Snatch what you can carry

Gogol Bordello, a Gypsy-punk band with Ukrainian roots, advises bewildered refugees on its new album, Solidaritine, to “take only that which you can carry” when they must leave home and travel to the “city of refugee.” The lyrics, sung in an English and Ukrainian version, are derived from a Ukrainian poem by Serhiy Zhadan. A cynical Czech version of the song might look at the situation from the opposite point of view and advise unscrupulous war profiteers to “snatch that which you can carry,” because that’s exactly what they’re doing. Just like in the days of wild privatization, they’re taking advantage of the upheaval on the global and national levels to line their own pockets. Some of them offer highly publicized benefits to refugees or Czechs with one hand, then pickpocket their government or fellow citizens with the other. In concerts, Gogol Bordello’s Ukrainian-born frontman, Eugene Hutz, climbs up on a bass drum held by the frenzied audience, wraps himself in a Ukrainian flag, and declares repeatedly that his people are “Undestructable.” Czechs are going to need some of that storied Ukrainian resilience.

FW221110

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