Monday, March 21, 2011

What's Most Amazing About This Video Is Not The Music

When I was in middle school, we did a lot of fundraisers, just like you guys do now. But although some of our fundraisers were for timely things, like Japan, a lot of them were to help Russian Jews. 10,000 Russian Jews left Russia every month when I was in middle school- many to come to the US, and quite a few even came to my school. While it was a big deal that they were even allowed to leave (which hadn't been true for the previous 100 years), they weren't leaving because they'd heard the US was a great vacation destination. They were leaving because it was really, really hard to be Jewish in Russia- discrimination was widespread and socially acceptable.

Which is why this video made me cry (EMBARASSING BUT TRUE.) Purim is kind of a stupid holiday- the Jewish equivalent of halloween, not a big deal. But that these students were able to make this video- that is a big deal. I'm always interested in music and its connections to social justice, and this is a wonderful example of music as an example OF justice. All those pennies and dollars my classmates and I collected- who knows what difference our money made. But SOMETHING made a difference. In the words of Dr. King, "The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice."

(Unless you speak Russian, watch with the captions on.)

Here in America, this video is unexciting, but even today in Russia, it was news, and got some anti-semitic (fancy word for anti-Jewish) responses. Said the director: “We didn’t mean to provoke anyone with our performance... We believe that singing and dancing are the universal languages that everyone can relate to regardless of nationality or religion. We hope that they help unite and bring people together.”


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