From the AP, Aug. 26:
YAMOUN, West Bank – They were struggling in a boy band, working the West Bank wedding circuit and dreaming of stardom.
Now the five singers who make up the Northern Band have come a little closer to their goal, with help from an unwitting ally – Hezbollah guerrilla chief Hassan Nasrallah.
At the height of the Israel-Hezbollah war, the band wrote new lyrics, in praise of Nasrallah, for an old tune. The “Hawk of Lebanon” song tapped into Nasrallah’s popularity among Palestinians and became an instant hit. The song is being played on Arab TV, used as a cell-phone ring tone, passed around on e-mail and distributed on pirated CDs. Stores have trouble keeping up with demand, in part because Israeli soldiers have confiscated some Nasrallah tapes and CDs at checkpoints.
Basking in its success, the band has doubled its performance fee to $230. At a recent wedding, the band was asked to play the song six times.
Lead singer and manager Alaa Abu al-Haija, 28, said he gives the audiences what they want. “I see people turning toward Islam, so I have to sing to that,” said Alaa in the northern West Bank village of Yamoun.
The lyrics consist of constant repetition of a few simple rhymes: “Hey, you, hawk of Lebanon. Hey, you, Nasrallah. Your men are from Hezbollah and victory is yours with God’s help.” Alaa and his two younger brothers and band partners – Nour, 25, and Mohammed, 22 – are already working on the next song about Nasrallah.
Israeli police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said the song is considered inflammatory and that tapes and CDs containing it will be confiscated. He said police in Jerusalem have found no copies of the song yet, but that officers have searched music stores and are on the lookout for contraband.
Palestinian society is divided, with some pledging loyalty to the Islamic militant group Hamas, which took power in March, and others backing the Fatah movement of moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“We used to sing for Saddam,” said Saed Akrawi, 26, whose perfume shop in Jenin is adorned with a Nasrallah portrait. “Saddam is gone. We want someone else to sing for.”
The translated lyrics are online at The World Global Hit:
I hail thee, hawk of Lebanon
I welcome thee, Hassan Nasrallah
Here are your men, Hezbollah
Victory, victory with the help of God.
Nasrallah, this brave person
He responded to the calls to take vengeance
The Arab blood became hotter and hotter
The boldness and the courage that characterizes this battle is an Islamic courage
You can launch as many rockets as you want
But our people will never surrender
History will write your story
And God will always bless you
Your rockets in Israel all generations will talk about
And your Katyushas have scared the Zionists
Nasrallah, raise your voice
Our people are used to welcoming death
We do not want money or treasures or wealth
All we want is to live a free life
Blood only brings blood
And I hope we can destroy your life and make you worry
Zionism and Zionists are the biggest poison in Arab land