“I raise my voice through music” – the story of Menweer, Syrian activist living in Jordan.
“I hope someday I will become someone famous” – the story of Menweer, Syrian living in Jordan.
Due to Syria’s ongoing conflict, it’s people have to overcome challenges and find ways to create a new life for themselves, wherever they may reside. There are currently over 11 million refugees all over Europe and the Middle East for whom this is a reality. How do you create a new life, build a new home, find hope, and still stay connected to your Syrian identity? Active Voices gather young Syrians and active citizens from all over the world to work together, build bridges and facilitate peace. It empowers youth to build a new life, while staying connected to each other as Syrians. One of these youth is Menweer, and he has found a special way to do this.
Menweer moved to Jordan with his parents and brothers 3 years ago. Moving to a new country often means starting at the bottom all over again, finding different and new ways to create a life in a different context. When he moved, he felt like there were only doors closing behind him. “For me, it felt as if I would’ve had more opportunities if I stayed in Syria. When I fled, I had to start anew, and create new opportunities.” When he got involved with Active Voices, doors seemed to open again. “I was always very shy”, Menweer tells us, “but then I found Active Voices. I became more courageous and wasn’t so afraid anymore.”
In his journey, he discovered a special way to deal with his situation: rap music. “When I was small, I liked rap just because it excited me. But now, I have found its power in sending out a message. I rap as a way to spread my message and deal with what I am experiencing.” Music, for him, is a way to create a new life. “I am sad for my country, and I vent out using rap. Music helps me in many ways to express what I am feeling deep inside. This is what rap is for me: a means to convey a message”, he tells us.
Fleeing your home country to move to a different, new, country, can result in a certain identity crisis. How do you rediscover yourself in this new context? How do you build a life, only a little bit similar to what you had before? How do you cope with all the sociological and psychological tensions? For Menweer, this is rap.
“I rap about Syria because I want to go back. I miss Syria”, he says. “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, to be close to Syria. I thought about it for days.”
Even though adapting to a new life in Jordan is difficult for Menweer, he finds his way by keeping himself active and by dreaming of opening doors. “I want to continue singing rap, hoping that one day, I will become someone else…someone famous”, he says smiling. Active Voices 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 participants of Active Voices, 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.