The New Folklore: An Interview with Orphaned Land

If you follow Metal Blast (and you most definitely should), you might remember that a few months ago, when we covered the PPM Festival, we interviewed Kobi Farhi, the singer of Orphaned Land.

Since the interview had to be cut short, Kobi suggested that we should do a follow up later in the year. Well, this massive wall of text is that follow up.

What follows is the (painstakingly written) transcript of a one-hour phone call that I had with Kobi and in which we covered pretty much everything that could be related to Orphaned Land, Israel and their new album, All is One.


Metal Blast: Hi Kobi; It’s great to talk with you again, we had a great interview at the PPM Festival earlier this year, so it’s great to be able to do this. How are you doing?
Kobi: I’m Ok… I just have a little cold; we just got back from South America and I think I got the flu or something, but I’m very busy and very happy, because the album is going to be released. I’m just tryint to be calm and have some rest at home.

Metal Blast: So, other than South America, what else have you been doing since our last meeting?
K:
We have been mostly focusing on the promotion of the album; I did some promo days in Germany, we defined the release dates, we are preparing a big release party in Israel in July, we have to film the video clips for the album… it’s very busy all the time, even if I’m just sitting at home.

MB: I’ve been keeping up with all the news about “All is One”, the documentary that will accompany it… oh, and the presale, which went really well. I was fortunate enough to be able to pre-ordered a limited white vinyl in time, since it sold out right away!
K:
Yeah, the white vinyl sold out immediately, I don’t even think I have a copy for myself! [laughs]. The reaction was amazing, we did the presale on our website of signed copies, and we got shitload of orders! I think that this coming weeked we’ll turn my house into a packing factory and the members of Orphaned Land will be making packages all the weekend!

MB: I can imagine! The other limited edition, which included a hardcover booklet, was also about to sell out a couple of days ago, which shows that there is a lot of expectation for this album.
K:
Yeah; the reviews and the reactions so far are really amazing; I just discovered, for example, that the guitarist of Blind Guardian, Markus Siepen, chose “All is One” as the best album amongst 40 that Metal Hammer sent him. We achieved position #4  in Metal Hammer and Rockhard.. there is a magazine in Germany called “Legacy” and they gave us #1, even though I think there are 65 journalists that are making these ratings, so that’s really great. I know that Metal Hammer UK is going to come to Israel to make a big feature story for our launch party show…
Things are looking really great so I just hope the people will react the same way and maybe we’ll be a big band [laughs].

MB: I’ve been listening to this album a lot and, I must say, I really like it. I really enjoy the diversity that is present throughout the album; fror instance, “Brother”, “All is One” and “Freedom” are three of my favorite songs and, at the same time, show the wide array of influences and styles that are present here. Be it with the symphonic elements in “Brother”, the ethnic influences in “All is One” or the heavy metal vibe of “Freedom”, it seems clear that there was a desire to make a very diverse album.
K
: Yeah. You see, some of the bands we listen to, and that we actually like, basically play different versions of the same thing throughout their career, but that’s never the case with Orphaned Land; each and every song of Orphaned Land is completely different from the others…sometimes you can just get confused and wonder if it is still the same band, and that’s something that I really like about Orphaned Land. We go wherever we go and that makes us very rich and diverse. I think that this diversity makes it easier for the listener to come back to the album and listen to it again and again.

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“The diversity makes it easier for the listener to come back to the album and listen to it again and again.”

