J’ai été interviewé par Newsweek ici, à l’occasion du premier concert public de Syrians Got Talent le 30 mars 2016, une semaine après les attentats de Bruxelles. J’ai organisé ce concert en étroite collaboration avec une association pour l’intégration des réfugiés en Europe et que j’ai co-fondé, RANA (Refugees Are Not Alone).
When 20-year-old Syrian refugee Lotus left Turkey in 2014 for the final leg of her journey to a new home in Antwerp, Netherlands, she left her violin behind. “It was so hard for me,” she says, “[it was like] a part of me is missing.”
Now, Lotus has a new violin on loan, and she’ll be using it when she performs at a “Syrians Got Talent” concert in Brussels on Thursday night, playing a selection of music from Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere. “We tried to choose something that… they never hear it here before,” she says. “I hope they like it.”
The concert was put together by Schams El-Ghoneimi, who works for a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in the city —and he is aware that it has taken on a new significance in the light of Islamist attacks on the city’s airport and a metro station earlier this month that killed 32 people. “We need to send a very strong message,” he says. “We’re not just on this negative spiral of hating the ‘other.’ We need that message to be sustained as much as possible.”
Alongside Lotus, the event will see performances from Basel, who taught flamenco guitar at the Russian cultural center in Damascus before fleeing when he refused to play for President Assad; sisters Jawa, 20, and Shaza, 14, who live in Amsterdam and whose group the « Qasyoun ensemble » is named after a mountain near Damascus; and Talal, a 27-year-old drummer who travelled from Syria to Belgium in just 11 days in 2015.