I was honored to return this year to sing the national anthem at Nats’ stadium with some members of my chorus (I sing in the Congressional Chorus). Afterwards, as I was shoving Ben’s (vegetarian) Chili Bowl in to my sweaty face I overheard some foreign visitors to our nation’s capital remarking on how violent our national anthem was, and how it was a reflection of our violent presence in this world.
My reactions to most stimuli arbitrarily oscillate between intrigue and rage. This time I went with intrigue. To the Google!
Let’s play a fun game, and match the country with the content of its national anthem, based on solely on our preconceived notions about that country. I am paraphrasing the messages, since other countries’ national anthems are long and not in English.
Challenge number one:
I live in fear of God
You are God’s instrument
God will direct you
He who tries to live piously
Must pray day and night
And return to his domain
OK, clearly this is from the Vatican, or Saudi-Arabia, or some other super-religious country, right? Nope. It’s The pot-smoking, whore-sexting, universal healthcare Netherlands. Go figure.
Let’s try again:
The principles of our people
The foundation of our republic
Advance us to a state of total peace
We are diligent, honest, and brave
Heroes of every ethnic group
Many hearts united as one
A celebration of conscience and diversity? Must be… China. Wha? Yep.
Here’s a nice one:
Sing songs of freedom and joy,
Justice, liberty, and prosperity will forever reign
Over this land of great abundance
United in peace and harmony.
This rosy sentiment must come from some Scandinavian or perhaps island paradise nation? Nope. This is the anthem of the hellpit called South Sudan. One of the worst hives of poverty, disease, chaos, and persistent violence on Earth.
Finally, how about this cheerful message:
Tyranny is coming to cut the throats of your sons and women.
The day of our glory has arrived – take arms
The blood of the infidels will water our fields
Everyone is a soldier, ready to fight
Our fallen will rise undead from the ground to fight again
Our children’s sublime pride is to follow us into the grave and share our coffins.
Al Queda, right? ISIS? Nope. France. And seriously, WTF France?
So if you ever get attitude about the rocket’s red glare and bombs bursting in air, just say, shut up Canuck. Your anthem is boring. Just like Canada.
But there is more fun to be had! There are hundreds of countries on this Earth, and they all have national anthems that are completely divorced from any identifiable connection to that country’s culture, people, or role on the world stage. Let’s muse over a few more in between hands of poker tonight at [——–]. Start time 8 pm. The big polar bear dog got adopted so it’s safe for nerds again. We have plenty booze, but you should RSVP so I know what kinds of snacks to stock up on.