A project to shift the narrative during the Covid19 pandemic from social-distancing to being social while keeping the distance.
The narrative of the history always portraysthe Jews as victims who have experienced anti-Semitism, who have always suffered. People talk about the period from 1933 to 1945 and then perhaps about the Israel-Palestine conflict. But very little is said about how Jewish people have shaped the German society-- how many artists and scientists were Jewish. There are a lot of Jewish women in Germany and Austria who ran their salons and had interesting personalities.
There is a moment during the Hong Kong protests that I will never forget. Last October I was going to photograph and do interviews during the protests. Suddenly, the police advanced and shot tear gas at the protestors. So the protestors ran away but one of them stopped in the chaos and asked, “Do you need help?” I told him, “I am fine and I can take care of myself. It is very dangerous, you have to run.” The situation was becoming messier, so the protestor pushed my wheelchair and helped me to leave the death trap.
I don´t think artists necessarily need to state their purpose, but I like to think that it is our responsibility as human beings to bring healing through our lives and our art. We don´t need to be a doctor in order to heal. I hope that my music can bring healing to people. My music addresses a lot of different topics. Everything from illness to depression to suicide to love and love lost. You as an artist feel that if you have something to say, then you treat it as a deep privilege and do everything you can to put out the best work and say it.
We went from Barack Obama, who was an amazing President, to Donald Trump, who always took the easy way with everything. By the time Barack Obama spent his last year in office you couldn’t walk around saying some of the things that Donald Trump says in press conferences. That kind of racism wasn´t allowed anymore. We were making progress as a country. Trump emboldened those racists. I´m not going to lie, it´s hard right now, but America will prevail in the end.
I try to make the Asian community feel less alone and tell them they need to stay strong when they´re in a classroom with people who are judgmental, have prejudices and go to coronavirus-themed parties at the weekends. Everywhere people could have the mentality to make a coronavirus-themed party and think it would be fun. People die in Asia because of this. Why is this funny? How can you celebrate? It is a tragedy. Thousands of people get infected. Thousands of families get destroyed by this.
It´s interesting because I talk very openly about the fact that forgiveness has nothing to do with healing trauma. Forgiving someone does nothing to the trauma that is inside of your brain. I think there is a misconception, especially in the Christian community, that says, as a Christian you have to do this and that. Those things have nothing to do with becoming a healthier person. I believe forgiveness is a beautiful, powerful thing, but I think it is a very individual and a very private, sacred thing. I don´t think it´s a tool that helps you relieve trauma inside your brain. It´s not trauma work.
I’d even go as far as saying this degree of unity is unparalleled in the modern history of Lebanon. There was chanting, singing, dabke (folk dancing). Patriotic ballads filled the air. Food and coffee were available for all. Strangers greeted and came to the assistance of strangers. While the exasperations and frustrations are very much real the energy on the ground is positive and inspiring through and through. Women, in particular, have played a substantial role in this revolution, at the levels of organizing and mobilizing and sustaining that positive energy.
A lot of political art is about criticizing the world we live in today and that´s necessary but what is also necessary is to envision the world we want to inhabit. Activists have a hard time doing this and often artistic activists have a hard time doing this but we think it´s essential. Unless people can imagine the world they want to be a part of in the future they never will join with you in the present.
Let alone the pressure from society because of the regime’s propaganda against women. I think Iranian women are one of the strongest in the world. They are highly educated and very successful in their lives despite all the things they’ve been through.
There is a perception by many people that the economy is doing well under Trump, and I think that this is perhaps the most dangerous thing that people think, “Well, I don't like what he talks about, but he is good for the economy and so I will vote for him.” I don't agree with that analysis. I feel like the Trump economy has been riding on the tail winds of the economy that Obama basically saved from another Great Depression.
I know that my handicap puts some people off, some find it disgusting to see someone like me at the beach or the pool, how I move on the ground or even when I am lying on a deck chair. I decided very quickly that I am already handicapped enough and that I won´t allow society to restrict me further.
There have always been interchanges, one country drawing inspiration from another, one culture influencing others. Architecture, art, music, royal dynasties, the Middle Ages, the Age of Enlightenment, two World Wars, democracy, peace, equality, and social welfare. Great ideas were born in Europe. Big catastrophes took place. If you try to write about Europe you can never write about all that is important. Therefore, this issue can only crack the surface.