MB: Orphaned Land has usually been considered a progressive metal band, yet there seems to have been a change in this regard in the case of “All is One”, since the music seems a bit more approachable than some of your previous material, perhaps lacking some of the technical and complex elements that you used to feature. Was there also a desire to be more approachable?
K: I don’t think that there was a specific desire to be more approachable, but it was definitely a deliberate move of ours to be more direct and acceptable with our messages. we are a band now for 22 years and we still write about, and focus on, the same subjects; if you read the lyrics of an Orphaned Land song written 22 years ago and you then read a new song it’s the same topic. However, we said to ourselves that, yes, we had reached some very respectable levels of complex and proggressive music, but we felt that we wanted to make an album that would be more fun to do, an album in which I wanted to use more of my clean vocals and where we wanted to do things a little bit more epic; it never came from a situation in which we thought that we wanted to be more commercial or sell more records, I would never do that, but I felt that we wanted to make things a bit easier, maybe because we are getting older, maybe because we want our messages to be easier to understand by people, because we feel that our lyrics and message are very important.
I guess that it’s a combination of all of these reasons and I think that we have succeeded; I honestly believe that this is my best vocal work ever and that this is the best album by Orphaned Land. I really feel that the spirit of Orphaned Land is still there; it’s still progressive, it’s still very layered, you can still feel that this is Orphaned Land, and that’s the most important thing for me, that the fans still recognize that this is the band that they know.

MB: One of the things about changing your style, going from something progressive, whether deliberately or not, to something more approachable, is that there is always a chance that you are going to end up alienating fans; people who got accostumed to a certain style and that then almost feel betrayed when it chanhes. As a matter of fact, I read some Israeli magazines in which they drew parallels with some ethno pop from the region, mentioning Kobi Peretz as an example.  Do you think that there is always that risk? That the softening of the style will be seen by some people as trying to “go mainstream”?
K:
The thing is that in Israel we released a single for the song “Shama’im”, the 8th track in the album. When people there listened only to this song they were a little scared! The song was written for us by Yehuda Poliker, a very important Israeli composer. It songs, in a way, very ethnic, and it doesn’t necessarily sound like Orphaned Land, so we just asked the people to wait until they listened to the whole album and THEN decide, since this is just one piece of the puzzle.

MB: Maybe with Shama’im they were already thinking of you in the Eurovision Song Contest.
K:
I mean, if you take “The Neverending Way of Orwarrior” and listen to thesong “New Jerusalem”… would that reflect the whole album? No, of course not.
People shouldn’t judge based on one song, although I think that the majority of the comments coming from Israel, after listening to Brother”, “Let the Truce be Known” and “Our Own Messiah”, which are the three that we have released on Youtube, were amazing.

MB: Knowing that Shama’Im did have that potential to alienate some, why did you choose to release it first?
K:
Because we never make music to satisfy people; we never write our music to answer the need of other people, we simply follow our heart. Yehuda Poliker, who wrote this song, is one of the artists that I admire the most; as a matter of fact, we took the name “Orphaned Land” from one of his songs back in the 90s. In many ways, he was attached to the band, so having him writing a whole song for us (it wasn’t something he had already written, it was a song that he specifically wrote for us) is something that makes me very proud. I believe that it’s a great song, the lyrics and the music are great, and even if it “isn’t metal”, I don’t think that it has to mean that it’s bad music.
If people don’t like this song, that’s fine. There are those who have told us that it’s their favorite song of the album, even if they first had to get used to it, while others said that it wasn’t their cup of tea, and I’m OK with that. I can’t satisfy everyone.

MB: Whatever you do, you will always alienate someone, so if you try please everyone you won’t be able to release anything.
Since the message is very important for Orphaned Land, and you put a lot of weight into the content and meaning of the songs, could you give me some insight on the songs of the album?
K:
There is a big controversy between the album cover and the title, and what’s actually in the song. You have this logo showing this utopian idea of combining the three religions, but what’s actually happening in the lyrics is the complete opposite! Even the song All is One, before the chorus I’m saying “Again and again we fail to see that all is one”. So the face of the album deals with this utopian dream, while the songs deal with the tragic reality.

