UPDATE (May 21, 2014)
There is now an update with two extra videos, from Gaza and Tehran, halfway down this page, together with accompanying notes.
JERUSALEM. TEL AVIV. BEIRUT. HAPPY.
Tom Gross writes (March 23, 2014):
Many of the items in the other dispatch today (“Jewish teacher in Paris has nose broken, swastika drawn on chest; & Iran leader again denies Holocaust”) are very depressing.
Here is something much more upbeat.
Below is a new fun video featuring residents of Jerusalem (including some I know who are subscribers to this list) singing along to the Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy”.
This video is part of a worldwide phenomenon of people producing their own videos of Williams’ song.
It was filmed this month in Jerusalem by Tichon Ramah Yerushalayim, a high school program based in Jerusalem. (Among those featuring in it are Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, and deputy mayor, Rachel Azaria.)
“Our aim is to show that Jerusalem is not just historic and religious, but it’s also modern, exciting, fun – and very happy,” said Ramah’s director Daniel Laufer.
Here is a version of “Happy” produced last week in Tel Aviv by photographer Louis Green and actress Sivan Kretchner, who said that “without a doubt Tel Aviv is the happiest city in the world, no question.”
Here is another version of “Happy Tel Aviv”:
And since there are an increasing number of subscribers to this list from Beirut, here is a version of “Happy Beirut” which a friend who features in it sent me.
Just as is the case with Israel, the Western media stereotypes tend to show only one aspect of Beirut. Here is the more secular side of the city, which is in many ways similar to Tel Aviv.
It is a great video.
UPDATE (April 30, 2014)
HAPPY IN GAZA
Here is a version of Gazans singing along to Pharrell Williams’s hit song Happy:
This is what Gaza looks like, not the propaganda version put out by certain politicized NGOs and journalists trying to peddle the myth that Gaza is some kind of (Israeli) concentration camp.
Gaza is, however, ruled, by the highly authoritarian Hamas Islamist movement, and you can note that no men and women can be seen dancing together in this video.
UPDATE (May 21, 2014)
ARRESTED FOR DANCING TO THE SONG “HAPPY” IN TEHRAN
A group of Iranians who created a tribute to Pharrell Williams’ hit song “Happy” were arrested yesterday in Tehran. The video shows three men and three unveiled women dancing to the song on the streets and rooftops of Tehran.
The official ISNA news agency quoted Police chief Hossein Sajedinia as saying that the “vulgar clip” had “harmed public chastity”.
Iran’s state-run TV broadcast a program on Tuesday showing the men and women confessing to the “crime” on camera.
Their video, which was made several weeks ago, having been inspired to do it after seeing versions created by young people in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and elsewhere, has become a hit on Iranian social media sites.
Williams has protested at the arrests. The singer wrote on his Facebook page yesterday that “It is beyond sad that these kids were arrested for trying to spread happiness”.
Some of the Iranian dancers have now been freed on bail but the director of the video clip remains under arrest and is believed to be under interrogation in one of Iran’s harsh detention facilities.
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Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here: