Name: Unsung Prophets and Dead Messiahs, which is







Jennifer Labban

Dr. May Mayassi

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Why did
Orphaned Land fail to convey their message?

Orphaned Land is an
Israeli oriental doom death metal band that was named Resurrection in its
earlier days; it was formed in 1991 and it has always combined Jewish, Arabic,
and other West Asian influences. Different band members were changed throughout
the years but only two founding members remain to this day: Kobi Farhi, the
vocalist of the band, and Uri Zelcha, the bassist. They are known for their
messages that they convey in their lyrics; they encourage peace and unity
between religions. They play progressive, doom, death metal and mostly oriental
metal. The albums they created have different concepts; the first one released
in 1994 is named Sahara, which was more of a demo; it was like an introduction
of what would they release in their future years. The second one released in
1996 is named El Norra Alila, which means Illustrious God, it is mostly
oriental and it is actually based on a poem that Jewish people sing on the day
of atonement called Yom Kippur, which is their holiest day. The third album
released in 2004 is named Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven. The
story depicts three sons, each from an Abrahamic religion, trying to alert
people that a flood is coming their way to punish them for their sins. After
that, they released follow-ups to Mabool like The Never Ending Way of ORWarriOR.  The last album released in 2013 is entitled
All is One, but don’t let the name of the album fool you; it is their darkest
album. There is one more album that will be released in January 2018 titled Unsung
Prophets and Dead Messiahs, which is said to be the biggest production made by
them so far.

Each of their albums is usually
considered as one big musical journey, they share feelings of anger, joy, and
fear. Despite the fact that their songs include many prayers and biblical
themes, they are not religious people with the aim of preaching; the band
members identified themselves as atheists with a big message of peace to the

The name of the band Orphaned Land
is a paraphrase they used to name the holy land, which is also the Promised
Land that is supposed to be sacred, but instead it was a place for wars and
terror. It’s a multicultural band that likes to use different languages in the
songs while exploring them. They even have a choir that constitutes 25 people
singing either in Latin or Hebrew or Arabic or English.

In the year 2011, a
Lebanese belly dancer Johanna Fakhri performed alongside this Israeli band at
the Hellfest music festival in the western French town of Clisson. It was a
usual thing for a belly dancer to go on stage with them because of the band’s
use of oriental music. Before the performance, Fakhri suggested raising the
Lebanese flag alongside the Israeli flag while insisting on that idea. The lead
singer Kobi Farhi even told her about the danger and criticism that her action
may cause her; she didn’t care about all this but rather she showed her belief that
despite the war that took place in July 2006 in Lebanon, we are all one,
brothers and sisters. During the show, she raised the Lebanese flag, and then
Farhi tells the crowd at the concert “This is all about peace, my friends, and
we are all brothers and sisters. Now I want to see all of you jumping and party
with us, okay?” and the consequences started right after the concert. She
thought of looking at the future with an open mind but because of the
representation of her point of view, she started receiving death threats and
was banned to come back to Lebanon so she stayed in France.

Even Egyptian authorities put a fan
in prison for six months for “Satanism” after they found a CD for this band
with him. If music is satanic then what is everything else? We are living in a
closed-minded world that doesn’t let anybody have mental freedom. People are
choosing to follow societal traditions while being mental slaves. We even
change our identities in order to fit in and be part of this society that only
cares about enslaving us. Not only we don’t have the freedom to think for
ourselves, we’re not able to question anything; we end up accepting the
situation without our will. Moreover, why do politics should always be involved
in matters that should bring people together such as music and sports? It is
sad that we’re not able to express ourselves through anything without being
criticized. Somehow, music influences political movements in many cultures.
Songs often are used to convey a political message but with limits, it is
essential to know the history that inspired the musicians to write a certain
song.  We should keep in mind that is not
always known how the music will affect the audience. The positive thing is that
the message that the artists are working hard to give is bringing people from
different cultures together. In the case of Orphaned Land, the band members
consider that music is the most powerful force and they were able to see how their
fans are reacting to what they convey. It is a political band that always
highlighted the circumstances that are taking place in the Middle East. Not to
forget to mention that most of their fans are Arabs. Israelis and Arabs should be
enemies, the politicians don’t let us forget that with the help of the media
but it is the will of the people that help bring peace to our lands. On the
other hand, we are living in a somewhat primitive world where we are hugely
influenced by barbarism even though we can be the complete opposite and be kind
to one another only if we can use our minds the way it should be used. If we
look at the nature of our divine self, we feel the love, peace and joy without
the influence of anyone or anything. Moreover, it’s desire that exists in us,
and we desire to know the Self, hence love, peace, and joy are within our Self.
If we put our focus on the words that speak only the truth then we’ll become
closer to the Self and maybe then suffering will end.

