Thousands of people are fleeing Syria to find safety in European countries. Every single one of them with a different story. This one belongs to a small group of men. They call themselves Khebez Dawle and they’re a Syrian indie rock band. Their songs, all in Arabic, tell their story of what it’s like to be a Syrian, having to flee your country because of war. But they weren’t always the band that they are now. Their journey took a little turn along the way.
Anas Maghrebi, Hekmat Qassar , Bashar Darwish and Muhammad Bazz are the four men that now form the band Khebez Dawle. But it wasn’t always like that. In 2010 the lead singer Anas formed an alternative band with his two friends Rabia Al Ghazzi and Bashar Darwish. But since the government in Syria is so strict, giving concerts would mean risking their own lives. So they didn’t. Later in 2011 there was the uprising of the Arab spring, which made things even more difficult for the musicians. One of the former band members Rabia Al Ghazzi started to get involved in the protests against the Al Assad regime. Unfortunately, one day he was found shot dead in his sister’s car.
Anas Maghrebi slowly saw their dream to make music vanishing. The civil war caused that it was impossible for them to stay in Syria as artists. That’s why Anas decided to flee to Lebanon. His bandmate Bashar Darwish, that had joined the army quit to accompany Anas to Beirut. And that’s where Khebez Dawle was formed.
According to the band members life in Beirut was a lot easier for them. They received grants to record their album from several Arab cultural organizations. Also a music producer lend them a recording studio for months. So it was in Beirut that they could finally evolve as a band, record songs and even play their first gig in 2014.
But even though Anas and his band had success, they were still refugees. Which meant that their journey wasn’t over, since they were still trying to get to Europe to settle and finally be safe. So after heading to Turkey, the four men decided to continue towards Greece. After a long and very uncomfortable journey they finally arrived on the Greek island Lesbos. But instead of looking for a migrant camp, the men started to talk to the tourists, give away some of their CD’s and discuss their music. “We want to change the way people view refugees”, Anays says in an interview with AP.
After Greece, they they had to move on to different countries. Their goal is to get to Germany. They crossed through Macedonia, Serbia and are now finally in Croatia. On September 23rd they were invited to a club in Zagreb where 200 people showed up to support them. They also got to experience the generosity of the people in Croatia, several people offering them places to sleep and the Zagreb club that lend them drums to play with.
“You learn a lot about humans, about borders. You lose your faith in papers, passports, ID cards, borders and nationalities but your belief in humans grows stronger —way stronger.”, Maghrabi said to AP.
The men are still continuing their journey, their main goal is to give a voice to those in Syria who don’t get the chance to speak up.