The Beiteddine festival, an annual music festival in Lebanon, brought together people and performers from all over the world to celebrate art and culture.
Years of civil war in Syria caused many people to flee the country, including well-known and celebrated artists.
Three Syrian artists traveled to Lebanon to perform “Come to the Jasmine” in the festival on July 19.
Kinan Azma, a Syrian artist whose musical pieces have circulated around the world, traveled from New York to participate in the event.
“It was not my intention to boycott performing in Syria, I didn’t want to perform in a place that I knew not all Syrians could come and watch, I had a problem with that,” he said.
Azma was well-known for performing every two months in Syria but stopped since the uprising to topple the government began in March 2011.
“There are people dying all around us, those are the real heroes. A person starts to ask himself, where is there place for music in the middle of all of this.”
Syrian soprano singer, Rasha Rezq, also participated in the event. Rezq believes people should see the civilized world of Syria, and not just the images of war and destruction often portrayed through media.
“No person’s voice could be heard above the sound of a war. During this festival we wanted to represent Syria and make our voices heard by adding our own human and cultural touches.”
Another Syrian artist, Ibrahim Kaifo, did not leave the war-torn country. He says it is impossible for him to leave his homeland and history. Yet he says preparations for the festival were not easy, they even had to organize things using Skype to communicate.