Posted by: Lister | March 18, 2007

Oh, Say can you see?

Well, enough about America!

The UK national anthem, God Save the Queen, has a verse which is hardly ever sung now. Certainly up north!

I was inspired to write this blog by a post on desert peace, regarding the refusal by Israel’s Arab minister to sing the Israeli national anthem.

Hatikvah — Israeli National Anthem

As long as in the heart, within,
A Jewish soul still yearns,
And towards the end of the East
An eye still watches toward Zion —

Our hope is not yet lost,
The hope of two thousand years,
To be a free nation in our own land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Minister Raleb Majadele refuses to sing the above on the grounds that it wasn’t written to be sung by Arabs.

Well, back to God save the Queen. Here’s verse 6:

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!

The reference is to events of 1745. Not something to be commemorated in a song of Union. And it’s not sung often — though I have heard it before.

There is a version I’ve not heard before. And I prefer the following two verses. Seems to be breaking into “international anthem” territory, though. 🙂

God bless our native land!
May heaven’s protecting hand
Still guard our shore:
May peace her power extend,
Foe be transformed to friend,
And Britain’s rights depend
On war no more.

[Verse 2]

[Verse 3]

Nor on this land alone,
But be God’s mercies known
From shore to shore:
Lord make the nations see
That men should brothers be,
And form one family
The wide world o’er

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Responses

  1. As pointed out on a later Desert Peace article, Haaretz has printed an editorial: Israel needs a new anthem, one that Arabs can sing.

  2. Uri Avnery defends the rights of Arabs not to sing a national anthem that excludes them.

    The time has come to discuss changing our anthem, not only for the sake of the Arab citizens, but also for our own sake: to have an anthem that reflects our reality. 38 years ago in the Knesset I first submitted a bill In this spirit. It was soundly defeated. Now is the time to revive the idea.

    And the Flag too:

    The blue-white flag is the banner of the Zionist movement. It took the Jewish prayer shawl, the tallith, added the Star of David (an old Jewish symbol, which also appears in other cultures) and created a new national flag. It has one obvious fault: the blue and the white do not stand out against the background of the blue sky, the white clouds and the grey buildings. It is enough to compare it to the jolly American Stars and Stripes, the solemn British Union Jack and the esthetic French Tricolore.

    But the main fault of the flag lies in the fact that it excludes the Arab community from the family of the state. An Arab who salutes the flag is lying to himself when he tries to identify himself with symbols like the tallith and the Star of David that exclude him and don’t speak to him.

    (The more so as many Arabs believe that the two blue stripes stand for the Nile and the Euphrates, and that the flag hints at the Zionist ambition to create a Jewish state according to the Biblical promise (Genesis 15, 18): “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt into the great river, the river Euphrates.” This is an invention, but it makes the flag even more difficult to accept.)

    […] Not so long ago, the Canadian state was facing a similar problem. The national flag, based on the Union Jack, was pushing away the minority of French-speakers. In spite of the fact that these constituted only 10% of the population (to which could be added the offspring of mixed couples), the majority decided, wisely, that the unity of the country was more important than their own British sentiments. A new flag was decided upon, a flag that has at its center a symbol every Canadian can identify with: the maple leaf.


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