Kurdish Comedy Music Video About ISIS

Kurdish ChildrenWe in America love the Kurds, even though the only thing we know about them is that they aren’t Muslims. Fun fact: the Kurds are actually Muslims. What’s more, they are predominantly Sunni, so I guess Saddam Hussein didn’t gas them because of their religion. In fact, that whole thing just makes no sense. We all know that all Muslims are exactly the same, agreeing on everything including that they hate the United States because of our freedom. (Joke’s on them! We’re getting rid of our freedom fast!) So okay, I guess we have to all agree that not all Muslims are the same. Or continue to believe that the Kurds are some kind of exotic Christians like the Ethiopian Catholics.

My reason for loving the Kurds is that they are a trusting people. When Bush the Elder (the “good” Bush), told them to rise up against Saddam Hussein, they did! And they were rewarded the way American allies are often rewarded: by us doing nothing as they were destroyed by Saddam Hussein’s forces. Fun fact: it does not appear that chemical weapons were used against the Kurds at that time, as was reported with certainty in the American press at that time. Hussein did use chemical weapons against the Kurds in the late 1980s, as was not reported in the American press at that time. And we certainly didn’t go to war over that because, hey, they had no oil and weren’t royalty.

But now we all have an especially good reason to love the Kurds. Last week on the Kurdish television station KurdSat, they aired a humorous music video lambasting ISIS. People are calling it a parody, but I don’t know what it is a parody of. I must admit to being woefully ignorant of Middle Eastern music. It seems to me just straight comedy — comedy of an extremely political and pointed nature.

It shows five men with long, comically fake, black beards as members of ISIS. They play their assault rifles like they were guitars (Saz?) and cellos. They swing swords around. And they generally act very silly with a skull and a zurna. It is a welcome bit of humor in the middle of the whole ISIS situation:

It does bring up one serious question. The Kurds are clearly not cowering; why are so many Americans? ISIS actually does represent an existential threat to the Kurds. They are going head to head with the group. Yet the Kurds do not partake in overstating the threat of ISIS. And here we see some of them openly mocking ISIS. Here in the United States — most especially among the chickenhawk Republicans — the group is presented like the second coming of the Third Reich.

Mostly, the video is just meant to tweak the noses of the ISIS leaders, who I can only assume are as full of themselves as any other military leaders. As Mediaite noted, “Beheadings are one way to taunt your geopolitical enemy. But a parody music video is a much lighter, cleverer way to get a point across, as some Kurdish people recently demonstrated.” But there is one line in the song that was wonderfully blunt, “Our pockets are full of Qatari money.” Yep.

The video is very charming. It also has an extremely catchy melody that is now going through my head. Basically, it is just three notes but it works really well. I suspect it is a classic tune, but as I said, I don’t know the music of that region very well. Regardless, it is a video that should make America fall in love with Kurds all over again. And it doesn’t even involve us watching them die. Maybe it will even make the conservatives come out from under their beds.

5 thoughts on “Kurdish Comedy Music Video About ISIS

  1. We in America love the Kurds, even though the only thing we know about them is that they aren’t Muslims.

    I really hope you’re joking here. I don’t know of anyone who thinks the Kurds aren’t Muslims. (In fact, there’s a small minority of Kurds, the Yezidis, who aren’t Muslims.)

    Anyway, I’m glad the Kurds are able to make fun of ISIS. The British had songs mocking Hitler during World War II. It’s a good tactic against pompous, full-of-themselves enemies — notably religions.

    • It’s hyperbole to make a larger point. Plus it was a chance to bring up the Ethiopian Catholic Church, which I find fascinating.

  2. 1: Maybe pass this video on to “Last Week Tonight”, along with your observation that the people most threatened by “ISIS” are better-adjusted about it than we are. They seem to be open to viewer-linked content.

    2: There’s a longstanding Kurdish restaurant right underneath my apartment. The food is brilliant, halal, and super-healthy. If I’ve eaten shit junk for too many days in a row, that’s where I go to clean up my system. The owners close for two weeks every year to visit family. Which, since Turkey doesn’t like the Kurds, and Iraq is a mess, probably involves knowing a guy who knows a guy.

    3. “We milk the goat even if it is male” is probably pornographic and quite funny.

    4. My SO, a vastly certified music instructor, tells me that Arabic music sounds “weird” to us because they hit quarter-tones. So, I’m told, do many musical systems outside our tradition. Like Native American or Japanese or Australian aboriginal music. Our jazz first amazed everyone here by hitting half-tones. All those notes aren’t random; they’re precisely one-half or one-quarter of the frequencies we think of as “DoReMi.” And musical instruments gathered from 10,000-year-old caves work on the same scales. (I probably have the terms wrong, but still . . . cool!)

    • I think the greatest thing about the video is that it shows the Kurds being silly. News coverage distorts reality by only covering, well, news. So we tend to turn different groups (including ones in our own country) into stereotypes. All cultures have “silly” and I love seeing it — especially in this context.

      I didn’t notice that in this song though. Notes are bent, but the melody fits pretty closely in the first five notes of the major scale — C major, actually. I didn’t get much of a handle on the harmony. You ought to play it for your SO. If she has any insights let me know. It’s a fun song musically.

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