Running for Her Life

There have been alot of videos floating around YouTube about the Katyusha attacks on Haifa and other cities in the north. Most of them are videos people took while looking out of their windows; you hear a siren, a bang, and sometimes see a pillar of smoke. This one is different, and I think the most powerful.

Katyusha’s Clear Song

Apple trees and pears were in blossom
On the river hung the morning mist
Young Katyusha stepped up on the high bank,
Of the river steep bank in the mist.

On the bank Katyusha started singing
Of a proud grey eagle of the steppe,
Of the one Katyusha loved so deeply,
Of the one whose letters she has kept

Oh, you song, you bright song of a maiden
Fly you by the sun, fly like a bird
To the soldier on faraway border
From Katyusha bring a greeting word.

Let him think of simple native maiden,
Let him hear Katyusha’s clear song
He will guard the land of dear homeland
And their love Katyusha will keep strong.

Apple trees and pears were in blossom
On the river hung the morning mist
Young Katyusha stepped up on the high bank,
Of the river steep bank in the mist

This song was written in 1938, and first sung by Lidiya Ruslanova for Russian soldiers on the front. Try listening to it; it sounds a lot like the old Israeli folk songs. It’s about a young girl, Catharine, nicknamed Katyusha. The song became so popular with the Russian soldiers who fought World War Two, that the Russians named their new missile (which had actually been around since 1936) the Katyusha. All Russian rocket artillery from then on carried the same nickname, including the ones we’re facing in Lebanon now.

Reading the English translation of the song, I really picture it not as a love song, but as an actual song about a missile. It really conjures up images – at least in my mind – of rockets flying through the air with “Fly you by the sun, fly like a bird To the soldier on the faraway border,” and of rockets screaming down with “Katyusha’s clear song.” It’s very prophetic, or I guess that’s just what the Russians had in mind when they named their rockets after this song.