Their album titled
All is One is one of the most tragic ones, though its message revolves around
unity, it is unfortunate that the world fails to see the clear and simple
message that we need to see desperately. The music produced in this album is
different than all the others since they needed clean vocals instead of growl
vocals to clearly convey their message. The songs speak about the tragedy
taking place in the Arab region; it’s a dream to be all connected to each
other, and become one. The whole album All is One actually represents Utopia
where everything is perfect, bringing together all the three Abrahamic
religions; it is shown in the logo where the cross, the star and the crescent
are put together. Even though the song All is One is uplifting while letting
the people see how the society suffered and still is because of never ending
problems. They are even abused by religious people who don’t let an individual
think for himself; there always should be rules and limits. Imagine if
individuals wore big long t-shirts, had long hair and tattoos in Egypt, Syria
or even Lebanon, they will be considered as freaks or Satanists right away
without a second thought. People tend to judge others right away and sadly,
judging leads to hate and wrongful thinking instead of letting each other
become the way they are. If we think it through, we are not only one as
humanity but we even share similar DNA; we are all part of this universe
together. What is really sad is that despite the fact that we are all one as
human beings, we surely fail to see that, no matter what we’re going through.

The second song is titled A Simple
Man, it is basically telling the story about a guy who has the abilities to be
a leader so he can take many people after him as a shepherd and at the same
he’s just a simple man. Since long ago and until now, we tend to follow people
with strength of character but the message continues to tell us that each one
of us is the shepherd and we need to stay as simple as we are instead of being
trapped in our world.

The third song is called Brother,
it’s based on the story of Isaac, who is the father of all Jews, and Ismael,
who is the father of all Arabs but they are both the sons of Abraham in the
Bible. It shows how despite the fact that we are brothers, we still hate each
other like enemies. It is a letter written from Isaac’s point of view for his
brother Ismael to forgive him in a way telling him that he misses him and maybe
they can work this out. We can see how people shape reality and history the way
they want; the hate is becoming so strong.

Furthermore, the fourth song Let
the Truce Be Known is an inspiration from the Christmas truce that happened in
World War I. It tells the story of the soldiers who took a break from war for
only one night and celebrated Christmas together; they drank together, laughed
together and switched presents, even hugged and kissed each other. The Utopia
existed only in the few hours when the war stopped and the human spirits rose
above conflicts and struggles. But unfortunately, the next day they had to kill
each other; they were trapped in a war they don’t know the purpose of it and
didn’t want to be in it. This is a tragedy of our region, even if we lift
ourselves up for one moment we’re still trapped in this turmoil of blood.

The fifth song is titled Through
Fire and Water is one of the most optimistic songs on the album. It is written
in Hebrew and Arabic, and it says that despite the love, the war and the
bloodshed, through fire and water I will go with you because this is the true
meaning of love. All the difficulties disappear in the name of love. Also, the
guest in the song is a Palestinian singer named Mira Awwad. This type of love
is similar to euphoria because it is so hard to have this impossible love in
the Middle East. Unfortunately the hate is blinding the people while leaving
love behind.

