In an Israeli town where experts say 90% of children between the ages of 4 and 18 suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, a song designed to get children to a safe place before Hamas’ rockets hit has become an indispensable part of living with terrorism.
The “Code Red Song” was developed in 2008 by a schoolteacher for the Joint Distribution Committee as a way to allow children to express their panic about terrorism in a way that also soothed them. Sderot was then facing an alarming statistic: according to the Joint Distribution Committee, 90% of children in the town were exhibiting signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the organization, the song “combines lyrics that allow children to express their anxiety and fear with body movements that help distract their minds, doing something more positive.”
While the song has been in use for six years and teachers continue to teach it as a drill in peacetime, the song has become a viral hit since the current wave of Hamas terror attacks on Israel. According to Ha’aretz, the Youtube version of the song uploaded in 2012 (during the last escalating of terror attacks) had over 43,000 hits as of Friday, July 11.
Residents of Israel have been under near-constant siege since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, intending to eradicate Hamas from Gaza. According to the Israeli Defense Forces, as of press time Saturday, 34 rockets had already been fired into Israel, with two being intercepted by the Iron Dome protective system. As of Friday, 689 rockets had been fired from Gaza towards Israel in four days. The renewed need to make Israeli children in the line of fire accustomed to taking cover has made the “Code Red Song” a pivotal teaching tool in the region.
Below, a translation of the song (with corresponding body movements) via Tani Zarelli:
Hurry fast..fast..fast to a safe place – hurry, hurry because danger is coming now. (kids run to a safe place)
My heart is pounding hard – boom..boom..boom (they cross their hands and say Boom Boom Boom)
My body is trembling, dom..dom..domdom (they put their hands on their feet as they say dom dom domdom)
But I can overcome (bending elbows and making a fist)
Because I feel a little different – (doing the ‘Strong’ movement)
Falling …Boom (Clap and say “Boom”)
I can get up We will shake our body, Shake ..Shake.. Shake (Shaking their body, swinging their arms)
Relax our legs (shaking legs)
Breathe deeply…Breathe out ..Breath in …Puff Breathe deeply (taking a deep breathe)
NOW I CAN LAUGH (the all begin to laugh)
Everything is gone, danger is gone (wiping your hands back and forth up and down)
And it is so good that it is over!!!