  • ALL IS ONE is, in a way, a hymn that we dedicate to our fans from the Middle East, the muslim metalheads. We ask them the questions “Shall we re-live the pain of wars before?/ Or shall we be the light, the new folklore?”. It’s a very important song, for me it’s the hymn of the oriental metal genre, dealing with the fact that still we fail to see that all is one!
  • SIMPLE MAN: It’s about the fact that we follow others; human beings are like sheep and we follow anyone who has a bit of charisma, be it a singer, a prime minister or a TV show; we are very easy to be manipulated by others. It’s a story that I basically wrote about myself; many times I’m standing on stage looking like Jesus Christ, telling people our songs, our stories and our messages, but the truth is that, at the end of the day, I’m just a simple man. I believe in simple men, I don’t believe in idols, I don’t believe in messiahs, I don’t believe that we should sit and wait for a messiah to come and rescue us.

MB: Does it scare you that people may put a lot of weight into what you say when, as you say, you are just a simple man?
K:
Yeah, it scares the shit out of me! I am nothing more than anyone else, and I never want to feel that I am more. I am always embarrassed when people are talking to me as if I a great or outstanding human being, because that is not true. I am just a simple man like everybody else. I want people to remember that, that it’s just theater, it’s just a show.

MB: Maybe it also has to do with the region from where you are coming; to see a person giving a peace-loving message in Germany, the US or Brazil doesn’t carry the same weight as someone doing it in a place that has been in constant conflict for decades, so perhaps that gives you some extra moral weight when people listen to you.
K:
Fair enough, but I don’t believe in the existence of messiahs or shepherds who need to lead us; everyone should be the shepherd of himself.
We are living in a world that educates us, in general, to be stupid. I speak about it in the song Fail”, which is a very angry manifest about how we are manipulated by the media or by anyone with a bit of charisma and sit and wait for a messiah to rescue us as if we were some blonde princess sitting and waiting, thinking that happiness is everywhere except here and now.
If you look at history, thousands of years ago, we are big experts of killing, conquering and trying to rule one another, and if you look at us today… what have we learned?
When I look at Syria, the fact that the international community is not doing anything, the fact that Russia is holding the whole world back so nothing happens in Syria, while thousands (I think more than 100,000) are dying there.
We haven’t learned anything; we still pull the trigger very easily and solve problems with fire, and don’t do anything to solve this, because we always trust our Prime Ministers and our leaders, waiting for someone to come and give us hope and to lead us, as if it was Moses leading the Israelites to the promised land. People should be their own leaders and the ones who guide and teach themselves; this is a very important message that I’m trying to say in several songs in this album, like “Simple Man”, “Fail” and “Our Own Messiah” (which ends with “we are the messiah we need, my son”).

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I am nothing more than anyone else, and I never want to feel that I am more

MB: It also shifts the responsibility, because you convince yourself that everything is someone else’s problem.
K:
Yeah, and we have all the excuses in the world! “I didn’t do anything, he fucked my life, so he should fix it”, but we wait and wait and nothing happens.
You know, in the 1948 war the Arab leaders told all the Arabs “run away from Israel, and when we win the war you will come back”. The thing is that they lost the war and then became refugees, so haven’t come back ever since and still wait for those leaders to bring them back.
I strongly believe that we should not count on leaders, messiahs or anyone. Any time in history in which  a messiah rose, he always ended up executed by the move; be it Mahatma Ghandi, Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Che Guevara, John Lennon… you name it. Anyone big ended up being assassinated!

MB: Right; the same people that prop you up end up being the same that bring you down. The best example would be the French Revolution, where Robespierre, one of the most important people in the Revolution, ends up being executed by the same mob that gave him the power.
We’ve derailed enough! so..

