It seems that the first peaceful dialogue to follow the Second Lebanon War comes out of the music scene. Two heavy metal bands, one Israeli and the other Lebanese, met online and joined forces to perform a new song, “Everything We Are”.
"Obviously, the song deals with the last war between Israel and Lebanon, and its implications. It speaks about the silent majority around the world that does nothing while extremists spread their ideals of hatred and violence," Kfir Gov, leader of the Israeli band, “Seek Irony” told Ynet.
Rab, the Lebanese lead vocalist of “Blood Ink”, and his family reside in northern Lebanon in an area that was mostly outside of the range of the fighting.
"I’ve been listening to this music for as long as I can remember," Rab, the 23-year-old Christian singer, told Ynet in an email interview.
"The story my family tells is that my sister, who is a metal fan, used to put the headphones on my ears when I was just a month old. She used to put me to sleep listening to 'The Wall' by Pink Floyd.
“I somehow grew up in this atmosphere, at age 14, I was already listening to the Scorpions and Aerosmith. Then I discovered the harder styles, and it went on,” Rab said.
The relationship between the two bands started before the war broke, on myspace.com.
"They sent us a message saying 'Good Luck, Keep it up! From your neighbors in Lebanon," says Kfir.
"We thought that was really cool of them and we were excited to find out that there was a metal band in Lebanon that sounded really good, so we replied to their message saying, 'Thanks a lot, stay in touch, from your neighbors in Israel.' We stayed in touch and when the war broke out we became close because we used to chat on instant messenger everyday."
Didn't it strike you as odd that a Lebanese band had contacted you?
"At the beginning it was really odd and it really caught us by surprise because we had no clue that there was a metal scene in Lebanon. It was awesome to find out there's a whole underground scene going on there, just like here in Israel, with thousands of kids wearing Metallica and Pantera t-shirts, that simply enjoy the music, and that there are Lebanese bands that really kick ass."
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"The metal scene in Lebanon is still insignificant, but many bands are working hard to make it more popular. It is a challenge mainly because of the cultural diversity in Lebanon. This will improve with proper encouragement and big scale projects to promote these underground bands and push small bands to get better," says Rab.
If it would be made possible, would you go on a joint European tour with 'Seek Irony'?
Rab: "Definitely, I’m sure it would make a hell of show."
Kfir: "In fact, when we started this whole thing, the idea was to try and put together a joint show somewhere neutral or maybe have the two bands perform at the same time in each country. Very quickly we found out about the impossible logistics involved in something like this. Only then, we started thinking about the song."
"We are simply musicians," says Kfir, "that's why we decided to use music to try and help bring the two sides closer together.
“I think it's ironic that by using a common denominator as simple as music, Rab and I have found a way to create a normal, reasonable dialog across the border, while our leaders, who are actually the ones responsible for finding the solution for this crisis, have failed and are having a hard time doing so themselves.
“Rab and I communicated throughout the war and it was incredible to see the Lebanese' perspective.”
What is the main message you are trying to convey in this song?
Kfir: "I want to make it clear that we're not about turning this song into a "press sensation" – on the contrary, we're actually trying to be very careful because we want our message to come across the way we mean it and not to have other people put words in our mouths.
“We believe that giving politicians sole responsibility is part of the problem, especially the kind of politicians that are leading these countries nowadays. We're calling people on both sides to speak up and express their opinion, because it is our duty.
“We call on people to stop spreading the extreme preaching of hate and violence. Real open discussion is the only way to resolve the conflict and actualize each of our goals and interests."
Rab: "The main message is clear: 'People, open your eyes! Do not live the lies you’re being told.' To show that we all can live together in peace only if we want to, and the song is the proof."
Has your opinion of each others’ countries changed?
Rab: "It has drastically changed. Since the day I was born, I was told we were enemies; I never thought I could have an Israeli friend. I discovered that we’re not really enemies like I was told."
Kfir: "Through Rab I found out that it is a beautiful little country with incredible beaches on the west and lots of great skiing resorts on the east. Rab definitely showed me a different side of Lebanon that I didn't hear about in Israel."
What will you say to people who'll criticize you for this cooperation?
Rab: "My only answer is that I’m against war and killing, and politics is not more important than that. If we, the young people, don't do something about it, this will never end."
To listen to "Everything We Are" - click here