Thursday, February 22, 2007

Koom by yah

Photo by Ben Fox/US Military

This soldier was part of a team of Iraqis being trained by the U.S. military in Baqouba. It was not all work all the time.

At night there were bonfires. The Iraqis sang, and clapped, and danced. Then it was the American soldier's turn. After several moments of awkward silence, the U.S. boys sang "Happy Birthday", "Row Your Boat", the "Macarena" and finally, "Hokey Pokey", complete with dance movements.

The Iraqis stared open-mouthed as the Americans performed. They were polite but I think they were surprised and even disapppointed by the lack of talent. Weren't Americans once the captains of campfire songs?

As I walked away, I gave the Americans a thumbs down. The Iraqis, a thumbs up. The Iraqi soldiers cheered...and started singing again. I could hear them for hours afterwards.


Susannah1214 said...

Apperently none of the U.S. soldiers went to summer camp. Those are the worst examples of camp fire songs I have ever heard. Please don't tell me that they did the motions to the Macarena as well? Something tells me they probably did.

Moonpie said...

Yes, they did the full Macarena dance for the Iraqis. Ironically, the next night the Iraqis performed it better than the Americans.

Tamsin and I had a similar experience in Mongolia. The Mongolians begged us to sing for them. So we performed "Happy Birthday" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin".