January 19, 2016

Syrian rapping brothers a hit with Middle East TV and celebrities

Ewan Watt

Online Editor, Theirworld

Syrian rapping refugee brothers Abdulrahman Samir and Mohammed in Bekaa Valley

Abdulrahman, Samir and Mohammed Karbouj in the Bekaa Valley

Three rapping Syrian refugee brothers who feature in a powerful new film have become a hit in the Middle East and beyond.

Celebrities including Lebanese singers Elissa and Nancy Ajram have tweeted their support for the #UpForSchool message from Samir, Adbulrahman and Mohamed Karbouj.

And Middle East broadcaster MBC has been airing a specially-edited 30-second clip of a film that features the boys.

The brothers star in the video Straight Outta Syria, which calls on the international community to back the Hope for Syria’s Young Talent petition - ensuring one million Syrian refugee children secure an education this year in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

The six-minute film explores their story after their family fled into neighbouring Lebanon and shows that if they hadn't returned to education they would have not been able to develop their talent.

Lebanese singers Elissa and Nancy Ajram

Singers Elissa and Nancy Ajram tweeted their support

The special 30-second version has been shown three times a day on four of MBC's televison channels. The team at MBC Hope - the corporate social responsibility wing of the MBC broadcasting corporation - was inspired by the Straight Outta Syria video and decided to become partners for the #UpForSchool campaign.

Ben Hewitt, Director of Campaigns and Communications at A World at School, said: "We are very grateful to the MBC, Al Arabiya and MBC Hope teams for their help and support, and especially their commitment to the campaign. The partnership is helping the message of Syria's Young Talent reach a wide audience in the Middle East, which we hope will create further momentum behind education commitments at the Syria Donors Conference in London on February 4."

News channel Al Arabiya also featured an interview with Tom Fletcher, former British ambassador to Lebanon and now Director of Global Strategy for the Global Business Coalition for Education.

After seeing the brothers rapping in the video, Elissa - who has sold over 30 million albums - tweeted this message to her more than eight million followers.

She was so moved the singer tweeted three messages to her fans to watch the video and help children to get an education.

Nancy, who has just under eight million fans on her Twitter page, retweeted two messages from Tom including this one:

Hani Al Sawah - better known as the Syrian rapper Sayed Darwish - talked about the value of rap in stimulating children's self-confidence in this Facebook post.

لما بلشت ورشات "تحريض على الكتابة عن طريق الراب العربي" ب2012 ما كنت مفكر بالشق التعليمي، كنت حاسس بالعجز وانا ببيروت وب...

Posted by Hani Al Sawah on Thursday, 14 January 2016

Here are some of the other celebrities and influencers who shared their support for the Karbouj brothers and their message of hope for Syrian refugee children.

DAVID WALLIAMS (comedian, actor, Britain's Got Talent judge)

CHAKER KHAZAAL (author of Confessions of a War Child trilogy)

RUSSELL SIMMONS (American entrepreneur and hiphop pioneer)


LAURA CARMICHAEL (star of British TV show Downtown Abbey)

NOW ENGLISH (Website covering Lebanon and Middle East)

RAINN WILSON (star of US version of TV show The Office)


SARAH BROWN (Theirworld President)

MIRANDA HART (British TV star)

EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL (global federation of teaching unions)


Samir, Abdulrahman, and Mohammed are brothers whoshare a passion for rap music. They are also Syrian refugees.Rap...

Posted by UNHCR Lebanon on Friday, 15 January 2016

Sign the Hope for Syrian Young Talent petition here.

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