Saturday, May 12, 2012

My friend Megan invited me to Bethlehem to hang out with her friends on Thursday night. We took a Service from Ramallah to Bethlehem, and after ten minutes of talking she offered me an earphone and we listened to Jack Johnson and Lil Wayne and the Offspring the rest of the way. As we were climbing up Wadi Nar (Valley of Fire, or...hell?) a song by Dispatch came on. I smiled, it was The General. I used to sing this with my friend Zach at garage concerts in high school. I leaned back and started mouthing the words...

There was a decorated general with a heart of gold
Who likened him to all the stories he told
Of past battles won and lost and legends of old
A seasoned veteran in his own time

On the battlefield he gained respectful fame
With many medals of bravery and stripes to his name
He grew a beard as soon as he could to cover the scars on his face
And always urged his men on

(I nudged Megan and said this makes no sense because hair doesn't grow on would look really patchy and awkward...anyways...)

But on the eve of great battle with the infantry in dream
The General tossed in his sleep and wrestled with its meaning
He awoke from the night to tell what he had seen
And walked slowly out of his tent

All the men stood tall with their chests in the air
With a courage in their blood and a fire in their stare
And it was a grey morning and they all wondered how they would fare
Til the old General told them to go home

He said, I have seen the others
And I have discovered that this fight is not worth fighting

 (oh, shit)

And I've seen their mothers
And I will no other
To follow me where I'm going

We passed through the checkpoint before Bethlehem and I saw the soldier sitting with his gun and maybe he saw me silently singing Dispatch in the Palestinian taxi, maybe he didn't. Only I knew the old, overplayed song in my playlist had been reborn, as is often the case in this place.