  • BROTHER: It’s the story of Ishmael and Isaac, the sons of Abraham. I sing it from the point of view of Isaac, because he is the “father” of the Israelis. Jews and Arabs are brothers; it’s very hard to acknowledge that today, because Arabs and Israelis hate each other so much, but history proves that we are brothers, and the fact that we believe in the same story and the same prophets, with some slight differences or changes.
    The conflict began back then between the two mothers. 1)Hagar is Ishmael’s mother, while Sarah is Isaac’s mother In this song I’m the grown up brother who comes and apologizes, even if it’s not my fault, because being the grown up means asking for forgiveness first, even if it’s not right, even if there’s no justice, because you are a grownup and that’s what it’s expected from grownups. This is especially true if people are dying, if children are dying… why are we all acting like children? Why are we focusing on who is guilty? Why are we the victims while the other side is wrong?
    There is a saying in Hebrew that says that the truth has three sides, my side, your side and the truth. Why shouldn’t we accept the fact that it’s not just black and white?  We have our share in the story, and why shouldn’t I be the grown up person and come first and say “BRother, I am sorry for all of this bloodshed. We are brothers and I love you… I don’t think that you’ve been fair either, but I will be the first to ask for your forgiveness”. That’s what I’m doing in this song.
  • LET THE TRUCE BE KNOWN: Lyric-wise, it’s one of the strongest songs that we have ever written; it’s mainly inspired by the World War I story of “The Christmas Truce”. I was shocked by two things in this story: The human spirit rising above the complete bullshit for one night, with the help of music, alcohol and the holiday (the English heard the Germans singing). I was amazed to see the human spirit rising above the conflict because of music, amazed at how afterwards they just went back to be sheep, follow their shepherd and fight each other. I found it really touching, because if you think of the Israeli-Arab conflict, we are brothers, so every time there is an Israeli fighting an Arab, it’s brother against brother, so I just wanted to tell myself the same story, where maybe one day we’ll succeed because of music, we’ll rise above and remember that we are brothers. Then again, the cycle of bloodshed is so strong that once you come back to the present, we still kill each other… that’s our life, we always have hope, but evil always prevails.
    When it comes to the simple men, they just drink and dance with each other, but when it comes to the shepherd, they will always treat us like puppets and send us like puppets to kill each other, and that’s something I won’t accept.
    I would expect people in a conflict to not go back to fight each other the next day but to rise up together, pointing their fingers to their leaders saying “FUCK OFF! You wanna fight? Beat the shit out of each other if you want!”. If this ever happened, I would die of happiness.

MB: The sad thing happens when the leaders of the country are also able to convince people to hate each other. In the US you see it now, after the events in Boston, the huge backlash against Muslims in the media; we’ve come to a point in our society where inciting that kind of hatred, in such a large scale, is acceptable.
K:
We take three things as if they were the absolute truth: Religion, the Media and our Leaders. We simply follow them! We are the simple people, they are the “clever ones”, so we follow them. “We have to go to war”. “We have to go to die”, “We have to send our kids to be soldiers”, “We have to be poor”… that’s the biggest manipulation in the world.
I think that the world is changing; when you see the revolutions in the Arab spring or what is happening in Turkey or in Brazil… the individual today has much more information; we are becoming less and less sheep and more and more aware of what’s going on, so we cannot be lead like that.

MB: I see that you have a certain resentment against political leaders, the media and religion, or at least the way in which the latter is used. So, when we think of the Arab-Israeli conflict, there are, in very broad terms, two options, either a two-state solution or a one-state solution. Do you think that it should be just one people united?
K:
You’re asking a very tough question. I think that our complete education is fucked up; I think that it won’t matter if it’s one state, a dual-state or two states living across each other; as long as we don’t change our whole education system, human beings will always kill each other. Instead of learning of Alexander the Great, Saladin or Napoleon, I’d be happy if my kids were to learn about the value of life and why life is so sacred that you can’t just come and kill someone because of a conflict!
I would be happy to turn the focus of the whole educational system into more important things; I would like children to learn about a dialogue, to look beyond their own positions and learn about “the other side”, to listen, talk to and understand each other. These are the things that I want children to learn. And if Israeli and Palestinian children could learn from the greatest teachers in the world about the value of life, about the fact that you cannot kill someone, just as you cannot fuck your own mother.
If people find terrible to fuck their own mothers, why won’t they feel the same about killing other people?! Why does that  make sense, while fucking your mother doesn’t?!

