The other day, a friend sent me a link to a video titled #SyriaShines. Now it’s understandable why I would be excited about any piece that would shine some light on Syrians other than the news outlets mostly concerned with politics and conflict updates. But this one was exceptionally touching to me.

It shows a series of short clips of Syrian refugees all around the world during their new daily routines. A clip of a Syrian cook making some falafel in Germany, another of Syrian children at a school in Sweden, an elderly Syrian lady in Greece preparing not-so-healthy yet delicious looking food, a Syrian girl skating for the first time in Canada and not doing a great job at it, a group of Syrian girls learning English in the United Kingdom and many many more.

But among the sea of these amazing clips I came across two familiar faces, George Batah, a close friend giving his commencement speech at Illinois Tech’s Stuart school of Business in Chicago, and Mariela Shaker giving one of her famous performances on the violin which I have no doubt was met with long and well-deserved clapping at the end.

From the streets of Istanbul, Turkey, to the kitchens of Brasilia,Brazil, and everywhere in between, I am beyond happy to see that the Syrian story is being told the right way, through music, food, art, sports, and lots of love to those who opened their arms and borders to their fellow humans.

Keep on living Syrians, keep on sharing, learning, and most importantly shining brighter than any hatred could block.

Majed Abdulsamad
Columbia University GSAPP| M.S. AUD 2017
Illinois Institute of Technology| B. Arch 2015

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