A song by the Israeli rock group Mashina. Originally, it's called "Az lama li politika achshav", roughly meaning "So why would I have politics now", or "Why should I care about/talk about politics now". It first appeared on their 1990 album HaAmuta LeKheker HaT'muta, and became an instant hit.

The song simply oozes bitterness and pessimism, along with a certain feeling of helplessness - the name alone tells it all. So why talk about politics now? The world is going to hell, and there's nothing we could do about that.

But we're not talking about a simple political rant with some good old-fashioned angst thrown in. This song describes rather accurately how many, if not all Israelis feel about their own situation, and about the world in general. That is what, in my opinion, makes it one of the best political songs I know - not to mention one of the best Israeli songs ever.

In-depth analysis (heh)

The song starts with the following lines:

Thousands of mercenaries gather in the mosque
They talk about me, but not with me
I think it's pretty clear who he's talking about. The song was written in 1990, before the Oslo Accords, during the first Intifada. Also the part about "talking about me but not with me" - it might have something to do with him being a Lebanon war veteran, and not only an Israeli citizen.

After that we get the following two lines:

And my neighbor’s uncle is now a SaMGad
So told me my sister's son's wife
SaMGad is a something like a deputy battalion commander. It's a relatively high rank, but not something special for an Israeli. Mandatory military service, everybody's (theoretically) a soldier, remember? In fact, the wording in the original Hebrew implies, and even stresses the fact that it's nothing special.

In the second verse, we have the following:

Dill and parsley are meeting in the dark
To solve the current situation
Yitzhak Shamir was the Israeli prime minister at the time (1990). Shamir means dill in Hebrew. These lines probably refer to the Madrid talks, the first official talks Israel held with the Palestinians.

And in New York they invented a new kind of disease
This song was written in the late eighties, and you could say that AIDS was a pretty new disease back then. The vagueness, the certain... apathy in this line is pretty striking. It's pretty representative of the whole mood of the song. It's not like he doesn't care about the people dying from AIDS. It's just that he expects something like that, and knows he can't do anything about it.

And the ever-so-optimistic chorus:

I lied when I said that everything was great
'Coz none of it was really true
And even our ball has turned into a cube
Forgot that it was round
One thing here: I'm not sure where the image of the ball turning into a cube comes from. It might have something to do with the Israeli concept of "squaring the circle" (that is, fitting something that shouldn't fit, or more generally, doing something impossible). Maybe it comes from soccer.

In San Francisco the bridges need healing
In Russia there's another train wreck
And the masses tore down the wall in Berlin
And all you and I got is hope
Okay, I have to admit that my translation of the last line here was far from perfect. The meaning here is not "we should have hope", but, quite literally, "we have no kind of guarantee but hope". Guarantee that things will turn for the better, that is.

Only near the end of the song do we get a direct reference to the Israeli/Palestinian war:

Why is a stone in Ramallah deflected from its course
Why is a stone in Ramallah deflected from its course
You and I are in a crate
I'm singing and you're dancing in the middle
Okay, I don't really know what the last line means. It may be there because it rhymes (in Hebrew, of course), but it may have some deeper meaning, so I left it in. Anyway, if you didn't get the crate part - it's slang for coffin. I'm not sure how it goes in English/American slang.

And the cheerful ending:

I lied when I said everything was great
Mercenaries gather in the dark
And in New York they made a new kind of disease
Feeling just great
Feeling just great
We are the chosen people
We are the chosen people
The part about "the chosen people" is bitter sarcasm, and not some kind of nationalistic slogan, as it might seem to a non-Israeli. The original wording is "Am Segula", meaning "A people of virtue", a traditional Jewish description of The Chosen People.

So why talk about politics now
This line is spoken, rather than sung, after the music stops. Why talk about politics now. It will only make us sad. We all know that world just brings a disaster upon a disaster upon us. We all know that nothing would change for the better.

Some chosen people we are.

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