Gershon Hepner

Unicorns and Hurricanes

Strange unicorns we ought not to debunk

when they display their solitary antler,

to folk who’re credulous about the trunk

that makes another creature elephantler,

denying that Hamas is hurricanic,

inflicting on Jews more than wetness pain,

in an October pogrom that was manic,

an inhumane, Hamanic Hurricane.

In “How the Eurovision Censors Helped Make Eden Golan a Star,”, 5/16/24   Philologos (Hillel Halkin) writes:

Banish the rain and you’ll get the hurricane: such is the moral of the 2024 Eurovision song competition whose Grand Final was held in the Swedish city of Malmö last Saturday night. The winning entry was Switzerland’s. Upstaging it,  however, was an Israeli song called “Hurricane,” which stole the show. Although many thought it deserved to finish first, its fifth-place showing among 37 competitors was itself no small achievement given the months in which it was threatened with being banned, and the days of massive protest demonstrations, crowd abuse, and anti-Israel prejudice that led up to its final performance…..

Composed and written by a team of songwriters and performed by the-twenty-year-old Israeli vocalist Eden Golan, “October Rain” began with the words, “Writers of history,/ stand with me,/ look into my eyes/ and see,/ people go away/ but never say goodbye,” and ended:

Dancing in the storm,

we got nothing to hide.

Take me home

and leave the world behind,

and I promise you that never again.

I’m still wet from this

October rain, October rain, October rain.

In between were lyrics like, “Someone stole the moon tonight,/ took my light, everything is black and white./ Who’s the fool who told you boys don’t cry?” and “Living in a fantasy,/ ecstasy,/ everything’s meant to be,/ we shall pass but love will never die,” as well as “Hours and hours and flowers,/ life is no game for the cowards./ Why does time go wild?/ Every day I’m losing my mind,/ holding on in this mysterious ride.” As a postscript, there were four Hebrew lines translatable as, “There’s no air left to breathe,/ there’s no room,/ there’s no more me from day to day./ They were all good children, one by one.”

October rain? Clearly, the European Broadcasting Union ruled, this referred to the Hamas attack of October 7. Moreover, the closing Hebrew stanza seemed an allusion to the shelters in which Israelis, many of them children, had tried hiding from their attackers, often unsuccessfully. This made the song, the EBU informed Channel 11 “of a political nature,” and it would have to be changed to be accepted.

The EBU’s ruling was both right and absurd. “October Rain” indeed was, at least in part, about the events of October 7, including several allusions to the use of consciousness-enhancing drugs at the Nova Dance Festival on the night of October 6, hundreds of whose participants died at Hamas’s hands. Yet what exactly was “political” about it? There wasn’t a line expressing a political opinion or point of view in the entire song, which was about a national trauma, not the politics surrounding it. If anyone was being political, it could be argued, it was the EBU, which was trying to censor an Israeli cry of pain for no other reason than that it was Israeli.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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