Pop star joins forces with WFP to raise awareness for child hunger
CAIRO: Lebanese pop star Assi Helani last week launched his new charity single Baadak Saket (You Remain Silent), unveiling the video in a Cairo press conference with the World Food Programme (WFP), which produced the single. It is hoped the video will help to raise money for the WFP and to raise awareness of the problems of hunger and malnutrition, especially amongst children. The music video, which will be broadcast on local and regional television channels starting this week, features Helani singing mixed with footage of a happy young girl who is struck down by hunger, turning her life into one of depression and suffering. The lyrics to the song, by Lebanese songwriter Nizar Francis, speak of how children’s lives can be ruined by hunger.
Philip Ward, WFP deputy regional director for the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, said that the WFP hoped that “the video would encourage donations from the Arab world.
Helani said that he had suggested making a song for the WFP last year. “It’s a very powerful way of reaching people’s hearts, especially if it gets repeated on TV and people see it more than once, he said.
He went on to say that the need to donate had become all the more urgent since what he referred to as the “savage Israeli aggression on his country. Helani referred to the recent conflict repeatedly, and to Lebanon’s urgent need for assistance:
“The Lebanese child is in need of your help and support, he said, adding: “At this time, every Lebanese house needs solidarity from our Arab brothers.
At the same time, Helani expressed confidence that Lebanon could bounce back from the current crisis as it had done so often in the past: “The Lebanese people are a steadfast people, he said, “and our faith in our country knows no bounds.
Responding to questions as to why the video doesn’t explicitly refer to the war, Helani said: “The video was shot just two days before the bombing started. After that, editing the material became very difficult as it was all in Beirut, and it was very dangerous to have it moved. But people shouldn’t need to see images of a war in order to care about hunger. Helani also stressed the important role that artists have to play in humanitarian work; “This is a natural role in the life of any artist. The artist is a soldier, he also defends his country and resists. The artist also has a duty as a human being to do whatever he can to further charitable causes. He also revealed that he had other forthcoming humanitarian projects, including a charity dinner at Cairo’s Four Seasons Hotel next month and concerts in Algeria at the invitation of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The proceeds from both events will go to help Lebanese children. Ward thanked Helani for lending his celebrity status to the organization s cause: “Your song is called You Remain Silent but I’m glad that you will not remain silent on this issue and I’m honored to have your voice highlighting the issue of child hunger.
Both Helani and Ward emphasized that any donation, however small, would make a difference to people’s lives, pointing to the success of the recent mobile hotlines set up to raise money for Lebanon. Helani joins other celebrities that are helping WFP in their work, including Egyptian actor Mahmud Yassin and footballer Mohamed Abou Trika. Internationally, Sean Connery, Penelope Cruz and Brazilian footballers Kaka and Ronaldinho have also recently been championing the WFP’s cause. The WFP is the world’s largest agency, feeding on average 90 million people every year, including 58 million children.
For more information please check www.wfp.org/donate.