You’ve seen it everywhere, from the streets of Egypt’s forgotten south and the schools of Gaza to the most remote refugee camp in Iraq. You’ve watched their moves against the backdrop of Dubai’s skyscappers, and all across the Arab world. But never had the song resonated with the reality of its dancers like today.
“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof,” says Pharrell Williams’ hit. Indeed, the kids of Zaatari dance in tents with no roof; such are their homes in the second-largest refugee camp in the world. They dance like there is no tomorrow, they dance as if nothing can break them, as if the memories of war could not twist their smiles.
The reality is that three in four of them has lost a loved one. One in three has an injury; and an estimated 90% cannot attend school because they have been destroyed. But “for anyone that has spent time around these beautiful children, at the end of the day they are just that, children who want to play, laugh, and sing”, says Hazami Barmada, one of the producers of the video.
Together with Barmada, filmmaker Omar Al-Chaar hung portable speakers around his neck and, with a camera in his hand, let the children dance along. The video is part of the #RestoreHappy campaign that Beats, Rhymes & Relief and Love4Syria have just launched in a joint appeal to raise awareness and humanize an issue too many times tainted by the rethoric of war.