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When does a war song become an anti-war song? And what exactly is an anti-war song? In a new series of posts to Jonathan's Coffeeblog I will try to answer those questions. I believe that every war has produced songs which communicate effectively just what war is all about, an what that particular war was all about. I was inspired to start this series by Corporal Joshua Belile of the United States Marine Corps, who became involved in a political firefight after a performance of his satire on the US-led international intervention in Mesopotamia, Hadji Girl, was shown as a YouTube video. As of this writing, Belile was exonerated of military code violations after a Marine Corps investigation, but changed his mind about releasing a professional recording of the song. (You can see the video here, if it has not been removed due to the political controversy.)
Hadji Girl, a satirical song presumably written for the entertainment of U.S. Marines in Iraq, tells of a Marine who falls in love with a young Iraqi woman he sees at a Burger King. She invites him home, where he is ambushed by anti-American gunmen bearing AK-47's, the weapon depicted in the above image. After a sordid, bloody exchange of gunfire, the Marine prevails in battle but loses in love.
Belile is not the first songwriter to catch flak for deploying chutzpah in his art (I wrote about that here). And he won't be the last. My nominee for the greatest song of World War Two, Lili Marlene, got a German performer named Lale Anderson in trouble with Joseph Goebbels (remember him?), who banned her from the radio and silenced her for nine months until she was allowed to sing other songs, but not Lili Marlene. Both songs, BTW are about thwarted love between a man and a woman during wartime, but the resemblance ends there. I will be writing more about Lili Marlene in a future Coffeeblog post, and thereafter about Vietnam, Korea, World War One, the Spanish Civil War, and the American Civil War, and my nominee for the best song from each.Permanent Link to This Entry | | | Technorati Tag: Iraq
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