Pogue mahone, Lieberman! An anthem for the new year

Avigdor Lieberman (Sivan Hurvitz)
Avigdor Lieberman (Sivan Hurvitz)

This is the story of a song. It was first composed by John Maguire of Cork city, in the days preceding Ronald Ragean’s 1984 visit to Ireland. “I remember literally lying on the bed,” Maguire later told, “and listening to someone from the U.S. State Depatment on Gay Byrne’s show telling the people of Ireland how to behave, and I remember literally standing up and saying: “Hey Ronnie Reagan, I’m black and I’m pagan!” and sometimes songs write themselves in a phrase.”

The song Maguire composed became more familiar in the rendition of Ireland’s best loved troubadour: Christy Moore. “Hey Ronnie Reagan,” sang Moore, “I’m black and I’m pagan / I’m gay and I’m left and I’m free / I’m a non-fundamentalist / environmentalist / Please don’t bother me.” Both Moore and Maguire regarded the U.S. President’s visit as an attempt to “buy” an Irish NATO membership. The said membership never materialized–could the song have had anything to do with that?

Believing as we do that songs can and do change the course of history, my girlfriend Ruthie and myself composed a Hebrew version, directed at our Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, whose original Russian name is Evet. We posted the song on Youtube on Thursday, and the view count 48 hours later stands at 3500, which means it’s gone viral by local standards. All the responses so far are positive.

This is surprising, considering how accusatory the song is. Besides accusing Lieberman of fearmongering, isolating Israel in the world and killing our democracy, it mentions the mysterious multi-million company run by his daughter, for which he has been under investigation for years and years now, with no legal implications to date.

The number of Lieberman apologists somewhat decreased in recent weeks, since he popped up in Moscow and endorsed Putin following the obviously rigged elections there. The Russian community is upset with him, but we were expecting non-Russian Israelis to jump to the defense of this champion of right-wing politics. The blow will doubtlessly arrive. Meanwhile, we’re enjoying the song’s positive impact and the sense of empowerment we receive from people who liked it. We need more protest songs, and an Irish import can only be of value.

In honor of the year 2012, which brings with it a new, precious sense of hope. I’m proud to share “Kiss my (arse) Evet” with the kind readers of +972, and provide an honest attempt at a translation. Maguire’s own version of the song appears further down. If anyone has any idea how to reach this guy or Moore, and let them know their song is being rekindled in the middle east, please let us know, otherwise – share it with friends. Translating a song is a job for two, but it takes a village to actually get Evet into a kissing position.


In different days, two decades ago
We spoke here gladly of equality
Threats have borne fruit, and now remains lonely
Only one bleeding heart in Kfar Saba

Kiss my (arse) Evet. I too am a refusenik
I’m gay and I’m left and I’m free
I help Sudanese asylum seekers, try to recycle
Please don’t bother me.

You’ve been playing chess for a while now
With a future I’d almost believed in
Stroking your beard with a vacant gaze
The strong, romantic leader

You whitewash Putin, enrich daughter,
A trail of corruption follows you,
Racism and fearmongering, myths about traitors
I will never buy into your lies.

Kiss my (arse) Evet. I too am a refusenik
I’m gay and I’m left and I’m free
I help Sudanese asylum seekers, try to recycle
Please don’t bother me.

The economy’s in crisis, general pessimism abounds
Multitudes can’t make ends meet
Look here – to the side! There’s Ahemdinijad
With the gasoline of threats you ignite more flames.

Inside the bomb shelter we’ll cover up in idiocy
Because you prefer us obedient
No need for social justice, we’ll give it up for you
And be ever so loyal

Kiss my (arse) Evet. I too am a refusenik
I’m gay and I’m left and I’m free
I help Sudanese asylum seekers, try to recycle
Please don’t bother me.

Such a Froeign Minister you are, with not a trace of regret,
Each day you make us a new enemy
A stumbling democracy, our country is trembling
beginning to see what’s emerging within it.

Silencing NGOs, belive me, that’s peanuts,
Compared with your entire body of work.
There’s no way to express what little would remain
Should we sell our freedom to you.