The Arty Semite

Rebels Sang Israeli's Song as They Advanced on Tripoli

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

In news today from the “it’s a brave, new, global world” department, Michal Levertov, in a piece for Institute for War & Peace Reporting, wrote that television reports this past week have shown Libyans singing and dancing to “Zenga Zenga” as the rebels advanced on Tripoli.

This is brave, new and global because “Zenga Zenga” is a song that was invented last February by 32-year-old Israeli Noy Alooshe for a remix video he made of a speech given by now former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. It spread like wildfire by Facebook and Twitter through the Arab world, making Alooshe a social media superstar, despite the fact that viewers still posted anti-Israel and anti-Semitic comments about the video and its Israeli creator.

Thanks to “Zenga Zenga” (which comes in two versions — one with scantily clad women dancing next to the Colonel, and a more sanitized version without them), Alooshe’s remixing skills and audio-visual political commentary have come to be appreciated well beyond the borders of the Jewish State — in particular in countries officially at war, or at least without diplomatic relations with it. Both versions combined have now garnered close to 6 million views.

Libyan state TV apparently even ran the video for a couple of weeks. Someone there must have thought that watching Gaddafi saying “Zenga Zenga,” over and over was a good thing (“Zenga Zenga” comes from the word “alleyway” in a Libyan dialect — Gadaffi was threatening to hunt down rebels in every alleyway) — until it was realized that the video was meant to mock Gaddafi, not glorify him.

In an interview with Levertov, Alooshe said that he sees how the Internet and social media have broken down barriers once thought to be insurmountable. “Once the internet had broken the barriers, you can see that such a citizen may indeed swear at you publicly — in a Youtube talkback, for instance — but that immediately thereafter the same person will contact you personally and ask for more of your material,” he said.

Alooshe said that of the people who saw the video and wrote how much they liked it, “there were even some Libyans who promised they would dance in the streets to this music when the country was freed.” It looks as though in this brave, new, global world, those Libyans kept their promise.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Zenga Zenga, Renee Ghert-Zand, Muammar Gaddafi, Noy Alooshe, Michal Levertov, Libya

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.