Humanity rise


18th of May, 1944 is the most catastrophic and tragic day in the history of Crimean Tatars – the Soviet Government troops forcedly evicted ethnic Crimean Tatars from their motherland, Crimean Peninsula, to Central Asia.  Only in 1989 Crimean Tatars were allowed to move back to Crimea. Deportation caused death of many Crimean Tatars and separated many families. Those horrible times are depicted in the song “1944” of the winner of the contest “Eurovision-2016”, Jamala, an ethnic Crimean Tatar, the representative of Ukraine. The music and lyrics of the song were written by Jamala herself. The idea of writing this song was born by the stories of Jamala’s grandmother, who was deported to Kyrgyzstan.

When strangers are coming…

They come to your house,

They kill you all

and say,

We’re not guilty

not guilty.

Jamala calls Soviet troops “strangers”, since Crimea is a “house” of indigeneous people, Crimean Tatars. The word “kill” can be understood in two ways: many people died while transportation to Central Asia, others died in the steppes where they were left. Also, “kill” means that people were broken spiritually, separated from their Motherland.

Where is your mind?

Humanity cries.

You think you are gods.
But everyone dies.

Don’t swallow my soul.

Our souls

Jamala addresses to Soviet Regime asking “Where is your mind”. Indeed, it is difficult to understand how injustice can be made to the whole nation. “You think you are gods” is again addressed to the Soviet state, which thought they were as powerful as god, since they ruled the fates of many nations. History says that Soviets accused Crimean tatars in betrayal and collaboration with Germans, however many tatars were fighting against fascism on the side of Soviets. “Humanity cries” because of the extremely inhumane and violent actions of Soviet government against tatars.

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım [I could not enjoy my youthfulness]

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım [I could not live in that place]

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım [I could not enjoy my youthfulness]

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım [I could not live in that place]

The chorus of the song is in the Crimean Tatar language, consists of two phrases. Youthfulness is associated with heaven-sent and carefree moments. In my opinion, she speaks on behalf of her nation, which could not continue its happy and carefree life anymore on “their land” – “I could not live in that place”. Also, it is reported that during the deportation many children died, since they were most vulnerable ones – “I could not enjoy my youthfulness”.

We could build a future

Where people are free

to live and love.

The happiest time.

This part is about the hopes of the nation. They “could build a future” with free and happy people, but they were deprived from this chance. In my opinion, this part is also about the recent events in Crimea – the annexation of it by Russia. It is important to underline the phrases “could built” and “people are free” which mean that even now Crimean tatars are allowed to live in their historical motherland, they are not free and happy yet.

Where is your heart?

Humanity rise.

You think you are gods.
But everyone dies.

Don’t swallow my soul.

Our souls.

This part is still about the current situation of Crimea. Jamala addresses the global community asking “Where is your heart” and calls for attention and actions woth words “Humanity rise”. Jamala changes her style to harsh one and emphasizes the phrase “Humanity rise”, which is expected to wake compassion in peoples’s hearts.

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım

Yaşlığıma toyalmadım

Men bu yerde yaşalmadım

Jamala wrote a very strong song with serious connotation in it. While singing Jamala uses code-mixing English and Crimean tatar and switches her style of performing, which is made not by chance.

Jamala starts the song with a quiet but yet firm voice full of terror and pain, this is the way how she describes 18th of May of 1944 when her ancestors were deported. She continues singing in Crimean tatar. I think, she chose particularly her native language for a chorus, where she describes the feelings and pain of herself and her nation. She sings a chorus with a tremble in her voice, making words long as she is moaning and howling from the pain.

Parts of the song, which are in English, illustrate the historical event of 1944 and address to the English speaking global community. Jamala tries to attract the attention of the world on current situation of Crimea and Ukraine. For this reason she sings with a harsh and loud voice, emphasizing such phrases as “Where is your mind?”, “Where is your heart” and “Humanity rise”.

In conclusion, the song “1944” and the performance of Jamala is a bright example of code-mixing and style shifting in order to deliver a particular message. Jamala masterly plays with her voice and gestures, showing her pain and sufferings.

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2 thoughts on “Humanity rise

  1. wooow! Thanks Aidana for your insightful and impressive interpretation of the song. I liked the way of interpretation, since you didn’t just focus on the meaning of the words, but also placed an emphasis on the voice and gestures of the singer, Jamala. Moreover, I’m impressed with the tragic history of this song and with your no less tragic connection to the recent events in Crimea. Great job! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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