The sixth song is called Fail which
is an angry manifest to why do we fail to see that All is One. It is the way
that the media, religious leaders and politicians brainwash the people. Any
leader can seriously have charisma and we will follow him without looking back
because we are followers of the media and we walk towards our death very easily
just like sheep follow the shepherd. This mental manipulation limits our
freethinking; the mass media has become the number one influence concerning
terrorism and politics. In modern culture, the media is creating the culture
itself. We see televisions, billboards and magazines everywhere we go; they
catch our eyes immediately and the messages we get usually affect our moods and
attitudes. It all has become larger than any of us.

The seventh song is an instrumental
song titled Freedom; it fits to be at that spot because after all the
tragedies, sometimes you just want to breathe and feel the freedom that we don’t
actually have and don’t enjoy at all. We need balance in our lives in order to
survive and have control over ourselves. Only then we will be able to be
motivated again and move on.

The eighth song is called Shama’im;
one of the most famous Israeli songwriters named Yehuda Poliker offered to
write it. It is written in a way to describe the situation of the Middle East
and Israel in his own melancholic kind of way. It is in Hebrew but there is an
English translation as well so people will understand the lyrics. It talks
about the propaganda of the mass media that influences people and starts every
action while always being in the way of denial.

The ninth song is called Ya Benaye;
it is a folklore song, sung and written in Yemenite language by an Israeli
artist whose sons also sung with him.

The tenth is titled Our Own
Messiah, which asks a simple question, how can it be that we pray for so many
years, decades and centuries, everyone with his own God, waiting for a Messiah
to come and solve all the problems in the world that are leading to wars but
nothing happened. People are still killing each other, wars are all over the
world and human beings are dying everywhere. It is not only a Middle Eastern
problem, people are poor in all countries, bloodsheds are happening here and
there. We still keep on praying non-stop and no situation is fixed. So why
don’t we educate ourselves to solve the problems we face? We are the ones who
can change the situation and make it better. As long as we are still alive, education
should be our key to face corruption.

The eleventh song is called
Children; it is the most tragic song that Orphaned Land ever wrote. It is about
the children of Syria; more specifically it is dedicated to the ones who are
trapped in fire everywhere while the adults are throwing bombs at each other. It’s
a terrible situation that can’t be accepted. We’re coming from a region where
children are literally suffering and their future is doomed. Their innocence is
long gone and the situation can’t be fixed. It is written from the eyes and
voice of a child who is trying to ask questions to know the reasons why this is
happening to him and the most meaningful question is the one addressed to his
parents: “must I grow to be like you?” Whatever that may happen, our parents
inspire us, hence we act like them. This is how it all becomes a loop, even
though the children are innocent, they eventually grow to be like their

It is really bad to see that we
fail to see the message that all is one; we never see what the power within us
can make. What do wars achieve? Thousands of children are dying everywhere, and
the world is in denial. When we realize how harsh and critical the situation
is, we come to think of solutions that will bring us together but then again
something bigger than us happens and we fall on our knees. We definitely educate
ourselves in a wrong way; for example the most common gift given to children is
toy guns. This is when the problem begins, imagine a six years old kid killing
people in a computer game, is it just a game? It’s absolutely not. It plays
with their minds and lets them think that it is right to kill. What about the
kids who paint on missiles? This is the way the children of our countries are
drifting away and dying. People from different countries can really be in the same place
where hate is forgotten and only brotherhood and unity is remembered. The
message of peace is the most important one but there’s so much hate in the
world. And instead of finding ways to leave wars behind us, the politicians are
still leading our armies to fight. Of course, we are so small compared to the
world but the secret for peace lies in unity. We can make the world a better
place, maybe by delivering messages with music like Orphaned Land is doing.
People from all over the world attend their concerts and the band members ask
the audience to bring the flags of their countries with them. When they are all
in the same concert, they forget the hate and the wars; their focus is on
unification and love. There’s always a fear of what tomorrow may bring, we need
to see the misery we’re in so we can evolve. Spreading love and compassion will
lead to a good result; our reality could be changed if we decide to help each
other. No one is born as a bad or evil person, we learn how to label our enemy
based on the country he or she comes from but what about learning how to love
one another despite the hate that others created?



ORPHANED LAND (16/05/13)