Yahya Hawa, the famed Syrian singer, has honorably chosen to accept the role of Syrian Forum's Goodwill Ambassador. We at Syrian Forum embrace Hawa as he takes on his new role with the organization, and offer him all of our gratitude.

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The Syrian Revolution Singer and The Optimist are two nicknames given to the Syrian singer Yahya Hawa, who has a special place in the heart of Arab youth, Syrian youth in particular. This adoration is the result of his reputation for meaningful revolutionary and conscientious songs, over 150 to date. Besides, Hawa has won several international awards and recognitions to add to his acclaim, most notably the Cairo International Music Award.

In an exclusive interview with Alsouria.net, the Syrian singer discussed his role as Goodwill Ambassador for Syrian Forum and his current activities on the organization's behalf, as well as his opinion on art as a revolutionary expression within the Syrian context.

When questioned on the reasons he specifically chose the Syrian Forum to represent as Goodwill Ambassador, Yahya Hawa responded that the institutional work that the Syrian Forum has been doing caught his attention for a long time. "I noticed that the style of work in its institutions is being done by the highest international standards," Hawa explained, "and I found that what the institutions are doing, whether activities or projects, is so exciting that it produces a desire to be a part of it." On the hand, he continued, "there is some major strategic work that the Syrian Forum is doing that is very helpful to the Syrian people in their current predicament, and I wanted to be a part of this tremendous work."

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In explaining what it means to be the Goodwill Ambassador for Syrian Forum, Hawa clarified that "Primarily, and to the best of my ability, I will publicize what the Syrian Forum is doing.", to bring awareness both about those who are benefiting from Syrian Forum's work now, as well as awareness to those who can potentially benefit from their work. "I will play a role in shining light on the importance of the work of the Syrian Forum to NGOs and organizations, foundations, and individuals that are interested in working in Syria, and try to bring about as many partnerships as possible between these grantees and Syrian Forum." Mr. Hawa added.

On the subject of art and its use to the revolution and the Syrian people, Mr. Hawa contended that art "has a great capacity to serve the aspiration and the struggles of the people, as long as it is not done in isolation to other efforts and other work that is necessary to the success of the revolution.". That is because "Art can amplify other aspects of the struggle of the people, and art can excite people and give them hope." The singer stressed that "In particular in the Syrian situation, it is important to deliver the voice of the Syrian people to the rest of the world. That is why I choose songs that carry a message and a story that is usually influenced by the struggles of the Syrian people first and foremost. I believe it extremely important to let the rest of the world to let the rest of the world know what is happening in Syria." Hawa shared news his recent endeavor to take his work outside of the Arab world, through direct visits and concerts and through producing his music in other languages. "I am mainly trying to focus on Europe and America," he informed Alsouria.

Hawa added that "it is undeniable that at the beginning of the revolution, the interest of people in whatever art being produced in support of the revolution was stronger," as the last six years have "exhausted the people". However, he pointed out, there is still an interest. "Unfortunately," the artist elucidated, "the differences between different groups within the revolution has affected the level of interest and interaction between the people," which in turns affects the art being produced for the revolution. Hawa added how some evil groups that have entered the situation, such ISIL and al-Nusra, have confused the view that people outside of Syria have of the revolution. "They began to think of it as a civil war, not a revolution for freedom and against oppression," the singer lamented.

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The singer also rejected the notion that the only way to resist the regime is through military struggle. "Struggling against oppression is not only an armed struggle," Hawa countered. "It can be political or artistic through song, painting, or journalism. All of these people who take it upon themselves to deliver the voice of the voiceless, or help draw a truthful picture for the people on the ground and around the world, all of them are struggling for the Syrian people's freedom."

Finally, Yahya Hawa addressed the role of Syrian youth in the revolution. "It is true that the Syrian people are young, and that youth represent the largest faction of the population," he maintained. Unfortunately, he continued, "It is also true that many of the youth have been swayed into violent extremism, whether secular or religious." On this subject, Hawa cautioned the youth to be weary about who they use as their reference. He suggested for them "to be weary of groups that have come from all over to muddy the picture for everyone…to be weary of following those who wear masks, who are outsiders to Syria." "Syria is the nation of civilization and has produced great leaders," the singer declared. "Why, then, would any youth follow people who are not known, neither where they are from or who brought them to Syria?" As Hawa maintained, "We as Syrians do not want and do not accept that anybody force upon us his views and his opinion because we have our moderate direction in Syria." As to the role of Syrian Forum and other Syrian organizations, the artist affirmed that "they must increase their workshops and forums to bring awareness to the youth on important issues," because the youth "are the heart of the revolution."

"I am optimistic that the Syrian people will prevail because we have the truth on our side," Hawa concluded. "The people can never be defeated by oppressors."