Mac (Houston, Texas)
Today I was serenaded in the street by my favorite group of kids in Sana’a. It all started when they made their usual plea that I take pictures and videos of them. This time I tried a new tactic; I wouldn’t film unless they sang for me. They barely hesitated for a second and belted out several songs in unison. I recorded two of them. The first (below) contains a simple religious message; the main refrains basically say, “I love God…I live all my life for God.”
The second song is more complex and interesting. The basic message is that parents often contradict their own moral messages.
I’ve translated the words below:
Hey daddy telephone! (Ya baba telephone!)
I’m not here.
Hey daddy telephone!
I’m not here.
My daddy says he’s not here.
La la la la la la la la la la…..
Daddy you told me that lying was forbidden
And that those who lie, daddy, God gets angry with them.
So the image here is of a little girl or boy answering the house phone. The kid shouts for daddy saying, “hey daddy telephone!” But then the father tells his child to tell the caller that he’s not in (“I’m not here.”). Without thinking twice about the consequences, the kid dutifully tells the caller, “My daddy says he’s not here.”
Now that’s a pretty clever way to deliver a moral message to both parent and child.