â€œSorry for the bad people. But at the same time, I have to say: I am not responsible for them. So why do I have to apologize?
There are so many different kinds of refugees. I have met good and bad people. They are from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Tunisia, or Morocco. But still, when one of them is doing something bad, people donâ€™t say â€œHe is a criminalâ€ or even â€œHe is Afghanâ€. They say, â€œHe is a refugeeâ€.
My band made a music video called â€œI Am Humanâ€. Itâ€™s about the bad conditions in Syria. Hopefully many of the people who think that â€œweâ€ like violence will watch it and understand. There are so many idiots and Islamic groups in our countries and itâ€™s them we escaped from. If we liked the war, we wouldnâ€™t be here.
I used to have a good life in Syria. Aleppo was divided and our part was ruled by the government. My sister and my two brothers were studying geography, Arabic literature and painting, and my major was English literature. My life was mainly studying and making music â€“ I played the lute, the drums, and had a rap group called â€œKaf Bandâ€, which was getting more and more popular in Syria.
But the war damaged everything. Itâ€™s just not possible to live in Syria as a civilian, especially when you are Palestinian. We have always been caught between the fronts of soldiers, protestors, and Islamic groups. One night, three of my best friends were shot and killed while they were walking down a street. I was dealing with their deaths by making a song about them, but even producing art and music is dangerous in Syria. While we were filming â€œI Am Humanâ€ for example, somebody shot at us. During my last year at University, I decided to stop studying because otherwise, I would have had to join the army after graduating. Sooner or later, all of my friends left. Our university must be empty now.
When I accepted that I had to leave too, I only packed the most important things: My certificates and documents, some clothes, and a present from my girlfriend. The journey was horrible. For days and nights, I was walking long distances with a large group of other people, always knowing that we could run into the Mafia or the police any time. At one point in Hungary, I dropped my bag and the smugglers didnâ€™t allow me to go back to get it. If I hadnâ€™t kept my documents in my pockets, I would have lost them too.
When our group got caught in Austria, some of them ran from the police. I donâ€™t know what made me decide to stay, because my brothers and sister are in Germany and originally I had planned to go there. But I had heard that Austria is a nice country too; and I knew about Mozart and Salzburg. So this is where I ended up.
As a refugee, I am neither here nor there. But I am a human being, and planet Earth should be here for all of us. If I get the chance to stay, I will not move. I will build my life again. I am already continuing to make music here and once a week I am giving a drum workshop to a group of Austrians. My goal is to graduate from University and to be a journalist. I want to write about Palestine and my ideas about peace, justice and humanity.â€
â€˜Bury me in a park, let me plant peace
The souls of the innocent sleep tenderlyâ€™
(lyrics: Karam Maghamis / translated from Arabic language / music video â€œI Am Humanâ€ by Kaf Band available on Youtube)