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“Our home became very far, very far”: how singing about Syria is bringing refugee children together

Songs drawing on traditional themes of longing, migration and land are giving refugee children in Lebanon a voice

By Samira Shackle  

Children perform a song together at Dama, a school for Syrian refugees. Photo: author's own

Upstairs at a community centre in Majdal Anjar, a small town in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, a group of children are learning to sing a Bollywood song. Around 25 children are gathered here, aged anything from eight to 16. They’re all Syrian refugees, displaced from their homes by conflict, and they all love Bollywood movies. Many of them hail from conservative religious families; to these communities, the chaste romances of Indian cinema are more palatable than…

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