Finding a voice through music: Menweer’s story
“When I fled Syria, I had to start anew and create new opportunities,” Menweer tells us.
Menweer arrived in Jordan with his parents and brothers three years ago. Moving to a new country often means starting from the beginning all over again, adjusting to new surrounding and finding different and new ways to build a life in a different place.
“I was shy. I was shy about doing many things, things I was deprived of. But then I found Aswat Faeela.”
I became more courageous and wasn’t so afraid anymore. I worked on developing myself.
“The Aswat Faeela project gave me the motivation to continue and not be shy of anything.”
Aswat Faeela is a project that has brought together 450 young people from Syria and their host communities in the Middle East and Europe to create a network to build peace and help them find their voice.
“Music helps me in many ways to express what I am feeling deep inside”
It is through this network that Menweer was able to find a way to express himself again. “When I was small, I liked rap because it excited me. But now, I have found power in it.”
I rap as a way to spread my message and deal with what I am experiencing. Music helps me in many ways to express what I am feeling deep inside, to vent out.
“This is what rap is for me: a means to convey a message,” Menweer tells us.
“I rap about Syria because I want to go back. I miss Syria,” he goes on to say. “Sometimes, I go to a mountain near my house. From here, I can see the Syrian border. Not too long ago when I did this, I felt like I was finally happy again, being close to Syria. I thought about it for days.”
Despite the longing, despite the hardships and despite the alienation, Menweer continues to dream about his future.
“I want to carry on rapping and developing my talent, hoping that one of these days, my dream will come true and I will become someone famous,” he says smiling. Aswat Faeela helped him believe in himself again and helped him grow. He says:
My message to all Syrians is: the war may be going on for a lot longer, so do something, keep active, do something for your country and do something for yourself to help you grow.
Menweer, just like the other young people part of the Aswat Faeela network, is an example of how, when life gets really hard, you keep going. They are the proof that positivity, power and purpose can rise up in the face of adversity, and win.
Menweer’s rap for Syria
Let us get down on our knees and pray asking God to protect Syria.
Do not talk to me about confessions, do not say “this is my religion.”
Even if years have passed by, Syria does not die.
Syria is fighting; it is protecting its children, while we are hurting it.
We are throwing stones in its well that we are drinking from.
But Syria does not die, Syria is a mother.
We would have drunk poisonous water, if only we could have stayed there.
What matters now is that we can rebuild it all together.
We sacrifice our blood for it; deep down our hearts, we yearn to embrace it.
I remember when I was small, you showered me with your grace.
I couldn’t defend you, and this is crushing me.
I hope someday you’ll forgive me, you are the apple of my eye.
I won’t give up on you, even when I am forces to let go.
We won’t try to forgive or forget that we left.
I would like to tell you, O Syria,
we miss you; God almighty is our witness.
Together for Syria
Follow the journey of these young people as we share the stories of inspiring Syrian peacebuilders and social activists as they build peace far away from home.
About the project
Aswat Faeela (Active Voices) is a project to develop the social leadership skills of youth who have been affected by the ongoing and protracted Syrian crisis.
International Alert Syria is part of this regional project which aims to give them a voice in national and international conversations about peacebuilding and community resilience as an antidote to the dominant narrative around the impact of conflict.
It adopts a two-fold approach. Firstly, it supports emerging social leaders to work within their communities to find local solutions to issues that challenge them on a daily basis. Secondly, it builds coalitions so young people can advocate more effectively together around common themes. In this way, they are able to relate their everyday experiences at the community level to wider political and policy priorities at the national and international level.
The project is funded by the European Commission, led by the British Council and implemented through a consortium of partners (including International Alert, Search for Common Ground and Globally Connected).