MB: There is absolutely no question that some kids in the Occupied Territories, be it Gaza or the West Bank, are brought up in hatred. You’ve probably seen some of the horrendous children shows they have there…
K:
Believe me, I know the propaganda of Hamas and Hezbollah.

MB: At the same time, however, do you think that children in Israel, perhaps the orthodox children in the settlements in the Occupied Territories, are brought up in hatred as well, by means of propaganda?
For example, you mentioned the messages that the Arab leaders sent to the Palestinians in 48… well, that is propaganda. Those messages were simply never sent, it didn’t happen.
K:
So how did all the Arabs run away?

MB: They didn’t; they were expelled.
K:
I will give you an example. I was born in Jaffa; before the 1948 war it consisted of almost 80,000 Arabs. After the war there were 3,000 Arabs left in Jaffa. It’s impossible for the 1948 Israeli army to expel 77,000 people out of Jaffa. Take my word for it; it’s impossible to do that. I cannot think of any way to do that; definitely not with the army that we had in 1948, that’s just impossible. 2)The story of the methods of Ethnic Cleansing used against the Palestinians in 1948, including in Jaffa, can be read in Pappe, Ilan, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine; as for the (nonexistent) broadcasts see the essay “Broadcasts” written by Christopher Hitchens in Said, Edward & Hitchens, Christopher (eds.) Blaming the Victims
You know what? I don’t care; what I was trying to say is that if we changed our educational system and learned to respect life and one another, to know that all is one, why would I care if I lived with a Palestinian guy? Why would I care if they would come back here? Why would I care if this country was an Israeli, Jewish, Muslim or whatever, if we know how to live together and respect each other?

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I’d be happy if my kids were to learn about the value of life and why life is so sacred that you can’t just come and kill someone because of a conflict!”

MB: The biggest problem right now appears to come, in part, from the religion extremism found on both sides, and which is used by the politicians, Secular Palestinians don’t care who they live next to, just like secular Israelis don’t care either, they both simply care about their security. If you take the religious extremism on both sides, the puppet masters or the shepherds we talked about…
K:
You know, people sometimes ask me if I still have hope. I do have hope, and I know what needs to happen for this situation to be fixed. If you ask me what it is, well, it’s a complete utopia. If you want things to change then you need to change the whole educational system, all around the world, and then you need about 50 Mahatma Gandhi to rise.
If you take Gandhi, the greatest thing about him is that he was a simple man. He was sewing his old clothes, eating nothing but bread and drinking water… and yet he was so great. I can imagine a Palestinian and an Israeli Gandhi talking together and solving this problem; how great would that be?
Our only hope is to change the educational system and to have simple men as our leaders. Until then, all the Camp Davids, all the talk negotiations, all the talks are just another brick in a wall that will never break.

MB: So you don’t think that in our lifetime we’ll see this situation solved, unless this utopian vision materializes?
K:
No. It’s very bitter to say it, but it’s true. I’m becoming more bitter as the years go by; I’ve been singing about the same things for the last 22 years, so if you ask me if things have become better well, no, they haven’t. The refugees are still refugees, Israel still has enemies, our children still grow up to be soldiers… everything is the fucking same. It’s a turmoil that never ends.
It won’t happen in my lifetime, and it won’t happen at all unless we completely change our educational system and fail to have leaders like Gandhi rising in 50 countries. If that doesn’t happen then we are doomed and we’ll stay like this forever.

MB: Since you mention soldiers, and you’ll have to forgive me for this personal question, but how did you do it when you had to do your mandatory service?
K:
I was just a mechanic.

MB: I was asking because within the Israeli army, just like it happens in the US with conscientious objectors, there are some groups that now oppose serving in the Occupied Territories. At least it’s always a good sign when soldiers are trying to remove themselves from the conflict. With our previous interview we also saw similar things on the comments left on Youtube, with people from countries that paint themselves as enemies of Israel manifesting their appreciation and support for the band and its message.
K:
There’s always hope and I think that the movement of Orphaned Land and our fans is one of the most amazing things in the world today, especially in the Middle East, but I still think that it’s too little and too late to change something. Having said that, it’s still an amazing phenomenon to see Muslims and Jews simply coexisting because of Metal Music.

