There is no doubt that some people master the art of war, but in the narrow alleyways of Lebanon’s refugee camps, some people master an art despite war.
Hossam Khankan, 14, is from Homs in Syria. Three years ago, he and his family fled the civil war and found safety in Halba in northern Lebanon. His family left everything behind. Hossam still remembers his school days when he felt happy and safe, playing football on the streets of Homs with friends. But he left them all behind when his family fled to Lebanon.
On my last day in Homs, I gathered with my friends next to the school yard and we said good-bye and promised to meet again,” said Hossam. “Then I left.”
After he settled in Lebanon, his only friend from Syria died in an explosion in Tripoli.
If you want to see his eyes sparkle, just ask what Capoeira is. “It’s a mix of martial arts, dance and drums.” And, then he’ll quickly offer to show off some moves.
The Capoeira classes have offered Hossam some happiness and space to express himself, his nostalgia, and his desire to go back home. He sees it as a chance to sing for Syria. “Art makes people love each other,” Hossam says.
Hossam’s dream is to become a professional singer and dancer. “I want to go back to Syria and learn singing and dancing at the art institute in Damascus.” But Hossam says his biggest dream is to return home to Homs. “Our house was heaven on earth, but now it lies in ruins,” he says.
Hossam says he faces a lot of bullying and racism while playing with kids from Halba. “Kids run after me saying, ‘You are Syrian. Go back home!’ But, I defend myself saying we are all humans and once we go back home you can come visit and I welcome you with hospitality and kindness.”