“My home was just beyond those mountains”. Dania points out to me the dark mounds of rock and dirt in the distance. “That is where my parents are, waiting to see me again”. A sad smile stretches across her face. Her hands clasp around her legs, hot denim drawn up against her chest.
We begin talking about her home and Dania confesses to me that she’s not sure when she could ever return. She knows that nothing will be the same. Nothing. Not even herself.
Only having been in Turkey for a year and a half now, Dania’s Turkish is already amazing. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to learn the language, it was her choice to be here.
“I told my parents I was staying”, she emphasizes to me, “after our last family visit here. By the time I left Syria we were only getting electricity 6 hours a day, our water came and went and the military were everywhere. My parents would have left with me, but they are both doctors. Their work is there and they wanted to take care of their parents. I am used to being rebellious though. You see, I am a rapper.”
I have to admit, I am surprised. But as she plays me her first single, I am shocked. My head bobs to the beat and I am actually sad when the song ends.
“Dania,” I exclaim, “you are really good”! Actually she is amazing. The song is called ‘Be Patient My Country’. It speaks about the ways in which people want to make her nation lose the good they have. And there are a lot of good things in her country.
“I need rap.” Dania explains, “Rap is a way for me to express myself shamelessly. In other songs, in other kinds of music you can talk about fun things, or love… but anger, anger is just for rap. And even that can be used for good, it can express your desires. I see it as a platform for Syrian teens to express themselves. They need a platform”.
She expresses her frustration “I hate the war…I don’t think we will have justice in Syria, not when people’s sons have died. But I do hope that peace can come to people’s hearts; maybe my kids will have this.’’
She pauses. “The last song I wrote just before leaving my country talks about being outside of Syria. The lyrics say ‘don’t’ call me a cheater because I will come back and make Syria better’ ”.
She looks again beyond the waves, this time deep in thought. I turn to Dania as she tucks her arm through mine. We begin talking about home and what that really means. We sat there together on those dirty piles of sand, talking as though we’ve known each other forever, and both of us, so far from home.
– April K
Dania was a participant and one of the stellar translators at the BL4P camp in August, 2016. She is currently in university studying in the Faculty of Tourism.
Find more raps from Dania on YouTube here http://bit.ly/2cBJ1T