Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably seen the video of the American soldiers who did a spoof video of Lady Gaga’s hit song, “Telephone.”
In case you haven’t, here it is:
Slightly less popular (but not really), is the version of Israeli soldiers doing their own video to Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.”
Now look. I’m the last person to talk about politics, foreign policy, and whether we should have soldiers in Afghanistan or anyone else. Seriously, the last. I don’t like to debate politics, and I don’t like when people (hi, mom!) force me to listen to their position ad nauseum. That’s not what this is about. Feel free to rant about politics and the injustices of war in the comments, just don’t expect me to participate.
But I keep thinking about these two videos. A lot. Really, they both feature young men being silly. Men from completely different countries, completely different continents, hell, completely different belief systems.
Doing the exact same thing.
I know we’re not at war with the Israelis. It’s not like the Christmas Truce, which I’ll never forget reading about in middle school, when soldiers from opposing sides laid down their weapons on Christmas Day.
But it’s a very subtle reminder that we’re all human at our core. That people everywhere like to be silly, and goof off, and have fun. That young people don’t always make the best choices — like posting crazy videos on the internet. As recently as twenty years ago, it was easy to think of opposing forces in simple terms: us versus them. They’re weird on the other side of the world, we’d think. Right? We don’t understand them. They aren’t like us. It makes it easier to accept what’s happening over there.
This one is going to sit with me for a while. We can talk about Osama bin Laden and WMD’s and terrorism and airport security until we’re blue in the face. But that just removes the human element from it all. The people fighting these wars are really just boys who love playing sports and roughhousing and getting a new high score on the newest release of Call of Duty. Boys who miss their wives and their kids and their moms, boys who have cried on shoulders and thrown sticks and built forts and swam in rivers and made spoof videos of pop songs.
And I’m not just talking about our boys. Our American boys.
I’m talking about their boys too.