Love of Korean pop links UK teenagers with Palestinian refugees

BTS at the 2017 American Music Awards at the Microsoft Theatre LA Live.
Updated 06 February 2018
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Love of Korean pop links UK teenagers with Palestinian refugees

LONDON: The sugary pop songs of South Korean groups BTS, EXO and BlackPink might be sung in Korean but it has not stopped Palestinian refugee teenager Tasnim from being an avid fan from her home in war-torn Syria.
To Tasnim’s surprise, it is a love shared by students at London’s Connaught School for Girls with whom her school in Damascus holds Skype calls as part of a project to connect refugee students in the Middle East with European and US pupils.
“My favorite kind of music is K-pop music, Korean music,” exclaimed Tasnim during a recent video call, sitting alongside classmates from two schools in the Syrian capital run by aid agency United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency (UNRWA).
“Do you like BTS?” 14-year-old British student Asiya replied, before excited chatter erupts between the two groups about their favorite “K-pop” performers.
“Did you hear their latest song? Do you like BlackPink?” said Tasnim, wearing a white hijab, as does Asiya in London.
More than half a million Palestinian refugee students attend 700 UNRWA schools across Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, the aid agency said.
UNRWA was established by the UN General Assembly in 1949 after thousands of Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war that followed Israel’s creation.
“Even though we are worlds apart ... we’re all teenagers, so we found some common ground,” said Asiya, who volunteered to join the “My Voice, My School” project run by UNRWA and social enterprise Digital Explorer to learn more about refugees.
“It was quite ironic because we were on a conference call to people in Syria and we were talking about Korea.”
UNRWA says it currently supports 5.3 million Palestinians across the Middle East, including in Gaza and the West Bank.


Footballer Kompany’s dad first black mayor in Belgium

Updated 9 sec ago
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Footballer Kompany’s dad first black mayor in Belgium

  • Pierre Kompany, 71, arrived in Belgium in 1975 as a refugee from what was then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Kompany was head of the centrist CDH list in Sunday’s municipal election in Ganshoren, a bilingual French and Dutch speaking town of 25,000

BRUSSELS: Pierre Kompany, the father of Manchester City captain and Belgian international defender Vincent, became Belgium’s first black elected mayor on Monday after his party topped the poll in the Brussels suburb Ganshoren.
Pierre Kompany, 71, arrived in Belgium in 1975 as a refugee from what was then Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and has since been naturalized as a citizen and entered politics.
He was head of the centrist CDH list in Sunday’s municipal election in Ganshoren, a bilingual French and Dutch speaking town of 25,000 just outside the Belgian capital, and will take office in December.
“He’s the first black mayor in Belgium,” Vincent declared on Instagram. “It has never happened before. It’s historic. We’re all delighted. Bravo to my father.”
In 2014, a local councillor of Congolese origin, Denis Liselele, served as temporary mayor in the Belgian town of Sambreville after the elected town leader was suspended during a court case.