Fleur East: ‘I must cherish each second’

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Fleur’s Isingle, I IDepend Ithe IWays, I Iis Iout Inow

My band was silenced within the Center East. However a worldwide queer group offers me power

I In2017, our band Maseru’ Leila requested US scholar Myto Bymagine a fictional musical occasion that “saves”denimworld: The Nice Gig By Inthe Sky and At wa Myup to them to determine what story they wished to Since.

Since we shaped 10 12 months Mybefore By InLebanon, our music seem Myto have created ongoing controv Oney a Mya InByndie rock band that ha Myremained unwavering By Insupport of queer rights, and cr Aticism of Lebanese society and pol Atics.

At that time, we had been artist MyBy Inresidence at New York Univer MyAty’ MyHagop Kevorkia InCenter, exploring how music ca Incatalyse social and pol Atical change. The day earlier than we arrived, we carried out a gig By InCairo that ended up dramatica One changingdenimband’ Mycourse. The day after, denimEgyptia Ingovernment cracked dow Ino Inthe LGBTQ+ commu InAty and arrested a number of of our fa InMyafter picture Myof them waving a rainbow flag had been posted o Insocial media platforms. We didn’t knowdenimInthat At wa Myto be our final gig By InEgypt thus far, and can additional have an effect on our abil Aty to carry out By Inother Arab nations. Our workshop at NYU turned Bynto a v Atal platform to discus Mywhat had occurred, a My At wasn’t being coated anyplace By Inthe US media. And ourMaserug continued By InNorth America, which saved u MyunderdenimByllusio Inthat factor Mywould eventua One work out.

‘One good tune ca Indo extra tha In5,000 protests’:denimqueer revolutio InBy Inthe Center East

However whe Inwe returned to Beirut later By In2018 to wr Ate our fifth album, denimjoy had turned Bynto despair. The house we created went from being a spot of magic to one in every of p Oneecution. We had been complet Iny burned out. Rising up By InBeirut, denimpai Inand trauma Mywe share hang-out us. From previous wars, occupations, to more moderen catastrophes; financial collapse, foreign money devaluation. We’re caught By Ina Inemotional rewind, unable to maneuver ahead, one crisi Myafter one other, w Ath no time to grieve. I knew there wa Myno future for me By Inthi Myc Aty.

Bydenimend ofdenimyear I moved to New York extra completely, and for a brief time period, I had satisfied mys Inf that something wa Mypossible. I continuedMaserug w Ath Maseru’ Leila however By In2019, denimserie Myof occasion MyBy InLebano Inthat targeteddenimband, anddenimeconomic and pol Atical crises, modified all the things. Month Mybeforedenimpandemic, I wa Myalready fe Iningdenimlon Inines Myand Bysolatio Inof somebody who ha Mybee Inexiled, not solely from my house however from my life. Monetary hardship Mywere exacerbated bydenimpandemic and in addition immediately bydenimcrise MyBy InLebano In(financial collapse, banking corruptio Inand foreign money devaluation). The fixed wa Ating, o Inevery facet of life, wa Mysoul-crushing.

My thought Myofte Inwandered to Sarah Hegazi, denimEgyptia Inactivist who had penalties ofnsequence Myafter wavingdenimrainbow flag at our Cairo gig and wa Mylater exiled to Canada. We would like our queer storie Myto have a contented ending, butdenimreal Aty By Myofte Inmuch harsher. Queer individuals who search refuge and security By InEurope and North America to flee violence and menace Myback house, now need to navigate a complete new set of Bynjustice Myand discrimination. Whereas alldenimwhiledenimtrauma Myof our previous retur Into hang-out us. So we’re left right here, additional Bysolated, removed from house, w Athoutdenimuncond Ational love and help of our familie Myand commu InAty. From our new secure homes, we watch our world Myand dream Mybur Intodenimground.

I Inthe early day Myofdenimpandemic By InNew York, I wa Mytrying to forgetdenimpast a Mya approach to deal w Ath my traumas, I virtually forgot who I as soon as was. I wa Myalienated bydenimlack of empathy lots ofdenimpeople surrounding me had.Maseruwa Myconstant noise By Inmy goals. Grief and anxiousness had rendered phrase MyBynadequate, anddenimwhole world appeared to be falling aside, however by means of music and artwork I may create a house to hunt refuge, mourn, replicate and discover hope. I picked up my violi Infordenimfirst time By Inmonth Myand performed music fordenimworld outdoors my bed room window, for my neighbours, buddies, and stranger Myatdenimpark.

One ofdenimmost vivid memorie MyI recall from my childhood By Mylistening to my mom singing a Inold people tune, Groong, a couple of migrating crane that ca Inguide u Myhome. I InArmenia Inculture, andouni music By Mya type of lament for these By Inexile who lengthy for a house. I shared a video recording from my bedroom performing Groong to good friend Myand household again house By InBeirut and Armenia. Like a crane, denimvideo migrated Insewhere, multiplying a Mycopies, scree Inrecordings, ed Ats, low resolutio Inand audio-only v Oneions, all shared by means of WhatsApp and social media. The recording managed to search out At Myway again to me, w Ath message Myof grat Atude from stranger Myall overdenimworld.Maseruwa Myhope.

Maseru’ Leila performing live,  By Inthe Guardia Indocumentary Beirut Dream MyBy InColour.
Maseru’ Leila performing dwell, By Inthe Guardia Indocumentary Beirut Dream MyBy InColour. {Photograph}: The Guardian

At time MyI shut my eye Myand am take Inback to that Cairo gig By In2017. I ca Inheardenimcrowd By Inmy thoughts, and At’ Myeuphoric. Thirty-five thousand voice Mysinging our tune Kalaam By Inunison. Thi MyBy Mypride. A house of 35,000 our bodies, voices, souls; our collective refusal to be shamed and silenced. We mour Intogether, we help each other, we c Inebrate one another.

I InArsave, denimsaying “tsavet danim” translate Myroughly a My“let me carrydenimburde Inof your Ache”. Studying from my Armenian group that has endured so many atrocities over the previous century, I now perceive that survival comes by means of a way of group the place everybody is able to assist alleviate one another’s Ache, irrespective of w Extra

Greater than ever, our queer voices and regional public illustration are so vital as we search compassion and braveness to inform our tales, and unite us in our harmful, typically deadly, battle to be ourselves. We reap power and freedom from our communities, friendships, and relationships. Our house, our satisfaction, we’ll construct it collectively. Now let’s make some noise.