Music to Fight Terrorism

A Group of Young Tunisians Play Music in the Street to Fight Against Fear

May 27th, 2016

For several months, six young Tunisians aged 22 on average: Khaled, Nour Zamen, Souhaib, Raghda, Mouhib and Mehdi form the crew « Art is an Arm » which is singing and playing music in the streets of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia in order to fight the fear that is inducted into the population by the terrorism threat. Their goal is to fight terrorism with art by delivering a message of peace through their music.

They come from different backgrounds as some of them are in high school while others are studying various subjects at the University, some of them studied music in the conservatory while others learned it by themselves and they form a band playing guitar, drums, melodic, clarinet, bass and cajón. They are playing popular Tunisian songs and three of their own: « Samra » which means « brunette », « El-sour » which means « the wall » and « West El-Ain » which means « the middle of the eye ».

As they were performing more and more concerts, they saw more and more people gather around them, their guitar filled up with coins from the audience, the media took more and more interest in the phenomenon and even the Tunisian Ministry of Culture took an interest on their story.

They are really eager to make a difference and to use their freedom of speech that they only acquired in 2011 when Ben Ali’s regime was brought to dust by the Revolution. The extent of the phenomenon has exceeded all of their expectations and the band is finding itself being offered more and more opportunities, however the band has remained down to earth and true to itself and hasn’t change its original message and only thinks of itself as a « provider of good mood ». One of the things that is making them the happiest is that they have inspired many other young Tunisians to go and play in the street.

The story of the crew « Art is an Arm » constitutes an excellent example of soft power and of how art and music in this case, can carry an important message and bring its strength to the fight against one of the most violent and dangerous threat of our time: terrorism. Moreover, it also shows that some of the best initiatives to fight against these kinds of threats can come, not only from high-level decision-makers, but also from civil society.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Pierre Even, CD News