Memories of a life back home

Photos of the first evening with the Syrian singer, entrepreneur and filmmaker Sally Ghanoum performing “The daughter of Dilbi – Bent el Dlbi”

The first evening the theme was Memories of a life back home. Syrian singer, entrepreneur and filmmaker Sally Ghanoum, in Belgium since 2015,  told about what connects her to her homeland: a tree in her village Mashta al Helou where hundreds of Syrian refugees from over the country sought shelter.


Her story, “The Daughter of Dilbi”, is about how a so called dilbi tree got ill, started losing branches in the midst of war, how that scared and devastated all refugees in Mashta al Helou (even trees are dying!), and how the artists refugees turned this tree to become a symbol of strength and hope. One of them, a sculptor made a Statue of Birth out of the fallen branches of the tree; the others organized an art festival around it.


Sally told this touching story by a short video made and sent by her students in Mashta al Helou, and by singing angelic Syrian music, serenely accompanied with the soft tones of the Kurdish version of Ud, played by Mohamad Hussein.


She emotionally involved people by asking them for ideas on what would they do if this tree were theirs – which brought several poetic answers. She thought the public to sing a refrain of a Syrian song, recorded their singing in order to send it to the people in Mashta al Helou, as solidarity, but also to be used for the Dilbi Art Festival which, despite the war, is organized each year.  At the end, Sally handed over the Statue of Birth  –  brought from Syria to Antwerp –  to Karen Moeskops, the director of the Red Star Line Museum.