01 Oct 2015
When Aylan Kurdi’s photo was splashed across front pages around the world, showing the three-year-old’s body lying facedown and lifeless on a Turkish beach, it focused global attention on the plight of the Syrian refugees for the first time.
Worldwide reaction to the image was swift, galvanizing support and relief efforts to the more than three million displaced people.
But it was a reaction long overdue.
“My first reaction (to the photo) was despair, because I’ve seen so much of it, for so long. To be honest, much worse,” said Will Ramadan.
“Activists have been working tirelessly for years, with pictures that are almost too graphic and real; so horrifying and foreign that the world seemed to be able to collectively dehumanize them as ‘not our problem.’
“But the picture of Aylan is simultaneously serene, graphic, and tragic. It brings a sense of almost calmness. This could be anywhere, and he could have been any boy. He was someone any of us could relate to and empathize with.”
Ramadan, a Toronto-born and Vancouver-raised DJ, has long tried to bring awareness to the issue. Aylan’s death, while one of countless others, has finally brought his platform to the forefront.
It was a year ago that Ramadan, now a Vegas resident DJ who goes by KnowleDJ, began a collaboration with his longtime partner, hip-hop legend Fatman Scoop, on a new EDM club track titled PLUR (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect). They released it worldwide last week.
And this isn’t a money-making proposition — Ramadan and the two-time Grammy-winning Scoop have made the song free to download, and are encouraging people to donate whatever they can to help the refugees in Syria. They’ve partnered with IamSyria.org and Tharwa.org, two longtime U.S.-based charity organizations that have been working directly to help those most in need.
“Me and KnowleDJ talked about doing a song, that would bring people together. Music is a universal language,” said Scoop, who, while forever linked to the club anthem Be Faithful, recently exposed an entire new generation to his talents as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother: UK.
“We are all human beings, and nothing brings us closer together than music, except maybe food! We thought of a bunch of ideas, but it all really came down to one thing. PLUR. Peace, love, unity, respect. It’s an old school raver creed but I think it applies to the whole world.”
They’re hoping to raise $100,000 for the cause, and more importantly, help people understand the issues and the long-term benefits that helping the refugees would have.
“I think we’re hoping for a greater understanding of what’s going on,” said Ramadan. “I think that there’s a tremendous amount of confusion about what exactly is going on in Syria, and why the people have been treated so cruelly.
“We hope to build an awareness. When we look past everything that creates human conflict, we really are all one. It’s a movement that helps create bridges and find new ways to bond people. When you have PLUR in your soul, we need to transmit that and help it grow throughout the world.
For more information on the crisis, go here: : http://www.donationto.com/Help-the-Refugees-of-Syria