Leaders from Fatah and Hamas were outraged over the weekend when their interview on Al-Jazeera included the playing of "It Was My Homeland," a radically modified version of the Palestinian national anthem "My Homeland (Biladi)."
Open Dialogue, a political talk show hosted by Ghassan ben Jeddo, played the modified anthem to stimulate comments and conversation between the rival Palestinian guests.
On the panel were Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan and Fatah central committee member Nasser al-Qudwa, who were invited to discuss the issues that divide their movements.
According to a translation by the Maan News Agency, the parody included the lines, "Curse and perversity, plague and hypocrisy" instead of "Glory and beauty, sublimity and splendor," "Tyrants and oppressors, cunning not fidelity" instead of "Life and deliverance, pleasure and hope," and "Servile and muzzled, poisoned by your leaders" instead of "Safe and comforted, sound and honored."
Qudwa reportedly responded that the parody "has reached an unacceptable degree and an unprecedented regression," and Hamdan said it is the "worst degree of degradation in the Palestinian arena."
The song surfaced on the Internet a month ago but has yet to reach a wider English-speaking audience. After originally being posted on YouTube and subsequently distributed across the Internet, a simple English search on YouTube and Google for "Palestinian Anthem Parody," does not return a single relevant result despite various reports of the song having been viewed and heard tens of thousands of times across the Internet in Arabic.
Written in 1934 by Palestinian poet Ibrahim Touqan and musically arranged thereafter by Lebanese composer Muhammad Flaifel, "My Homeland" is believed to have been written in response to Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel and the changing demographics of the country. In 1996, the poem was recognized as the national anthem of the Palestinian Authority. In 2004, it was adopted as the national song of Iraq.