Turning Pain Into Something Beautiful
Bio: My name is Megan Pease I am a third year Early Childhood Education major at Champlain College.
“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you”. Said by Hannah Harrington. Four Syrian, Palestinian and Algerian singers believed that this was the key to life. Yaser, Mohamed Jamous, Ahmad Razzouk and Mohamed Jawad made this beautiful quote into reality when they founded the first hip hop band in Syria in 2006. The men’s studio is in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus that is founded by the United Nations. They work on their music related to their economic, political and daily concerns. In the camp, the residents are struggling with hunger, blockade and barrel bombs.
The Refugees of Rap group was one of the first outstanding rap groups to form in Syria. They worked hard to come up with lyrics and songs that outline what many Syrians and other bordering countries go through. By doing this, they allowed for people around them to feel close to them, inspired and like someone understood them. “The group managed to communicate feelings of sorrow and worry, which are the concern of an entire generation throughout the Arab world” (Syrian). They talk about social, political problems of young people, poverty, the new generation, life, party etc. They touch upon a wide variety of subjects to send a message out to everyone letting them know they aren’t alone and they are all in this together.
“The group managed to communicate feelings of sorrow and worry, which are the concern of an entire generation throughout the Arab world” (Syrian). Because these men are able to show these feelings through their hard work in their career, they are loved by many due to being able to relate to them well. “When the popular uprising started in Syria in March, 2011, Refugees of Rap used their music in the struggle against dictatorship. They soon became persecuted by the regime, which ended up destroying their brand new studio. “It was a UN-funded studio in the camp, we used to call it Sawt Al Shaab (The Voice of the People),” Yasser Jamous, one of the band members, said to Syria Untold. In May 2013 they left the country to save their lives, but they continue to use their lyrics to denounce the atrocities suffered by Syrians under the Assad regime” (Syrian-Palestine). With the beginning of the Syrian revolution, the band supported the popular movement. This started with peaceful demonstrations. They recorded their songs in support of the protests at the studio of Sawt al-Shaab radio. After they fled the country, “In 2011 the group began recording songs sympathetic to the Syrian revolution which resulted in their studio in Yarmouk being ransacked. The group has since relocated to Europe where it continues to record music and tour” (Mideastunes). These men continue to take the hardships of everyone young, and old, and make the painful topics into beautiful music that everyone can connect to. It not only speaks to them, but to their large family in which they belong to, their loving and supportive community.
Mideastunes. “10 Syrian Indie Musicians Who Give Us Hope For The Future of Syria.” Mideast Tunes. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
News, BBC. “Syria: The Story of the Conflict.” BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
RefugeesOfRap. “Refugees Of Rap – HARAM Ft. Nadin (TARABBAND) ★ لاجئي الراب – حرام ★.” YouTube. YouTube, 16 Dec. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
Syrian-Palestinian Refugees of Rap: “The Age of Silence Is Over” · Global Voices.” Global Voices Overall RSS 20. N.p., 19 Nov. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
“Syrian Rap Group Draws Attention to Humanitarian Crisis.” Al-Monitor. N.p., 06 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
Yassin-Kassab, Robin. “The Sound and the Fury: How Syria’s Rappers, Rockers and Writers Fought Back.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 26 Nov. 2015. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.
Megan Pease (Champlain College)
Rob Williams, Ph.D., Champlain College Faculty Advisor (Champlain College)