Idlib Calling | 23 september 2019 | by Evert-Jan Grit


Meet Ahmed, theater producer from Saraqeb, and friend and partner of PAX. His life is no bed of roses. Saraqeb is in the Syrian province of Idlib, in the northwest of the country. Idlib's future is, to say the least, uncertain.
Every day, people get killed in air strikes and shelling by the Syrian and Russian armies. Children die covered in dust and debris. The war in Idlib is primarily a war against civilians.
A couple of times a month we speak with Ahmed to hear how he and his family are getting on. He says its important for people in Idlib that we here in the Netherlands hear about what's happening. It makes them feel like they haven't been forgotten.

“A bit strange”

There’s music coming out of Idlib. Rapper Amir from Ma’aret al Nu’man has just released his latest video: عكل الجبهات – “On All Fronts”. Ahmed saw it, and I am curious what he thinks about the video.

“Hi Ahmed, have you seen the clip?”

“Yes, I saw it yesterday. It’s beautiful. But I don’t think everyone here in Idlib shares this opinion. The clip is … how can I say it … a bit strange.”

“How do you mean?”

“Don’t get me wrong — it’s good. Look: it’s spot on. He raps about our lives, about our daily reality, about the misery we’ve been in for so long. You know what I am talking about.”

“So it’s not about the lyrics. The problem is that most people here don’t like rap so much. Actually, not at all.”

“But I’m nitpicking. The clip isn’t meant for us. We know what’s going on here, we don’t need a rap to tell us about what we already know. The point is that all of you, people outside Idlib, need to see it and get going. Please see us as normal people with dreams and hopes. We’re not just fanatics shouting “Allahu Akbar”. Look at us, see us and do something. Listen to the theater makers, the singers, the dancers and the rappers and get going!”

On All Fronts

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