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Protracted Displacement Economies: Breaking Barriers Through Music

Protracted Displacement Economies: Breaking Barriers Through Music

Breaking Barriers Through Music: The Inspiring Story of Abed

The story of a refugee is often a heart-wrenching tale filled with trauma, loss, and hardship, yet it can also be a story of resilience and hope, as exemplified by Abed. 

Abed was raised in a peaceful town in Syria,  in a small town called Bab Drayeb In Homs, but the war that broke out forced him and his family to flee and seek refuge in Lebanon in 2013  when he was only 10 years old. Despite the challenges of being a refugee, Abed was determined to pursue his passion for rap music and lyrics.

"I aspire to establish a team of young people who share my dream, using art and music to promote peace and raise awareness about issues plaguing our society, especially through my written rap lyrics," Abed said. However, many of his friends and relatives discouraged him, citing the difficulties of making a living as a refugee and especially as an artist in a country such as Lebanon. Only Abed's father supported his dreams, having given up his aspirations to provide for his family. To help Abed pursue his passion, his father built him a small studio in the back of his market, where Abed and his friends could practice their music and art. 

Through social media, Abed learned about the PDE workshop, facilitated by Basmeh & Zeitooneh in Lebanon,  which focuses on film-making and raising awareness about the daily life of refugees. "It was a valuable experience, it enabled me to bridge my aspirations with my father’s hopes for me, as he encouraged and supported me every step of the way," Abed said.

Abed was selected among eight other youths to participate in this project. The process of developing storyboards and documentaries proved to be a gap in their journey as filmmakers. Abed and his peers learned how to create a documentary and storytelling from scratch, from defining ideas and goals to filming and directing. Although the practical challenges of editing and sequencing the shots were daunting, they overcame them through collaboration and sharing experiences with each other. “The filmmaking workshop provided an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and collaborate with others to bring our vision to life,” said Abed. 

Three incredible short films were delivered, and they were all very inspiring. Two of them were chosen to compete in competitions, specified for short films, like Action for Hope, Blink Film Festival, and RAI Film Festival. We were all on the edge of our seats, hoping for a victory, but then Abed, with his visionary outlook, reminded us of something important. “For us, the real prize had already been won. We were now recognized throughout the region and being offered work with top directors” he said.  The best part for him? “In just one day, our film had been viewed over 10,000 times! It was tangible proof that our hard work and dedication had paid off and that refugees could achieve their goals despite the odds.”.

Abed's story is a testament to the power of perseverance and the resilience of the human spirit. Despite the challenges he faced as a refugee, Abed refused to give up on his dreams, and he found a way to make a difference.

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