Syrian-Palestinian Refugees of Rap: “The Age of Silence is over”
The Age of Silence is over. How can so much injustice come from just one man? You should stand up and say it straight from your heart, wake up from your nightmare. There is nothing to fear, you can say what you want, the Age of Silence is over.
Refugees Of Rap is a Syrian – Palestinian hip-hop band, one of the first in Syria. The four rappers, from Syrian, Palestinian and Algerian origin, started singing in 2005 in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, located in the outskirts of Damascus. They performed in different countries in the Middle East and in some of the most prestigious places in the region, like the Cairo Opera House, until they started receiving death threats from security officers. Their studio was destroyed and they were forced to flee the country. They have just released their third album, The Age Of Silence, a powerful metaphor of where Syria was plunged for decades.
When the popular uprising started in Syria in March 2011, Refugees of Rap used their music in the struggle against dictatorship. They soon became persecuted by the regime, which ended up destroying their brand new studio. “It was a UN-funded studio in the camp, we used to call it Sawt Al Shaab (The Voice of the People), Yasser Jamous, one of the band members, said to Syria Untold. In May 2013 they left the country to save their lives, but they continue to use their lyrics to denounce the atrocities suffered by Syrians under the Assad regime.
“My brother and I finally managed to get visas to come to France and get out of Syria”, Yasser explained. “We took a flight to Paris before heading to Sweden, where some of our friends and relatives are living. We started touring around the country and in other countries, like Denmark, but unfortunately, because of a European migration law called Dublin 2, we were sent back to France.” They are now applying for asylum and hope to be recognized as refugees soon.
Refugees of Rap have collaborated with renown artists from all over the world, such as Palestinian hip-hop band DAM, with the song “Afkar” (Thoughts), and have been featured in international media such as Rolling Stones, and the BBC, which did a documentary on their work in 2010.