Fotograf: Tomislav Stjepic
Born 1987 in Yemen, lived as refugee in Gaza.
Safe haven in Gothenburg since 2013
My right to freedom of expression and press freedom…
... has been oppressed as long as I can remember. By the family. By the community members. Two inseparable institutions: the home and the local community.
My music production. Degraded as a stupid habit by one. Condemned as a catastrophe by the other.
The pressure to become a follower. To follow the traditional way in Gaza. To listen to the elder.
My father punished me because I said the wrong things. My society imprisoned me.
Gaza 2008. My last concert. The area beleaguered by Hamas. Imprisoned. Spent the night in jail. I was forced to sign papers; to give up my right to say certain things.
The unknown as a slap in my face. What would happen the next time I performed and expressed something which would not be well received?
Would the price be a bullet in my head?
I couldn’t bear the crying of my mother. I couldn’t take the risk. I decided to quit the music.
… can save lives in a war zone. Minds need to be fed, not just the mouth.
Music saved my life and my soul in Gaza. It became my mirror. The only wings that allowed me to experience life and the world outside of Gaza.
Music saves my life. It allows me to go on.
Safe haven Gothenburg…
… more than a safe haven. It gives me space to write and produce music.
It gives me a moment to reflect over the real situation in my country. To learn from the Swedish society. To grow as a person, to think and develop my thoughts. To understand what is happening in the world from a new perspective.
3 May – World Press Freedom Day
Respect. Truth. Information.
To be able to say what you want without being judged. To respect what is said and to be respected for what you express. Press freedom is something you live with, every day.
Human. We are all from the same source of life. Humanity. To respect each other. The differences lie in what we are allowed and able to do. People in many countries across the world do not have the freedom of expression as it can be exerted here in Sweden.
Press freedom gives a responsibility and a duty that need to be acted on.
Those who can exert freedom of expression need to take their responsibility. Those who can speak for their brothers and sisters who live in inhumanity have to raise their voice.
If you don’t stand up for the other – sooner or later it will come back to your own house.
Words are stronger than a sword.