Friday, November 2, 2007

Rabin, Sacco and Vanzetti

Lin sent me all the way from Utah an invitation for a march on behalf of African refugees. It took place in Tel-Aviv this morning and was a massive success. Thousands of people, about half of them refugees, came together to protest the threat of deportation. I've posted on the subject before, the bitter pill is here.

There are more political gatherings in store this weekend. Tomorrow night will be the annual rally in Rabin Sq. in memory of our assassinated Prime-Minister. I recommend this recent post from Homefris's blog for those who wish to get a clear view on where this story stands today, with the murderer potentially only eight years away from release.

Sunday will bring a different sort of protest. First the high-school teachers went on strike, for being payed pathetic wages. They were joined by the faculty members of the state universities. Now the waitresses working at the "Coffee To Go" franchise right outside Tel-Aviv University campus have also formed a picket line. In an act that's meant to draw attention to all labor struggles, Tel-Aviv artists have arranged an evening on their behalf.

I was invited to participate in this evening. my plan is to bring my guitar and sing Woody Guthrie's ballad of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. The two were union leaders who were framed for murder and executed in 1927 Boston.

Sacco and Vanzetti were no prime-ministers, but they were murdered for political reasons just as Rabin was. The Sudanese, Erithrean and Ivorians who marched with me today risk being the next on the list of victims. Here are the final verses of this rather rhythmic, refreshing folksong (Originally I published the entire lyrics, but they are readily available online), in a wish for more life and more justice.

Vanzetti docked in 98;
Slept along the dirty street,
Told the workers "Organize,"
And on the 'lectric chair he dies.

All of us people ought to be
like Sacco and Vanzetti,
And everyday find ways to fight
On the union side for the workers' rights.

Well, I ain't got time to tell this tale,
The dicks and bulls are on my trail.
But I won't forget these men who died
To show us people how to live.

All you people in Suassos Lane,
Sing this song and sing it plain.
Everybody here tonight,
Sing this song, We'll get it right.


Ariela said...

Hey would you let me know where this protest event will be Sunday evening? I'd love to go and photograph... maybe bring my harmonica. Cheers for a Friday night.

Yuval said...

Yes. It's actually set to begin quite early - at 4:30 PM (probably because they don't have money for artificial lighting). It'll take place right outside the "Coffee To Go" at the main enterence of the campus. Matti Shmueloff from "Direction East" and Chicky Arad from "Ma'ayan" are organizing it, which is promising. Do bring the harmonica and have the best Shabbat ever.

homefris said...

I think we should take to the streets of Tel Aviv singing, "This Land is Your Land" and see how many people join in. We can pick different verses to sing in different parts of the country, too.

"I roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps /To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts"

(If you need help with the lyrics I can handle it - I had to sing this song for ages in elementary school.)

"When the sun come shining, then I was strolling /and the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling / A voice was chanting, as the fog was lifting / This land was made for you and me."

Yuval said...

The verse that best fits Israel and Palestine is one that Woody Guthrie omitted from his final version but I heard Arlo Guthrie sing it at a folkfest in denmark:

As I was walking / I saw a sign there / and on the sign / it said "no trespassing" / But on the other side / It didn't say nothing / that side was made for you and me.

Down with the wall. Down with the roadblocks.

homefris said...

Sorry I missed you on the square last night. I was getting flattened. Would love to hear what you have to say about it.