MB: It was something that, honestly, I would have never expected, but it’s a wonderful thing to see that despite the reputation that metal has as an antisocial thing, it actually works, in your case, as a uniting force.
K:
I really think that people should take an example from the metalheads of our world, since they are best example of how to coexist. Those “freaks” are the people who can teach religious people, politicians and people in general simply how to coexist. I’m proud to be a metalhead because of that, and I know that metal music is probably one of the most sincere styles of music, which is why I was shocked when I saw Iron Maiden as a kid, because I could definitely see that it stood out as something different and stronger than anything else. I’m proud to be a part of this community and that my band, a metal band, succeeded to achieve such great things in the middle east.
As I told you in our previous interview, I hope that every metalhead will be proud, because this story doesn’t belong to us in Orphaned Land, it belong to the metal scene.

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“I’m becoming more bitter as the years go by”

MB: I agree.
Now, continuing with the songs…

  • THROUGH FIRE AND WATER : It’s a love song. Love never lets you when or how it comes; a lot can happen between a Muslim and a Jew, between an Israeli and a Palestinian, because that’s how love is. It’s a love song that talks about how,  despite the conflict, despite the war, despite living in a river of blood, “through fire and water I will go with you”, because that’s the meaning of love. If you love your kid or your wife, it means that through fire and water you will go with them; I think that it’s one of the only optimistic songs in the album, a reminder that love still exists.
  • FAIL: It’s really connected with “Through Fire and Water”. It starts like a slap in the face, because love sometimes brings us into euphoria until we’re thrown back into reality.
    It’s a very angry manifest about the media, prime ministers, politicians and religious figures in general, about how we are educated to be stupid and to be sheep, to wait for a messiah to rescue us, the we go to war without knowing what we are fighting for or why we are risking our lives. It’s about our failure to see that all is one. I really like the lyrics to this song and I was really angry when I wrote them… it’s the only one in the album in which I growl.
  • FREEDOM: We made it an instrumental song because we didn’t want people to think, we just wanted them to close their eyes and be free for two minutes, right after we sent them into the battlefields and through history. It’s a with elements of traditional middle eastern ballads in which we just wanted the audience to have a moment of freedom. It’s simply a few minutes of an oriental celebration of those moments of freedom in which we close our eyes and have hope.
  • SHAMA’IM: It means “Heaven” or “Sky”. It was written especially for us by Yehuda Poliker; it’s a song about Israel and the way in which we are turning the holy land and the promised land into an orphaned land. It’s his own way of saying why we are following all of these leaders instead of focusing of what is real and true; that’s how we translated the message of Orphaned Land into the song.
  • YA BENAYE: It’s a cover song; it’s a celebratory song, a love song that we just wanted to include in the album. Countries in the Middle East are always alternating between tragedies and celebrations; that’s our life here, it’s very sad and very happy. We like crazy when we’re happy and yet we cry so much. We thought that it would be a great song to put in the album, as this song starts with the words “Why are you crying, my beloved one” while, on the other hand, it’s a very happy song. It was great to do a metal cover for this song.
  • OUR OWN MESSIAH: It asks the question of why we keep holding on to these same prayers for all these years when nothing has changed. Why do we keep praying and praying? How come 2,000 years have passed since Jesus came and yet people keep waiting for him to come back? How can it be that we don’t realize that nothing has changed and that maybe we need to change first?
    We are like puppets. I used to be a religious person, but then I found that I felt closer to God the farther I went from religion. The more I have abandoned the idea that a Messiah will come and rescue me from this shitty life, the more I have started to do something, to change something; the moment I understood that if there is a Messiah then it is the Messiah inside me, the Messiah that we have inside of all of us. And I have succeeded to do wonders with Orphaned Land not because I am a Messiah or a special man, but rather because I started doing something about it instead of waiting for my leaders, politicians or friends to do something; I decided to do something myself.

