If you are from Iraqi Kurdistan, your beloved father swam and walked from Turkey to Germany to make a future for you before, with the rest of the family, you fled Saddam Hussein’s murderous regime over the freezing mountains, you may or may not believe that love can conquer all.
But 31-year-old Dashni Morad, having been a child refugee and migrant, believes that by connecting with one another there is hope, and that music can help to bring about social and political change.
Her new single ‘Love Wins’ will see any money raised donated to Green Kids (www.greenkids.org.uk) which Dashni set up to help today’s refugee children. Green Kids establishes libraries and sends books to refugee camps and raises funds for the children that the world sometimes seems to have forgotten.
Dashni, who has been making music for more than ten years, fronted a hit show loved by Kurds worldwide, and now travels between her new homeland Holland and her old homeland.
Before, at the age of 11, watching people die from hunger and cold on the Hawraman mountains, Dashni remembers her house as “a magical place” with a sunny roof terrace, many Moroccan decorated rooms and lovely Persian carpets.
“As Kurds we were always second class citizens and had no idea what Saddam was going to do. My father had been imprisoned, we had masks because of gassing, it got more and more dark,” says Dashni.
“We had to leave but when you are little you are not aware of what’s going on. I remember men putting a girl into a white cloth and into the ground. They told me it was a game and it was only when I grew up that I realised she had died.
“One reason that I didn’t was because people cared enough to give. There was a concert in London, after that we saw a helicopter dropping food. I survived because people went to that concert to listen to music and then aid arrived. That is one reason that I make music and try to give back.”
The United Nations took Dashni’s family to Holland, where she lived on Golden Flower Street, played football, learned the language.
“Then a few years ago it was all happening again in my region and the wounds opened up for the Kurdish people. It has been very difficult. The internet and social media means news travels fast and we are more aware of what’s happening, believe the world is just the worst place.
“We live in a suspicious and unsafe world but I believe that once we understand that we are all the same, once we connect, we can make a first step towards ending the anger and hate.”
Dashni’s recently released ‘Love Wins’ single is a message of hope and optimism from one former child refugee, on behalf of all the children whose lives are still being destroyed by war and poverty.