl who escapes deportation to the Nazi extermination camps.Scroll down for the English - although this is perhaps a better translation of the middle verse:
I ache when I think of the beautiful evenings
when you tenderly gave me promises, kisses, caresses.
And when you listen to that, think of the Tree of Life synagogue in Chania, Crete, attacked by arsonists twice in 19 days, after many other violent attacks and desecrations on Jews across Greece last year, and several attacks on migrants in Chania by neo-Nazis; and think of the dozens or possibly hundreds of migrants who drown every year in the Aegean sea, trying to escape unliveable lives.

UPDATE: Donate books to Crete's synagogue. UPDATE 2: Greek Shoah monuments in Israel.





Previous: Never again, Remembering (2009), Fascism watch: Italy, Mr. Alemanno strikes again…, Saban Bajramovic z''l, , Far Outliers in Salonica, Miserilou.
See also: Strange coalitions of the third kind, Pogroms and Death Camps, Rebetika, Poemas del rio Wang, Racism in Italy.

5 comments:

The Contentious Centrist said...

This quote from the blog you lnk to:

"Ι thank D.Velikaris for the Christianopoulos source and Wing for the video. Here the much better execution by Sotiria Bellou. Among the trivia is the finding of this song in israeli filesharing sites like this one, since the psychosis israelis have with greek music is rather famous."

I am astounded that the Israelis' love affair with Greek music is regarded as a "psychosis". An unhealthy mental condition. What to make of it, I wonder? There is a derision in this formulation. I would have expected Greeks to be flattered by such affection for their music, but no, it must be belittled and marginalized as an insane inclination.

Recalling Theodorakis, I'm not surprised.

Anyway, Greek music was introduced into Israel almost from the very beginning by Sephardic Jews, who brought the love of this particular music from Greece and Turkey.

The most famous Greek singer in Israel was a Greek named Aris San. He was not Jewish. Legend says that he came to Israel in 1957, following a girl he loved. She was however engaged to be married and he fell in love with Israel and decided to stay. He adopted Israel as his new love. He Started in the famous "Ariana" nightclub in Jaffa which was owned by Salonikean Jews. He then became a big star in Israel, much loved. He sang mainly Greek songs but also Israeli and and Ladino songs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzWhBms_oG0&feature=related

If it weren't for him I don't believe Greek music would have become as important in Israel as it is.

Then in the early 80's Yehuda Poliker came on the scene, the child of Greek Holocaust survivors, and published a long-player of Greek songs, which music and/or lyrics he wrote himself. That ushered the more authentic rebetico style into Israel's mainstream.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y81mBTqqMDY&feature=related

"A window to the Mediterranean"

bob said...

Hmm. I'm not sure if Abravanel meant it in a negative way. I notice (from the wonders of Google Translate) he uses ψύχωση (psýcho̱si̱) in the Greek post. I assume he simply meant it like "crazy about".

I am ashamed to say I never heard of Aris San, but loved the "Boom pam" song and its groovy video.

The Contentious Centrist said...

Maybe I was a bit too hasty in my assessment. But one never knows these days. Israelis are being accused of the weirdest things at the drop of a hat.

abravanel said...

I used this colourful phrase because there is a general dislike of Israel in Greece and it would sound quite surprising for greeks to grasp the concept of how much influential is their sound in a country they dislike. For example the most influential greek singer in Israel is Stelios Kazantzidis but he is quite known for his antisemitic remarks; frankly it does seem a bit psychotic.

In any case I did not mean it in a negative way. :-)

By the way if one has access behind the paywalls I would suggest Fleming's "Stereotyped Greek Jew" which deals with the presence of the portrayal of Greek Jews in the Israeli subconscious and Media.

@ndy said...

Of related interest, pls to remember the case of Australian Jock Palfreeman. In December 2007 Jock came to the defence of Roma in Sofia, Bulgaria, who were being attacked by a much larger grp of right-wing football hooligans. In the ensuing melee, one of the hools was killed, and another injured. In December 2009, Jock was sentenced to 20 yrs in prison for murder and attempted murder.

For more infos, pls see: http://www.freejock.net.

Finally, I highly recommend reading Simon Palfreeman's acct of the trial, and watching the half-hour doco on his case ABC TV produced last year.