MB: Are you still a person of faith? Or have you abandoned spirituality altogether?
K:
I’m very much into spirituality, but I don’t follow any of the existing religions, since I think that they are all bankrupt.
When people see a cover of Orphaned Land or hear about us, many think that we are religious, or following religion or that we are preaching that the church is good for you. Not at all; I definitely not practice or follow any of the religions of today. I simply see God when I see good people.

MB: So you believe in God, simply God?
K:
I believe in God and I believe in good people. God and “good” are very similar!

MB: Definitely; once you start being too specific about your religious beliefs, that’s when you start to have these conflicts.
—And the last song…

  • CHILDREN: It’s mainly inspired by what’s going on right now I Syria, but it’s dedicated to children in general. You and me, we live in a world where children are dying by the hands of adults, and I cannot accept it and will continue to be ashamed of the human race for as long as it happens. I cannot stand the fact that we try to find reasons for why it’s happening instead of changing it. This is my punishment, to continue living in this world and seeing children die knowing that we could change our educational system, but that I’m not strong enough to do it myself.
    The song it’s from the eyes of a child, asking his parents “why have you abandoned me? must I grow to be like you?” because, in the end, the children will be like their parents. There is a reason why I’m going to be 38 soon and still don’t have any children, because I think that it is very selfish of me to bring children into this world and have to explain to them my knowledge of the world and yet have to send them to be a soldier in an army of people who are stupider and more powerful than me; I find it ridiculous. I don’t know when it will change, but I still cannot bring children into this world.
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” I believe in God and I believe in good people. God and “good” are very similar!”

MB: Have you considered doing something with Orphaned Land in the Occupied Territories?
K:
I don’t think we can, because the army won’t let us in.

MB: Not even into the West Bank? I know that Gaza is under siege, but I thought that you’d be able to go there…
K:
Yes, but you need to go through these army checkpoints, where they’ll ask you why the fuck you are going there, you need to get permission to go there.
We also can’t go to Egypt because even though there is a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel in paper, if I go I wouldn’t know if I would come back.

MB: The particularly sad thing about Egypt is that so many people were hopeful about the “Arab Spring” bringing democracy there, but in the end they just changed tyrants.
K:
We can only play in Turkey, but we have fans from other countries in the region who come there to see us, but sadly only those who can afford it.
We cannot play to the crowd that we want to play for the most.

MB: At least now with the Internet  you do get to reach them. I mean, 20 years ago, when you just started Orphaned Land they wouldn’t have even known you.
K:
I still have hope and believe we can do the impossible, so maybe something will change in the future and we’ll be able to achieve our goal of playing there. I’m a man of hope, even if I’m a little bit more bitter as the years go by, I am still a man of hope.

MB: I can understand this frustration; you see this type of frustration with people who work in human rights or peace initiatives, as they grow older seeing that all remains the same.
K:
That’s true, but on the other hand a lot is changing for us. We have more fans, our movement is bigger and more people are following us…
You need to be strong if you want to be a warrior. You need to have a lot of air in your lungs and a lot of hope, you need to be ready to lose again and again; that’s maybe the blessing and the curse of the human kind, that we also have hope, no matter what’s happening.
Even if live to only see a slight change, I would be happy to bring kids into this world to continue and carry the things that I believe in.

MB: Any final message for your fans?
K:
Check out our new album, it’s a story of metal from the Middle East. Check it, read the lyrics and hopefully you’ll like it and meet us in our next tour.
…I think I’ve already said everything else that I had to say!

References   [ + ]

1. Hagar is Ishmael’s mother, while Sarah is Isaac’s mother
2. The story of the methods of Ethnic Cleansing used against the Palestinians in 1948, including in Jaffa, can be read in Pappe, Ilan, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine; as for the (nonexistent) broadcasts see the essay “Broadcasts” written by Christopher Hitchens in Said, Edward & Hitchens, Christopher (eds.) Blaming the Victims